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Docker, the company that manages the eponymous open source project, has acquired four-month-old start-up SocketPlane to add software defined networking (SDN) features to its containerized software platform. 

SocketPlane develops Software-Defined Networking (SDN) code native to Docker – itself a method of running applications on Linux in compact virtual containers, as opposed to dedicated virtual machines.

“Given the myriad of networking use cases enabled by Docker, we believe strongly that we will be fostering broad opportunities for partners to build differentiated capabilities based upon Docker’s open standards,” said Madhu Venugopal, CEO of SocketPlane.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SocketPlane logo
– SocketPlane


SocketPlane was founded in December 2014, with only six employees. According to its own press release, the company uses Open vSwitch (OVS) technology to provide networking abstraction for Docker at the socket layer – although it was still at an early stage of life, and had not yet had time to announce any actual products.

According to Docker, SocketLayer was acquired for its expertise in SDN, rather than any particular technology. As part of the open source project, the team will now be developing networking APIs.

“Networking is a critical part of the stack for distributed applications and has become an increasing area of focus within the Docker partner ecosystem due to the rapid growth in multi-container, multi-host applications,” said Solomon Hykes, chief architect of the Docker Project and founder and CTO of Docker, Inc.

“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.”