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TIMO ZIMMERMANN

balancing software engineering & infosec

Dockers Subscription Plans

posted on Tuesday 25th of August 2020 in ,

Docker will soon be a subscription based service if you want to pull more than 100 images per six hours. There is obviously some outrage as the service was free so far… well, guess what the easiest way to grow a service is and what a not sustainable business model looks like. But their plans are reasonable. Once you authenticate you double your quota.

And beyond that it is $5 per month for unlimited pulls or $7 per user for an organization. In my opinion this is still more than reasonable and to actually hit the quota you will either run something at scale or did not spend time to understand how your CI works. In both cases it seems more than reasonable to pay a few dollar to keep the lights on.

Another option is hosting a registry yourself and configure it as cache. This will likely not be significantly cheaper than paying Docker, but it gives you the option to have some control over what is going into your final image.

This change also speaks to the way people started using a free service – you just pull and pull and pull. There are no limits. One image requiring ten to be built? Sure. Running CI at scale? Who needs caching, someone else is already paying to keep the infrastructure online, right?

I like Docker finally charging users properly. There are so many individuals and organizations relying on Docker these days that they need a sustainable business model. And charging customers is not only okay, but to be encouraged over the alternatives to monetize a free service. Sure, there will always be edge cases where the five dollars are a problem. But at scale this is the only way to reliably run an company providing a service that is integral for so many companies and products.