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SDN Helps Solve Docker Issues with Multiple Containers

Software-defined networking will mitigate the issues organizations have been having by automating the network provisioning process.

Docker containers are hot, but too many containers were not--until now.

Docker is, of course, the open source container initiative that builds on the idea of Linux Containers. The idea is that Docker helps ease application creation and portability by packaging everything an application needs into a neat and tidy container. (Check out this intro to Docker by company founder Solomon Hykes.) However, there's always a "but," and with Docker it has to do with what happens when there are multiple containers involved, according to Yevgeniy Sverdlik, in an article on Data Center Knowledge.

"The amount of manual labor required to specify the way Docker containers in a multi-container application interconnect and how those connections use the physical network infrastructure underneath has been one of the largest barriers to adoption of the startup’s technology," wrote Sverdlik.

Enter software-defined networking, which is a key part of the newest release of Docker, announced at the DockerCon event in San Francisco. According to Sverdlik, the new SDN capabilities--acquired through Docker's acquisition of SocketPlane--will mitigate the issues organizations have been having by automating the network provisioning process.

"Essentially, it automates network provisioning for an application that consists of multiple Docker containers running on multiple host servers in a data center or multiple VMs in a cloud," he writes. "It creates an automated virtual network topology where containers identify each other through a domain name system (DNS) and communicate over an IP infrastructure."The SDN code is part of Docker Engine, the Docker runtime. All that’s required from the developer is to define the container images the application uses and relationships between them using the company’s Compose tool."

For more details on how the SDN capabilities work in Docker, and which vendors have partnered with Docker to make it all work, check out Sverdlik's article here.

Is your organization using/considering using Docker? Do these new capabilities make the idea more appealing? Let us know in the comments section below.

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