Docker is the open platform to build, ship and run any application, anywhere. Whether legacy or microservices, Linux or Windows, Docker provides an OS, infrastructure and application architecture agnostic platform for developers and IT organizations to accelerate their application pipeline. Organizations often look for additional tooling and support as they look to bring Dockerized applications into production with SLAs that mirror their own service level commitments to their customers. Docker is available as free open source software or combined with commercial support with enterprise class service levels.
Open Source Support
The Docker team and community collaborate together to release updates to the Docker Engine and other related projects every couple of months. Open source support for the Docker Engine is provided through IRC, GitHub, and Docker Forums for the latest released version of Docker software. Any bugs and issues are filed, in the open, to the Docker repo for contributors and maintainers to ask for more information and discuss resolutions. Fixes and patches are then applied and released as incremental versions to the upstream Docker software.
Docker Commercial Support
Docker also provides commercial support for the upstream Docker Engine software directly and through authorized support partners. Commercial support primarily differs from open source support in that it provides support for multiple Docker Engine (CS Engine) versions, dedicated service levels and private communications for issues and more. Enterprises are able to have greater flexibility in the versions they adopt and the rate at which they upgrade their Docker Engines. Commercial Support also provides validated configurations, interoperability and full API support to guarantee that your Docker environment will operate as designed. Any issues are quickly remediated and patches/hotfixes are applied, backported to all versions under support and ultimately merged to upstream Docker.
- Stable: Docker provides a predictable release cadence and long supported versions so you can upgrade at the pace of your business. Patches and fixes are backported to all supported versions. Compatibility and interoperability is validated and supported to guarantee systems operate as designed.
- Secure: Docker proactively addresses security vulnerabilities, releases hotfixes, backports fixes to all supported versions and communicates updates to customers. Docker Engine has been independently evaluated as the most secure container runtime available today with the strongest defaults.
- Expertise: Docker engineers are the primary maintainers and contributors to the open source projects that drive the Docker platform roadmap. Support engineers from Docker and authorized support partners provide deep technical expertise in Docker, distributed systems and applications to ensure smooth operations.
Full support for the Docker API and not just the container format ensures seamless portability from development to production and across environments without requiring alterations. This also ensures interoperability with a broad ecosystem of tools and solutions.
Forks in the Road
Open source projects are organic and forking is a way of life. Those forked projects are effectively downstream of the Docker project. Forks, like code branches, are typically short-lived: it is a “tension” that is resolved by merging upstream. When a fork takes a life of its own, accepts its difference from upstream, and adopts a different path, then it becomes something else entirely. Vendors often fork open source projects, make vendor specific modifications add their support and sell that solution to customers. During this process, the fork takes on the identity and brand of the new vendor and also sets different expectations, bugs, interoperability and security guarantees than the upstream Docker project.
This is an important distinction as we look at the growing container ecosystem. Organizations looking to deploy “container technology” that are looking to adopt Docker should understand the differences between what is offered by Docker compared to forks that claim Docker support. A fundamental pillar of Docker’s design is around portability and openness to be infrastructure and operating system agnostic. Some forks are developed for specific platforms and as an example, are creating segments of incompatible Docker images. These forks should not message their solutions as “Docker” as it misleads customers on their expectations of interoperability, portability and flexibility that they have come to expect from Docker. There is no official support provided on these forks from Docker, commercial or open source as that is the sole responsibility of the vendor who has forked the project. These forks are not Docker, period.
Docker Commercial Support Availability
Where can you get official Docker support? Docker commercial software and support are available directly from Docker and from our authorized reseller and support partners only. Authorized support providers are an extension of the Docker support engineering team and deliver the same service levels listed in Docker support.
Commercial support is available for CS Engine standalone or as part of the Docker Datacenter subscription which includes CS Engine, Trusted Registry and Universal Control Plane as an integrated solution.