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InfoQ Homepage News Docker Now Requiring Paid Subscription for Large Businesses

Docker Now Requiring Paid Subscription for Large Businesses

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Docker has introduced a new Subscription Service Agreement which requires organizations with more than 250 employees or more than $10 million in revenue to buy a paid subscription, starting at $5 per user per month. Additionally, Docker has launched a new Business subscription plan for larger organizations operating at scale.

The updated subscription terms for Docker Desktop reflect our need to scale our business sustainably and enable us to continue providing value in all Docker subscriptions.

The new service agreement only applies to Docker Desktop, which means that Docker Engine and the Moby project are not affected by this.

It is important to notice that Docker Desktop remains free for personal use, educational institutions, non-commercial open-source projects, and small businesses under the new Docker Personal plan, which replaces the previous Docker Free.

As mentioned, Docker is also introducing a new subscription plan specifically aimed to enterprises, Docker Business. The new plan brings features like secure software supply chain management, single sign-on (SSO), container registry access controls, and more to organizations that use Docker at scale.

The new terms became effective on August, 31, but Docker granted a grace period until Jan. 31, 2022, for developers to comply with the new service agreement and buy a paid subscription if required. Developers can choose among the Docker Pro, Docker Team, and Docker Business subscriptions.

As it was to be expected, Docker announcement sparked a discussion among developers. While many appeared to understand the rationale behind Docker new subscriptions, others voiced their discontent. Criticism developed along two main lines. On the one hand, some felt Docker's decision set a potentially dangerous precedent, with the risk of increasing subscription costs in the future and lock-in. This view does not, though, take into account the higher costs that an organization would incur if they had to rely on a not well-maintained open-source software, say others.

The majority of concerns were raised about the hardness of navigating through procurement processes within corporate entities that could make it harder for developers to keep using Docker and create a number of complexities. As a natural consequence, many have started exploring which alternatives are available for developers, including minikube, Canonical-supported microk8s, and others.

It remains to be seen whether developers and companies will find it more convenient to look for an alternative to Docker Desktop or just pay the small fee required by its subscription plans and keep their existing workflows unchanged.

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