Docker Acquires Tutum, Eyes Production Workloads

Docker announced today that they have acquired Tutum, a platform for managing Dockerized applications into production on any infrastructure.

The Tutum platform features a workflow, backed by a fully integrated set of operational tooling,  which enables development teams to move applications from build to production in minutes. More importantly, operations uses the same common framework as development to change, scale and manage distributed applications across any infrastructure on-premise or in the cloud.

The following chart shows how Docker has been making very strategic acquisitions over the last 15 months. Docker’s mantra is “Build, Ship, Run”. Previous acquisitions of Kitematic, SocketPlane, and Orchard added feature depth to the build process. Kitematic provided easy to deploy stack templates. Socketplane added much needed networking features, and Orchard is the basis for what is now Docker Compose, a solution for simplifying the process of building composite application stacks.


Another key acquisition from last year was Koality which has now become the Docker Trusted Registry for securely managing Docker images.

Tutum is an 11 person startup founded in 2013 in Spain by Borja Burgos and Fernando Mayos. They have offices in Brooklyn, NY. With the purchase of Tutum, Docker is now addressing a much needed gap for managing production workloads. Tutum provides a great user interface for configuring, deploying, and managing containers. For those of you familiar with the AWS console, think of the Tutum user interface as a similar console, but for containers across many different cloud endpoints.

Tutum is integrated with Docker Hub and makes things such as configuring containers and clusters, creating Docker Files, and registering images much simpler. Once your containers are properly configured and deployed, Tutum provides visualization tools for monitoring and logging.

Of course, everything powered by the UI is also available via API. Many companies are using Tutum to help orchestrate their CI/CD pipelines.

For more information, check out this quick  video tutorial.

Docker’s Acquisition Strategy

Docker has taken a consistent approach to acquisitions. First and foremost, they look for companies that share their views of open source and community engagement. Culture fit is extremely important to the folks at Docker. Second, they look for solutions that complement their current offerings and often fill much needed gaps that can be accelerated via acquisition. Third, whether intentional or not, they like small agile teams that are early stage and don’t break the bank. I assume that this third point is partially by design but also partially by the nature of this space being so new that most players happen to fit that profile. And finally, they look for talent. All of these acquisitions are as much about the talent as they are about the feature set that comes with the team.

Simplifying the container space

The container space is getting very crowded and very complicated. The space is very new and there are still many gaps in feature sets. These gaps create opportunities for multiple vendors to either build a new offering or claim their offering is better because of a different feature or two.

I can’t count the number of briefings I have taken for container related  products and services. These range from early stage startups to legacy companies trying to pivot or tweak business modes to stay relevant. As an engineer, the permutations available to me can be overwhelming. To make matters  worse, there is no one place to go to meet all of the requirements most enterprises need to deliver secure solutions in containers. The end result is that implementing containers is becoming too complex because of the number of solution providers required.

Docker Hub is a great step forward for bringing sanity to the container space. Docker’s “batteries included” approach to containers is aimed at providing one-stop shop for all of your container assets. Adding Tutum to its portfolio takes simplification one step further by adding an easy to use set of orchestration and management tools so that customers can run multi-cloud container based architectures from a single pane of glass.

What’s Next for Docker?

I can only speculate, but if I had to place some bets I would place them on companies that are either focusing on abstracting the data layer or filling gaps in security.  Docker has a ton of money in the bank and an aggressive roadmap ahead. Expect a few more small acquisitions over the next 12-18 months.

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