Why Docker is a gamble

Every company that I have worked with, over the last two years, was either using Docker or was drawing up plans to soon use Docker. They are implicitly paying a very high price to have a standardized solution, rather than an ad-hoc build/deploy/orchestrate script. I personally have not yet seen a case where this was the economically rational choice, so either companies are implicitly hoping this will pay off in the long-run, or they are being irrational.

I use the word “implicitly” because I’ve yet to hear a tech manager verbalize this gamble explicitly. Most people who defend Docker talk about how it offers portability or security or orchestration or configuration. Docker can give us portability or security or orchestration or configuration, but at a cost of considerable complexity. Writing an ad-hoc script would be easier in most cases.

Actually, I personally see technical decisions like this made all the time without any disciplined elucidation of the benefits and trade-offs. It’s simply fashionable to use some technologies and unfashionable to use others. Or, at the very least, we’re letting our instincts (sound or not) replace explicit decision-making.

From Docker is the dangerous gamble which we will regret