Docker Acquires SDN Integration Startup SocketPlane

Docker Inc. acquired software-defined networking (SDN) company SocketPlane, a startup founded only last December.

Upon launch, SocketPlane positioned itself as an SDN Docker integration specialist, with Open vSwitch as the means to provide socket-layer networking abstraction.

SocketPlane lists no products on its Web site, however, so it's obvious that the target of the buyout was not the company, but rather its six employees. They include Madhu Venugopal, John M. Willis, Brent Salisbury and Dave Tucker, "… whose combined experience in SDN, cloud computing and DevOps will elevate the networking abilities in container-based application virtualization," according to a 2014 press release. Docker's newest employees have worked for such industry titans as Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Inc., Red Hat Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., and open source networking specialists like Open vSwitch, the OpenDaylight Project and Open Virtual Network.

Docker Founder and CTO Solomon Hykes verified the rationale in a Docker press release: "To sustain the velocity of community advancements in open, modular and secure Docker networking, we felt we needed to support those efforts with a dedicated team. Given the SocketPlane team's collective experience with virtually every open source SDN effort, we felt they were the right people to carry forward our 'batteries included, but swappable' approach to drive a thriving networking ecosystem."

The acquisition comes as part of Docker's growth beyond just being an open source container system for applications. It's begun adding management support and moving beyond single hosts, scaling up and out to become a more capable enterprise-level technology. But not everyone thinks Docker's expansion is a good thing. A competitor says that Docker has lost sight of its original mission.

SocketPlane was initially staked by Menlo Park, Calif.-based LightSpeed Ventures.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.