Container (Orchestration) Market gets exciting

Lets do a simple exercise.

Accept these:

  • Docker is the defacto industry standard for containers
  • Google is the key vendor behind Kubernetes
  • Kubernetes is key for Google to drive adoption of GCP
  • Today, Docker and Kubernetes play nice with each other ( at least in public )
  • Docker is including Orchestration in the container itself
  • Docker now competes with Kubernetes

Assumptions:

  • Docker Orchestration will soon become good enough
  • Such a good enough solution will make Kubernetes adoption harder.

Lets keep things simple and look at straight forward scenarios. ( lets ignore expected messaging of apple pie, opensource, good of mankind etc etc)

Lets also agree that the two players that matter here are: Google and Docker

Google: Wants Kubernetes to succeed. If Docker fragments the market with their own orchestration, it gets in the way of Kubernetes success.

Option1: Continue to cooperate with Docker and compete on merits of Kubernetes

Option 2: Fight Docker and push an alternative container to Docker and help Kubernetes succeed

Docker: Wants Docker to succeed. Wants to make money from Docker orchestration

Option1: Cooperate with Google, to drive higher Docker ‘container’ adoption from Kubernetes customers. Plan upsell/migration from Kubernetes

Option2: Fight Google, and compete with Kubernetes head-on with Docker ( Orchestration )

So, this gives us 4 possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: Google cooperates with Docker, Docker cooperates with Google

Payoff to Google : xg
Payoff to Docker: xd

Scenario 2: Google cooperates, Docker fights

Payoff to Google: xg — k ( where k is loss to Docker orchestration )
Payoff to Docker: xd + k

Scenario 3: Google fights, Docker fights

Payoff to Google: xg — k ( where k is loss to Docker orchestration )

Payoff to Docker: xd — m ( where m is loss to an alternate container format)

Scenario 4: Google fights, Docker cooperates

Payoff to Google: xg + m ( where m is gain from converting Docker customers to a new container format )

Payoff to Docker: xd — m

Questions:

If you are Google, what would you do?

If you are Docker, what would you do?

What is the likely scenario that will play out?

What should Google Competitors do?

My recommendation: If you are Google, acquire Docker. If you are Docker, fight Google. If you are a Google competitor, back Docker. Btw, Docker value shot up this week.

Couple more things:

  • Docker won as a container because of its ease of use. Kubernetes so far is getting reputation as hard to use. This puts Docker orchestration at an advantage.
  • Other vendors who are trying to bet the farm on Kubernetes now have a higher chance of being a roadkill in this battle. They need a new strategy.

Thoughts?

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