The new so-called Swarm Mode in Docker Engine 1.12 is optional: it can be turned off if you still prefer to use Kubernetes or similar. It is designed to be self-organizing and self-healing, which is a fancy way of saying the software automatically makes sure it just works as configured, rebalancing workloads even if a server falls over.Basically, you run docker service create and a bunch of managers are fired up. They break the service into tasks and assign these to worker nodes, which run containers to provide that service.(These services, tasks and containers can be optionally described using a distributed application bundle – a .dab file – which uses a JSON format and is an experimental feature. DAB files are expected to arrive formally in Docker 1.13.)
The managers assign IP addresses, and ensure the workers are kept busy. If something falls over, it's restarted to a given state. A service deployment API will be available so software and admins can configure and control their swarms. There's also a routing mesh feature that provides multi-host overlay networking, DNS-based service discovery, and round-robin load-balancing out of the box.Swarm nodes are configured, by default, to use end-to-end TLS encryption between themselves to secure their communications with rotating certificates and cryptographically secured identities. This cryptography is handled automatically and silently. Essentially, that's the deal with Docker Engine 1.12: taking Swarm's features and bringing them into Docker and making the setup as automatic and as painless as possible.
Finally, Docker is integrating Docker 1.12 with Microsoft's Azure and Amazon's AWS clouds. This is a private beta: you can apply for access here. You can already run Docker in these off-premises systems just fine; the integration allows you to deploy a Docker swarm with a few clicks – the Docker Engine nodes are automagically secured with end-to-end TLS encryption and tap into the clouds' autoscaling, load-balancing and storage facilities directly.So that's an overview of what Docker's announcing today. We'll have more detail from DockerCon this week. WDC and CTERA have developed a joint product that combines HGST's Active Archive System (S3-compliant, scale-out object storage) with CTERA’s Enterprise File Services Platform.Enterprises and CSPs can launch enterprise file services. The two say customers can have enterprise-grade file sharing, data protection, and branch office file storage capabilities. Their joint product offers file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, endpoint and server backup.
Road test “Lapable” is not a word I would ordinarily use, save for the fact that Apple’s applied it to the new iPad Pro nine-incher.The horrid word is an admission that the smaller iPad Pro is not a strong contender as a laptop replacement, but can do the job when required. And in my experience, a very decent job once you take the leap.I didn’t jump for a while. The iPad Pro is a very, very, refined iPad and I happily wallowed in content consumption and games for my first few days with the device. Batteries lasted all day even when I fought a cold while watching Netflix. The screen is crisp and the whole package is light enough that it can serve as a one-handed World’s Poshest Kindle™ if required.Apple’s attention to hardware detail is amazing: the Pro does a neat trick of ensuring the left audio channel comes from the left speakers even when you rotate the device. Apparently there's even a sensor near the Home Button that can detect the proximity of your finger so that the fingerprint reader isn't always on and sucking battery.In my early days with the Pro I tried Apple's Smart Keyboard, the keyboard-hidden-in-the-cover that distinguishes the Pro from standard iPads. My first efforts produced a shoulder-hunching, downward-looking experience that literally gave me headaches I’d last experienced working on Netbooks.
Those aches appeared when using the device for long-ish stints of work on desks. Which isn’t what the iPad Pro is necessarily for: the “lappable” concept means Apple thinks it’s good enough for occasional lap visits, at times when you need to do more than just touch.So when I scored the gig to attend Computex in Taiwan I decided to road test the iPad Pro, deep-ending myself whenever possible by making it my go-to device for surfing, writing and using The Reg’s content management system (CMS) while jumping around between press conferences and exhibition halls. I couldn't quite bring myself to leave my laptop in the hotel, but forced myself to use the iPad whenever possible.The iPad came into its own because WiFi is oddly scarce at Computex. The iPad Pro comes with a slot for your own SIM plus a built-in global SIM that Apple's telecoms partners can access to offer data plans that cover most nations on Earth.I tested the global offering in the cab from Taipei’s Taoyuan airport. About five minutes into the ride I'd signed up for 500MB of local downloads for US$35. That’s not cheap, but certainly is more convenient than hunting for a local SIM.One odd side effect was that GigSky, the carrier offered to me in Taiwan, appeared to offer me a Swedish IP address, if the ads served by publishers was any guide.GigSky integrates well with the iPad Pro: I could see my download balance easily at all times in the Control Panel, so cut out trivial web surfing to make sure my expenses didn’t bloat.
The experience of signing up for GigSky is impressively simple, making the iPad Pro a very useful way to get online.For a writer like myself being online is no use until I can get to our CMS and add some stories. The iPad Pro comes with Apple’s Pages word processor, so writing was easy. Pages gets out of the way and lets you write. The Smart Keyboard proved surprisingly easy to wield at speed. It’s a little noisy, but nicely stiff. I felt no more inaccurate than usual and was helped by autocorrect that seldom created comic results.Critically, when the iPad Pro and keyboard are deployed in typing mode, the devices sit flat on your lap. That’s a huge difference compared to the Surface Pros, with their flip-back stand that is quite thin and I find cuts in to one’s legs.I find the Pro is more “lappable” for that reason alone. It’s excellent balance doesn’t hurt either: I could pound the keyboard hard while it was on my lap and never felt like I’d risk a fall. I can’t say that about the Surface Pro 3.What would you rather have on your lap: The Surface Pro's thin stand or the iPad's Smart Keyboard?
Another important feature of Apple’s keyboard is the inclusion of Control, Option and CMD keys, which means text-editing key combinations are available. I use such shortcuts without thinking but am denied them on the iPad’s on-screen keyboard. Adding extra keys to the Pro means I was immediately more productive than on consumer-grade iPads. Yes, I could bring Apple’s svelte Bluetooth keyboard along for the ride with a consumer iPad, but at the expense of a more cluttered bag and battery-related hassle. The Pro and Smart keyboard are a more elegant combination.