CenturyLink announced that it is releasing Docker management tool Panamax to the open-source world.

Panamax provides developers a powerful management platform where they can create, share and deploy even the most complex Docker applications.

Docker is an open source initiative that aims to solve the problem of applications not running due to differences in the configurations of computers and servers.

Docker packs applications into "containers," which would include all the requirements needed to run the program. By packing the applications with Docker, it becomes much easier to transfer an application from the laptop of the developer to a server, or to move the application between servers.

However, while Docker eases the problem of running application in the cloud, setting up the said cloud that will run the applications is still cumbersome. This is because it is very difficult to enable communications between Docker containers that are located on different servers. Operating multi-container, multi-server applications on Docker was very hard to do, as developers were required to learn as many as five new technologies to do so.

"You can do it, but it's something of a dark art," said cloud computing company AppFog founder Lucas Carlson. AppFog was purchased by CenturyLink last year.

Carlson is now CenturyLink's chief innovation officer, and has headed the development of Panamax, which looks to make using Docker even easier for developers.

"Panamax lets you combine Linux containers like Legos, stitching together the best-of-breed containers built by the devops community, and then deploy them anywhere," said Carlson in the press release discussing the release of Panamax.

Panamax packages all the technologies and methods required to run multi-container, multi-server applications into the program. It can run on practically everything, whether on laptop computers, virtual machines, or public cloud systems that can support CoreOS such as CenturyLink Cloud.

"As one of the fastest-growing open-source projects in history, Docker is going to change the game in application development," said RedMonk principal analyst James Governor. "Panamax is designed to be Docker management for humans, dramatically simplifying multi-container app deployment." 

Panamax uses several different application templates, which are pre-configured collections of applications that make containerized applications faster and more efficient when applied.

CenturyLink is launching a template contest that is open to all developers, where all interested individuals can join by creating templates that would work with Panamax. The contest will both increase the template library of Panamax while also encouraging more developers to play around with the new Docker management tool.

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