Welcome to the first post of my personal blog, giving you my thoughts and opinions about Portainer, our market, and where it’s going. It has been a really busy few months for the Portainer dev team so I thought an overall update might be useful for the community.
As you all know, Portainer is a browser-based, container management dashboard focused on “day 2 operations”. We built it for IT teams just starting out with Docker, as well as teams using Docker in wide scale in production. Our vision for Portainer.io is to fill the gap where sysadmins need a user-friendly graphical control plane to monitor & manage their container landscapes. Portainer is an “unbundling” of the control plane commonly found in other offerings and is ideal for organizations that prefer to select their own technologies that make up their management stack. Our goal for Portainer is to be a “manager of managers”, meaning rather than bundling technology within Portainer (such as a registry, or performance monitoring tools), Portainer will be extended to let users choose from several supported technologies which can be managed natively from within Portainer.
Portainer began life as an open source labor of love. It has now been pulled from Docker hub more than 1.2 billion times. Staggering. Its popularity has taken us all by surprise and we are humbled by its success. We are very aware of the challenge of maintaining our open source core, while making a version of the product that is useful in larger and more mission critical situations. In December, with the release of our new website, we renamed the open source ‘Portainer’ as “Portainer Community Edition” (CE). We feel that this is a well understood convention. Portainer CE remains open source.
From its creation, Portainer has been designed to fit across the range of needs in the user landscape. We know that small businesses have very different requirements than large enterprises and are working hard to ensure we can meet the needs of both types of organisations. Just after DockerCon last year, we announced our plan to release a range of commercial extensions, which are very low-cost "closed source" plugins that extend Portainer primarily for use in larger container implementations. I am pleased that as at April 2019, we have Registry Management and External Authentication available from within the app. We have a roadmap for future extensions including role-based access control, activity logging/alerting and more. We also plan to enhance our extensions over time, giving more functionality and wider use cases to them.
In our view suitability for mission critical environments requires both enhanced features and rock solid, formal support. Over the past three months we have added both these services to our portfolio (both available from within the app). Hopefully you will agree that this gives our community the best of both worlds. We continue to work on our support offerings so stay tuned.
We have chosen $9.95 per year as our extension subscription price. By choosing such a low price, we remain true to the spirit of Portainer, which is to be an extremely valuable tool in a very cost-effective manner.
In my next article I plan to summarise the version changes we have made in the last six months. I also hope to speak more about both Registry Manager and External Authorization to give you an idea of what the extensions do and why we feel they are both useful and important. As always we welcome constructive comments and feedback. See you soon.