Docker Grows Software Development Capability with Mutagen Acquisition

The Docker Desktop development tool is getting new features that will help bridge the gap between local and cloud development.

Sean Michael Kerner, Contributor

June 29, 2023

3 Min Read
Docker logo on the side of a building

Docker is growing its software development portfolio this week with the acquisition of privately held Mutagen. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. All Mutagen employees will join Docker.

Docker is well-known for its container software technology that is widely used for application development and DevOps deployments. Mutagen develops an open source real-time file synchronization technology, which enables remote development that integrates local tools and code present in remote environments such as cloud servers and containers. This is achieved through the provision of high-performance real-time file synchronization and versatile network forwarding capabilities. Mutagen supports synchronization and forwarding between various systems, including local setups, SSH-accessible locations, and Docker containers.

Related: Is Docker Still Worth Learning for IT Operations Teams?

"The acquisition of Mutagen brings immediate value to Docker as it introduces novel mechanisms for developers to extract the highest level of performance from their local hardware while simultaneously opening the gateway to the newest remote development solutions," Webb Stevens, general manager of Docker Desktop at Docker Inc., told ITPro Today.

Docker Desktop Continues to Expand Software Development Features

Docker Desktop, is as the name implies, is a desktop tool. Developers use it to build, deploy, and in some cases manage container-based microservices.

Stevens pulled quote


Stevens noted that Docker is committed to scaling the capabilities of Docker Desktop to meet the needs of the growing number of developers, businesses, and enterprises relying on the platform. Docker has made a number of acquisitions over the last couple of years that make Docker Desktop stronger, he added.

One such acquisition was that of Tilt in 2022, which builds technologies to help create development environments as code for teams in Kubernetes.

"Docker is more than a container company — it's a way of developing software that combines dev tools with industry best practices," Stevens said. "Docker's way of development removes friction, and drives consistency and security through the developer toolchain."

Related: How to Install Docker on Ubuntu

While Mutagen is being integrated with Docker Desktop, Stevens emphasized that there are no plans to discontinue any Mutagen projects. He noted that Mutagen has always benefited from outside collaboration in the form of feedback, discussion, and code contributions, and there's no desire to change that relationship. Mutagen's open source licenses continue to allow the embedding and use of Mutagen by other projects, products, and tooling.

Looking forward, the plan for Docker is to keep on adding features. Stevens said Docker is continuously aiming to meet the needs of developers for both cloud-native and local development. For example, Docker recently simplified local Kubernetes development with Telepresence for Docker, he said. Another new innovation is Docker Scout, which is an early access tool that offers efficient image monitoring with a layer-by-layer view of image dependencies, vulnerabilities, and remediation paths.

"The future is about continuing to be obsessed with developer needs," Stevens said.

About the Author(s)

Sean Michael Kerner


Sean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.

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