Docker's ability to deliver a highly portable, cloud-native, cost-cutting platform for transforming IT systems offers to the channel an opportunity unlike any other, CEO Steve Singh told attendees of the 2017 Best of Breed conference in Atlanta on Tuesday.
Almost half a year into his tenure as CEO of the groundbreaking container-tech company, Singh said Docker's platform will win in a competitive market because of its openness and portability—enabling digital transformation without locking customers into any one provider.
And moving legacy applications to Docker, enabling them to run on any modern infrastructure, typically cuts costs in half. Those savings result from a substantial increase in application density, reducing the number of virtual machines needed by putting more workloads on fewer servers.
"This opens up real opportunity for partners and customers" to drive innovation, Singh said.
To prove that to customers, Docker is cooperating closely with its growing base of channel partners to implement proof of concepts in which they move some legacy applications to container-based infrastructure.
And when deals are closed, partners typically see five to seven times multipliers on the profits, Singh said.
"This is a channel-oriented play," Singh said. "If there's an opportunity to work with you on an account, we're in."
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While Docker as a young startup launched the container-tech boom, the company is now battling with many other vendors, including the hyper-scale cloud providers, in a highly competitive sector. Docker is looking to distinguish itself, and scale its business, by capitalizing off four trends reshaping the industry.
The most important of those, and where Docker is devoting most of its investment, is the rapid adoption of public cloud. That will "impact every single company in the world," Singh said, and is being enabled by containers
Singh predicted the first trillion-dollar software company will come out of the public cloud.
Another important technological disruption is the move to edge computing. Where some 95 percent of processing currently takes place within a core network, he predicted 50 to 60 percent of workloads will soon be executed on the Internet of Things devices that are reshaping how industries operate.
Adoption of microservices—breaking applications into their smallest components—is another shift that is uniquely enabled by container technology, Singh said.
Finally, enabling a shared system of record is a capability that partners can leverage containers to implement and add value, Singh said.
"The idea that containers won't be the default atomic unit, if you're betting against it, I think you're betting wrong," Singh said.
And while other container technologies and platforms are also on the rise, especially the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator first developed by Google, that's fine with Docker.
"Our job is to deliver a platform that allows you to plug-and-play any components you like. Not all of the components have to come from Docker," Singh said. "If someone else can out-innovate us, they deserve to win."
Singh added that Docker is hoping to achieve profitability by the middle of 2019.
"We're signing multi-million dollar deals with customers because we're saving them tens of millions of dollars a year with our platform," he said.
Docker currently has seven large global partners, and a growing number of regional solution providers in its channel. The company is investing in partner recruitment, to "make sure anyone who wants to be a partner, can," Singh said.
One of the company's partners in attendance for the BoB conference was Bradley Brodkin, CEO of HighVail, a solutions provider based in Toronto.
While most of what Singh spoke about wasn't new to him, Brodkin believes his colleagues less familiar with the vendor saw "somebody who's actually interested in driving business."
A lot of container platforms have come to prominence, from Kubernetes to the VMware-Google-Pivotal venture, PKS, to Mesosphere, he said.
"Docker becomes the driver of all of this," he said. "Ultimately Docker is at the core of everything."
And the edge computing use case is one that's particularly exciting, Brodkin noted.
Containers, because they are lightweight and portable, make it easy to push apps out to field devices.
"You can take anything, put it into a Docker container, it moves onto the edge," he said.