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Ben Golub, CEO, Docker, at Dockercon 2017 (via Docker on Twitter)

There’s a point in the evolution of a successful enterprise technology company in which the world starts to revolve around you. Docker continued to show this week that it will have a huge influence on the way that software is developed and run over the next decade.

It’s hard to believe Docker has been an open-source enterprise computing player for just four years; Docker has come a long way since it first released the project in 2013, hosting the DockerCon developer event this week in Austin, Texas, attended by a sold-out crowd of 5,000. While containers have been the critical darling of the enterprise tech world for a few years now, most companies have just been kicking the tires as opposed to trusting Docker with their mission-critical applications.

That is starting to change. Docker announced several features this week that will nudge CIOs toward its tech: Tuesday it released improved support for running Linux containers on Windows and other platforms, complete with on-stage support from Microsoft. On Wednesday, Oracle took the stage alongside Docker to announce that several Oracle products will now run inside Docker containers.

And potential Docker customers will now have an easier path to migrating those sticky legacy apps that nobody wants to touch. The “Modernize Traditional Applications” program, unveiled Wednesday, claims that it “modernizes existing legacy applications without modifying source code or re-architecting the application,” according to a blog post written by Docker COO Scott Johnston, who we’ll see at the first GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit in June.

If you’re starting a new development project from scratch in 2017, you don’t need to be convinced that containers offer huge productivity and security improvements over traditional ways of making software.

For everybody else — which includes, well, almost everybody else — the prospect of re-architecting the whole operation, even if there are clear benefits, can be daunting. The number of companies running containers in production has certainly grown over the last few years, but it’s still relatively small, which is both a challenge and a huge opportunity for Docker.

There’s a reason that industry powers are scurrying to work with Docker. It didn’t invent container-based development, but it made it far easier to use and implement at a time when the explosion in public cloud computing capacity gave IT shops more speed and flexibility in software development. Just like the startups of the Web 2.0 era made Amazon Web Services’ public cloud a critical part of their technology strategy from Day 1, forward-thinking software development organizations are doing the same with Docker’s containers.

At some point, mainstream companies — and the legacy vendors that serve them — won’t be able to ignore Docker’s pull.

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