Tech Companies Line Up Behind ‘Containers’ and the Cloud
An unusual combination of big and small tech companies are working on ways to accelerate the development of cloud computing technologies.
On Tuesday, an organization called Docker announced that its commercial software, used to create and maintain other software applications easily for millions of computers and mobile phones, would become generally available.
The commercial product follows an initial open source release of Docker, and it includes among other things a way that companies can securely store and share their software. In an unusually broad partnership, the product would be available not just from Docker, but from Amazon’s cloud computing business, AWS; IBM; and Microsoft.
Several other companies, including Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Google and start-ups that had been perceived as Docker competitors, announced Monday that they were forming a group that would create common operational standards for containers, as Docker-type software is called.
That means that software built specifically for mobile and cloud computing deployment will most likely move around even more easily across the networked world. This is likely to create even more demand for that kind of computing.
Also on Tuesday, an important maker of computer networking equipment, Arista Networks, said it was teaming up with several other companies to offer a supposedly faster and more flexible way to create cloud computing systems.
Arista, which makes networking switches, said it would join HP, Dell, Rackspace and others to deliver a product that automates many of the parts of cloud computing that must now be established independently.
Jayshree Ulall, the chief executive of Arista, said the automated product was “almost a container approach” to building out the back end of a network, which used to require configuring thousands of devices to work well.
“With the explosion of networks and devices, we’ve had to take measures to automate what we do,” she said. “There is a big difference in the cost of maintaining and operating something like this.”
The Arista announcement also signals how much enterprise computing companies are changing the way they expect to work. Arista, which typically sells network switches as expensive boxes, will offer its software through a subscription of $295 a month per device. Initially that is less than it could make on a box, but could add up to more money if the subscription carries on long enough.
Dell and HP, which compete with both Arista and each other in some of their products, appear to be willing to let some parts of their business try this approach, possibly at the expense of others.
They are not the only old-line computing companies changing their ways to keep up with the times: On Monday, Oracle announced a new line of corporate cloud products that it said would compete on price with the cheapest offerings from AWS and other cloud computing services.