Usability is the secret sauce that's fueling Docker's growth

A company executive says its usability made it more popular, despite others’ earlier offerings

Marianna Tessel

Marianna Tessel, Docker's senior vice president of engineering, speaks at the Structure conference in San Francisco on November 19, 2015

Credit: Structure

Docker, the company behind the open-source container technology of the same name, has been growing rapidly as more businesses rush to adopt its wildly popular technology. But while containers are the new hotness in development these days, they actually aren’t totally new. 

Docker is standing on the shoulders of giants, thanks to the technology underpinning Docker’s products that it didn’t invent, said Marianna Tessel, the company’s senior vice president of engineering. She said Docker’s implementation has proved more popular than others for a key reason: It’s easy for users to work with. 

"I think one of the secret sauces of Docker, and I think why this is really catching up, is that we made the technology very readily available and very usable for users,” Tessel said during an on-stage interview at the Structure conference in San Francisco Thursday. "So, yes, there were clouds that were running with containers and it’s great, but it wasn’t very useful for everybody else."

Docker containers let developers build applications in a self-contained environment on their computers and then easily deploy them to a production system. The technology's accessibility has translated into a huge following

Looking forward, Tessel said Docker plans to make its product more friendly to operations professionals even as the company keeps its developer roots. The company is also focused on improving security features for its products in an attempt to make them more appealing to enterprises. 

As for the future of containers themselves, she only sees the technology becoming more popular and more widely used as people take more advantage of the ability to easily build and distribute code to a variety of systems. Microsoft has been jumping into containers whole hog, adding support for managing two different types of containers using Docker's tools to beta versions of Windows Server 2016