Dell at DockerCon — Config guides, developer laptops, plugins and more

June 29, 2016

Today you would have to be under an IT rock if you haven’t at least heard of containers.  Containers, which have recently been made easily usable by a wide audience, allow applications to flow in a uniform package from development, to test, to production.  Containers also allow applications to be moved between public and private clouds as well as bare metal environments.  All of this increases agility and reduces friction in the overall development to deployment cycle, increasing the speed that organizations can deliver services to customers.

The 800 pound gorilla in the space is Docker which makes the most widely used container format and is building out additional offerings in the greater container ecosystem.


Last week in Seattle Docker held DockerCon 2016, its fourth conference promoting the general container ecosystem.  The event featured dozens of participating companies as well as a plethora of talks.  There was a ton of energy and the event even included a “full on kitty laser death match” on the main stage:

Laser cats

I attended the show and while there I attended sessions, conducted a bunch of interviews (see below) and spent time working at the Dell booth supporting Dell’s presence.

Dell Booth

At our booth we showed off four major offerings/projects in the Docker and container DockerCon Dell boothspace (here’s a video I did giving a brief overview what we were featuring).

We showed:


  • BlueData configuration guide:  BlueData’s platform provides customers with Big Data as a service, giving them the ability to leverage one pool of storage across multiple versions and distributions of big data tools.  The platform leverages Docker to deliver bare-metal performance with the flexibility of virtualization.  The configuration guide details the configuration set-up for BlueData’s Big-Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) platform on Dell’s PowerEdge Servers.
  • Developer laptops: In the booth we showed off our line of Ubuntu-based developer laptops (Project Sputnik). These Linux-based systems provide a native platform for Docker-based development and allows developers to push their container-based apps to the cloud.  On the second day we gave away a “Sputnik” laptop (see below for the crowd on hand for the drawing).
  • Flocker plugin: This plugin allows ClusterHQ’s Flocker to integrate with the Dell Storage SC Series. This allows developer and operations teams to use existing storage to create portable container-level storage for Docker.
  • Docker Swarm plugin: This plugin, which is in the proof of concept phase, connects Docker Swarm with Dell’s next gen networking operating system, OS10.  The plugin automates configuration of vlan & routers for Docker’s Macvlan/Ipvlan driver orchestrated using Docker Swarm.

All in all a great show, helping to raise Dell’s presence in the space and providing us with greater insight into customer needs and the ecosystem evolution.

Waiting in front of the Dell booth for the Sputnik drawing

Waiting in front of the Dell booth for the Sputnik drawing

Video interviews:


Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

Talking to ClusterHQ founder about Flocker and the Dell storage plugin

January 7, 2016

Continuing with my videos from KubeCon, here is a chat ClusterHQ’s founder and CTO, Luke Marsden.  Luke explains Flocker, how its being used and talks about the Dell/Flocker driver.

Some of the ground Luke covers

  • What is Flocker (hint: a way to connect the container universe to the storage universe)
  • Why you don’t want containers that are “pets rather than cattle”
  • What types of customers are using Flocker and how Swisscom uses it along with Cloud Foundry
  • The Dell storage center plugin for Flocker

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

Flocker plugin for Dell storage up on GitHub

November 12, 2015

Today ClusterHQ and Dell announced the availability on GitHub of code that allows ClusterHQ’s Flocker to integrate with the Dell Storage SC Series. What this does is allow developer and operations teams to use existing storage to create portable container-level storage for Docker.

Before we dive into the back story on how the plugin came to be, take a listen to ClusterHQ’s founder and CTO Luke Marsden.  Luke explains Flocker, how its being used and talks about the Dell/Flocker driver.

How the plugin came about

Rather than coming from an internal planning process or committee, the idea for a Flocker plugin came from Dell storage coder Sean McGinnis. Sean was looking for ways to make Dell Storage an infrastructure component in an open source environment. Some time back he noticed that Flocker seemed to be a good integration point to allow the use of Dell Storage for users looking to move to containerized solutions.

Sean saw a lot of overlap with what his team was already doing with their OpenStack Cinder driver (both written in Python, with some common storage management concepts). He realized that that they could reuse the majority of this code for a Flocker driver by providing the Flocker driver interface to translate Flocker calls into our storage API. Along with Ian Anderson (another Dell Storage engineer) the pair engaged ClusterHQ to explore requirements for brining Storage Center support to Flocker.

Sean and Ian then worked internally to implement our Flocker driver, open source it and put the code up on GitHub.

The code, storage and beyond

-> You can check out the code and play with it for yourself here on GitHub.

Going forward the team is looking to expand Dell Storage’s open source offerings hosted on GitHub. They see a lot of potential for containers and will continue working in this space to make sure enterprise customers can leverage their storage arrays to support these developing environments.

Beyond storage, Dell is looking to start open sourcing more code and putting it up on GitHub.  Don’t expect a deluge right off the bat but hopefully over time you will start seeing more and more.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

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