Q
Evaluate Weigh the pros and cons of technologies, products and projects you are considering.

Should PaaS providers fear the Docker invasion?

Docker and platform as a service providers offer similar features, making the container platform a PaaS alternative. So will Docker fully replace PaaS?

In the highly competitive cloud computing market, only the strong survive. And as the market continues to grow,...

newer -- and often more cost-efficient -- services replace similar vendor offerings.

Docker is a virtualization framework that packages Linux applications and their dependencies into a container, making those applications portable across different platforms. Meanwhile, platform as a service (PaaS) offers a pre-configured virtual environment for developers, which is a similar service. For many, Docker may be an alternative to PaaS, but the open source container technology will not replace PaaS.

Some PaaS features are not easily duplicated in Docker. For example, using a relational or NoSQL database foundation, PaaS can offer a persistent data store. PaaS providers manage database administration tasks, while developers are responsible for managing the lifecycle of data stored in the database. Users can configure a Docker image to run a MySQL, MongoDB or other database, but developers are responsible for their own database administration. Other services, such as messaging queues, can be fully managed in a PaaS environment, but are available in a DIY model when using Docker.

When developers use PaaS to take advantage of a well-configured platform containing their preferred development stack, Docker is a good alternative. Developers can choose a Docker image from the Docker Hub public repository, and run it on their own development server or in an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) virtual machine. With thousands of available Docker images, there's a good chance developers can find images with the tools they need.

While Docker isn't a replacement for PaaS, the container technology may be a bigger threat to conventional IaaS virtual machines. Major IaaS providers offer container services that allow users to run Docker images in the cloud without provisioning specific machine instances. This can be especially appealing to organizations with many jobs that don't require the full resources of a virtual machine. Additionally, administrators don't have to optimize virtual machine sizes for optimal use.

Because Docker relieves many time consuming headaches for admins and developers, it's becoming a very popular option. In the long run, it should be seen as a complement to PaaS and IaaS, not as a replacement.

About the author
Dan Sullivan holds a Master of Science degree and is an author, systems architect and consultant with more than 20 years of IT experience. He has had engagements in advanced analytics, systems architecture, database design, enterprise security and business intelligence. He has worked in a broad range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, software development, government, retail and education. Dan has written extensively about topics that range from data warehousing, cloud computing and advanced analytics to security management, collaboration and text mining.

Next Steps

Complete guide to Docker and container technology

Comparing and contrasting PaaS vendors

AWS muddies waters between PaaS and IaaS

This was last published in July 2015

PRO+

Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Essential Guide

Developing cloud applications in the new IT era

Have a question for an expert?

Please add a title for your question

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

You will be able to add details on the next page.

Join the conversation

3 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Data persistence with Docker is beginning to evolve. Some of the projects to look into: http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2015/06/container-persistence-part-3-can-i-have-the-easy-button-please.html
Cancel
Wikibon had a nice article about all the elements in the container ecosystem that live above a container (eg. Docker), http://premium.wikibon.com/evolving-container-architectures/. 

For most PaaS platforms, all of this functionality is under the covers - not necessarily using the same technology, but similar functionality (scheduling, service discovery, operational tools, service brokers, etc.).

It's a big step to get from running a couple containers to running 100s or 1000s in production. 
Cancel
I don’t really see a Docker induced doomsday. Sure, Docker may entice some portion of the market to move to containers, but I don’t think that will spell the end of PaaS. They’re really filling two different niches.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchServerVirtualization

SearchVMware

SearchVirtualDesktop

SearchAWS

SearchDataCenter

SearchWindowsServer

SearchCRM

Close