Categories: ArticlesKubernetes

Portainer: A Visionary Software and an Evolution Journey

Discover the current state of the first graphical interfaces for docker containers and how it provides a solution for modern container platforms

Photo by HyoSun Rosy Ko on Unsplash

I want to start this article with a story that I am not sure all of you, incredible readers, know. It was a time that there were no graphical interfaces to monitor your containers. It was a long time ago, understanding a long time as we can do in the container world. Maybe this was 2014-2015 when Kubernetes was in its initial stage, and also, Docker Swarm was just released and seemed the most reliable solution.

So most of us didn’t have a container platform as such. We just run our containers from our own laptops or small servers for cutting-edge companies using docker commands directly and without more help than the CLI tool. As you can see, things have changed a lot since then, and if you would like to refresh that view, you can check the article shared below:

And at that time, an open-source project provides the most incredible solution because we didn’t know that we needed that until we use it, and that option was portainer. Portainer provides a very awesome web interface where you can see all the docker containers deployed on your docker host and deploy as another platform.

Web page of portainer in 2017 from https://ostechnix.com/portainer-an-easiest-way-to-manage-docker/

It was the first one and generated a tremendous impact, even generated a series of other projects that were named: the portainer of… like dodo the portainer of Kubernetes infrastructure at that time.

But maybe you can ask.. and how is portainer doing? is still portainer a thing? It is still alive and kicking, as you can see on their GitHub project page: https://github.com/portainer/portainer, with the last release in the last of May 2021.

Now they have a Business version but still as Comunity Edition one that is the one that I am going to be analyzing here in more detail in another article. Still, I would like to provide some initial highlights:

  • Installing process still follows the same approach as the initial releases to be another component of your cluster. The options to be used in Docker, Docker Swarm, or Kubernetes cover all the main solutions all enterprise uses.
  • Provides now a list of application templates similar to the Openshift Catalog list, and also, you can create your own ones. This is very useful for companies that usually rely on these templates to allow developers to use a common deployment approach without needing to do all the work.
Portainer 2.5.1 Application Template&Nbsp;View
  • Team Management capabilities can define users with access to the platform and group those users as part of the team to a more granular permission management.
  • Multi-registry support: By default, it will be integrated with Docker Hub, but you can add your own registries as well and be able to pull images directly from those directly from the GUI.

In summary, this is a great evolution of the portainer tool while keeping the same spirit that all the old users loved at that time: Simplicity and Focus on what an Administrator or Developer needs to know, but also adding more features and capabilities to keep the pace of the evolution in the container platform industry.

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Alexandre Vazquez

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