Careers at Docker
Docker’s mission is to create tools of mass innovation.
Solomon Hykes was the founder of dotCloud, a second-generation platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company. In 2013 he began work on a project for the firm called Docker, assisted by Francois-Xavier Bourlet, Andrea Luzzardi, and other dotCloud engineers. Docker is an open source platform that enables the writing of applications that can run on different Linux systems. It thus increases application portability, as developers can build, ship, and run distributed applications anywhere.
Hykes officially launched Docker in March 2013. In July, he announced that the new offering would be the primary focus of dotCloud. Within a matter of time, the platform gained buzz – by September 2013, 10,000 developers had given it a try. By June 2014, the Docker Engine software had been downloaded a whopping 2.75 million times. The system’s timing was fortuitious, as more and more companies were investing in cloud computing. Amazon and Red Hat provided commercial support.
Over the next few years, Docker secured significant sums from investors. In 2014 it closed $55 million in funding in rounds led by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital. In 2015 it raised $95 million in a round led by Insight Venture Partners. The company also made numerous acquisitions to enhance its capabilities. Acquired firms included Conductant, Unikernel Systems, Tutum, Kitematic, SocketPlane, Koality, and Orchard. As of November 2015, Docker had generated one billion downloads.
Business model of Docker
Docker has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offering at enterprises that seek to build portable distributive applications.
Docker offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, performance, and brand/status.
The company increases accessibility by providing containers that are based on open standards. This enables applications within the containers to be run on all major Microsoft operating systems and Linux distributions. Applications can also be managed in the Cloud or on-premises.
The company has demonstrated strong performance. It allows users to change their applications dynamically, whether the change involves scaling out services, adding new capabilities, or fixing problem areas. As a result, Docker customers ship software seven times more quickly than non-Docker users after deploying the system in their environment.
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its success. It has 21,000+ GitHub stars, 300,000 Dockerized applications in Docker Hub, and over two billion container downloads. It boasts 1,600+ community contributors and is used for over 50,000 third-party projects. The company’s prominent organizational contributors include IBM, Red Hat, Cisco Systems, and Google.
Docker’s main channel is its direct sales team, through which it acquires most customers. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and attendance at various expos, summits, and conferences. It also hosts DockerCon, a two-day conference for developers, systems administrators, and C-suite executives at which it discusses all aspects of the system.
Docker’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website features a “Resources” section that includes white papers, technical briefs, data sheets, case studies, video tutorials, and reference architectures. It also features the “Docker Knowledge Hub”, which contains curated advice from the company’s technical support staff.
Despite this orientation, there is also a community component. The company maintains “Docker Forums," where customers can obtain advice from developers and IT professionals. It also offers “Docker Captains”, experts on the system who are selected by the company to share their knowledge with others in their offline communities. They publish blog posts and speak at local industry events.
There is also a strong personal assistance component. Docker offers training programs for customers, including free self-paced (online) classes and paid instructor-led classes. Moreover, the firm provides professional services consisting of on-site workshops and access to a Technical Account Manager.
Docker’s business model entails maintaining a robust platform for its enterprise customers.
Docker maintains the Docker Partner Ecosystem, which includes the following partner types:
Consulting Partners – Advise customers on how to design, build, and deploy the Docker platform
Training Partners – Provide classes teaching customers how to use Docker
Service Providers – Provide managed and cloud services so that customers can host the Docker platform and their applications
System Integrators – Provide application development, maintenance, and management services
Ecosystem Technology Partners (ETP) – Integrate, embed, and/or develop products that complement the platform and utilize the Docker API
Partners receive a number of benefits, including discounts on training and certification programs (as much as 20% off), early access to product information, participation in joint marketing opportunities, and access to the Partner Portal, through which they can receive sales and technical materials. The company’s specific partners include Amazon Web Services, Datadog, Infoblox, and Blockbridge.
Docker’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which is used for over 50,000 projects. It depends on human resources in the form of engineering staff to maintain and update the platform, training and consulting staff to provide educational and advisory services respectively, and customer service staff to provide support. Lastly, as a relatively new startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $180 million from 10 investors as of November 2015.
Docker has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support/operations and administration.
Docker has two revenue streams:
Subscription Plans – The company offers two plans:
- Datacenter – Gives customers access to a production-ready Containers-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform hosted behind the firewall. The “Business Day“ option includes customer service from Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., while the “Business Critical“ option offers 24/7 support. The sales team must be contacted for price quotes.
- Cloud – Offers Docker Cloud, a managed and hosted Containers as a Service (CaaS) platform for small application teams. It costs $15 per node per month and comes with one free node and one free repository. There is an additional monthly fee that varies depending on the number of repositories the customer requests.
Training Services – Docker charges for customer access to instructor-led training and educational workshops.
info: Ben earned a B.A. in Public Policy from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He previously served as the President and CEO of Gluster, the President and CEO of Plaxo, and the SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of VeriSign, where he spent eight years.
info: Solomon earned Bachelor’s and Master‘s degrees in Information Technology at the European Institute of Technology. He is the Founder and CEO of dotCloud and previously held engineering roles at CEIS and SmartJob.
info: Mike earned a B.S. in Accounting and Economics from New York University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He previously served as CFO and SVP of Strategic Investments at Twitter, SVP of Finance at Zynga, and SVP of Finance at Yahoo.
info: Scott earned a BSEE, MSEE, MSMSE, and MBA at Stanford University. He previously served as SVP of Product Management at Docker and VP of Marketing at Puppet Labs, and held leadership roles at Cisco, Loudcloud, Netscape, and Sun Microsystems.
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