For the past several months, Issuetrak has had the pleasure of sponsoring and hosting monthly Docker meetings for the development community of Hampton Roads. Docker is a relatively new way of packaging applications so that the application runs as expected, no matter the environment. These application “containers” include everything the software needs to run, making them lightweight, secure, and easy to deploy. Since launching in 2013, Docker has been steadily building its profile and list of partners, quickly becoming a major player in the software development industry. While Docker isn’t something that is an active part of our own application, it is a platform we’ve been following closely and learning more about.
As with the Hampton Roads Dev Fest, hosting the DockerHR meetups is another opportunity for Issuetrak to take a leadership role within our local developer community. For Hampton Roads, it’s another opportunity to demonstrate to businesses and software developers that our region is embracing new and exciting technology and is worth investing in.
The meetings provide valuable opportunities to learn and network. And, they’re open to anyone interested in the use of Docker or in Software Development in general.
For December 2016 meeting, Issuetrak’s CTO Dan Luhring spoke about his experience with Docker in a talk titled “ECS: Amazon’s Take on Docker in the Cloud.” Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a suite of cloud computing tools available for businesses and developers over the internet. By accessing these resources over the web versus locally, businesses can benefit from reduced expenses, rapid scalability, and top notch support. While only a small portion of the meetup’s audience was actively using AWS, the talk was designed to provide a high level view of Dan’s experience with it as pertains to Docker and ECS. Standing for EC2 Container Service, ECS is Amazon’s container management service that supports Docker containers.
After covering a brief overview of AWS, Dan proceeded to introduce two Amazon services that are integral to ECS: EC2 (Elastic Cloud Compute) and VPC (Virtual Private Cloud). Included in the ECS acronym, EC2 provides access to virtual machines whenever they are needed. Each virtual instance can have whatever you need, from a specific operating system to applications, data, and more. VPC provides access to a virtual data center based on your own network configuration requirements. While using the ECS interface to run your Dockerized application, clusters of EC2 instances are generated and located within a VPC. After defining a series of Tasks (a defined set of Docker containers), ECS will automatically choose which EC2 instance to utilize within the cluster to ensure your Dockerized applications have the resources to run seamlessly.
To provide further clarity on these concepts, Dan walked through a demo that included the process of setting up clusters and creating and launching tasks. Using SSH (secure shell), Dan connected to his containers to verify accessibility and to ensure that his newly created tasks were performing their assigned functions. He was also able to verify that his two Docker applications ran as directed. The demo was a success and highlighted the speed and ease of use of ECS. The audience asked questions and clarified points, making the demo a collaborative discussion. This particular portion of the talk is what makes the Docker Meetups so important and worthwhile. Everyone present is there to learn and support one another and become more familiar with Docker. Attendees and organizers bring their own experiences and knowledge to the group, enhancing everyone’s knowledge level and providing greater context to the presentation. For example, DockerHR co-organizer Bret Fisher provided some insight into Amazon’s overall view of Docker, their implementation of it, and containers in general within ECS.
2016 was a solid year for the DockerHR Meetup group, and we look forward to the many successful Docker meetups to come in 2017. If you are interested in attending, we encourage you to visit the DockerHR meetup page and participate in the group discussion on both this site and Twitter using the hashtag #DockerHR. While attendance levels at the meetings have been fair, we hope that even more folks will take the plunge and help make the meetups more of a success.