Docker Steps Up Its Channel Strategy
Aiming to drive more business in the direction of partners that are more invested in its complete portfolio, Docker Inc. has revamped its channel program.
Although developers have widely embraced Docker containers, Docker Inc. also is trying to build a company around providing platforms, such as Docker DataCenter—which includes the Docker Universal Control Plane, Docker Trusted Registry and embedded support for Docker Engine—to manage those containers.
As part of that effort, the company is providing incentives, along with sales and marketing tools, to channel partners that build a practice around its products and services, said Alan Geary, senior director of channels and alliances at Docker Inc. In addition, Docker Inc. has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Synnex in North America.
"We already have thousands of partners," said Geary. "We want to elevate the few that have really invested in Docker DataCenter."
The latest Docker Inc. channel initiative is aimed at helping to differentiate solution providers that have invested in developing broad Docker technology expertise, said Chris Ciborowski, CEO of Nebulaworks, a solution provider that has created a Docker container practice.
"There are a lot of fly-by-night companies out there claiming to have Docker expertise," said Ciborowski.
In general, the biggest challenge in working with Docker technologies these days is finding IT talent with hands-on Docker experience and keeping up with the rate of innovation that many customers are now routinely embracing, Ciborowski said.
"Today, we need to be as agile as the customer is," said Ciborowski.
While Docker containers and the rise of microservices represent a major shift in the IT landscape, Docker Inc. is challenged on several fronts. Most containers in production environments these days are deployed on top of virtual machines. Most of those environments have existing tools for managing virtual machines that can be applied to the containers running on those platforms.
Docker Inc. is making a case for the need for a management platform designed for containers, regardless of whether those containers are deployed on virtual machines, bare-metal servers or in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.
Solution providers should take note of the fact that how applications are built and deployed using containers is going to have a major impact across the entire spectrum of IT. As such, solution providers that get a jump on that transition today are likely to experience high demand for container expertise for many years to come.
Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications, including InfoWorld, CRN and eWEEK. He currently blogs daily for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, Channel Insider and Baseline.