cat Infinit.tgz | docker import - Infinit:acquired

Paris biz gobbled, 'batteries' for distributed storage to be included with Docker containers

Docker, creator of easy-to-use software containers for applications and all-round DevOps darling, is adding a storage option to its software.

On Tuesday, in a blog post, Docker founder and CTO Solomon Hykes announced the acquisition of Infinit, a Paris-based distributed storage startup. No price was disclosed.

Infinit makes consumer-oriented mobile apps for transferring files and has been developing an enterprise offering.

In a phone briefing with The Register, David Messina, SVP of marketing and community for Docker, said Docker hasn't decided what will become of Infinit's consumer file transfer apps or its planned enterprise product. "That's something to be explored by the company," he said.

Infinit's value to Docker is not so much its products as its technology: a peer-to-peer file storage platform that aggregates storage resources – such as local, SAN, NAS, and cloud volumes – to form a foundation for a POSIX-compliant file system.

Infinit allows developers and systems operators to create storage infrastructure from the command line in just a few minutes using containers, virtual machines, or bare metal machines.

Docker plans to use Infinit's technology to offer a convenient, distributed storage layer that integrates with its containers and existing storage services.

Containers have been widely used with stateless applications, which can be stopped and restarted where they left off. But companies also want to use containers with stateful applications, like databases, and that requires a way to store the state of the application.

"Infinit will address that by providing a portable distributed storage engine, in the same way that our SocketPlane acquisition provided a portable distributed overlay networking implementation for Docker," said Hykes.

Hykes points to efforts among enterprises to use Docker to containerize stateful enterprise applications. Infinit, he said, will provide enterprises with persistent storage for containers while allowing them to utilize existing enterprise storage vendors.

With developers moving from single container applications to applications that span multiple containers on a distributed system, Hykes sees a need to ensure that the entire application remains portable to any computing infrastructure, on cloud or on premises, along with any stateful services.

Hykes added that Docker plans to open source Infinit's platform next year, as it has done with InfraKit, Notary, SwarmKit and other internal tech.

Currently, Docker provides distributed storage through its plugin ecosystem, said Messina. "The role that Infinit plays is that we've had extensive feedback from the user community, now in the millions of users and tens of thousands of companies," he said. "They want a default battery."

Messina is referring to the "batteries included" metaphor, used by technology companies to describe products that work out of the box. Infinit will be the storage layer that's included with Docker, but it will be "swappable" with other container-oriented storage offerings from the likes of EMC, NetApp, ClusterHQ, and Portworx.

Asked whether Infinit's preferred relationship with Docker might annoy other providers of container-oriented storage, Patrick Chanezon, chief developer advocate, insisted the Docker community wants a default storage layer option. "Including a storage battery by default will just accelerate innovation," he said. ®

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