Docker Captain Take 5 – Lee Calcote

Docker Captains are select members of the community that are both experts in their field and are passionate about sharing their Docker knowledge with others. “Docker Captains Take 5” is a regular blog series where we get a closer look at our Captains and ask them the same broad set of questions ranging from what their best Docker tip is to whether they prefer cats or dogs (personally, we like whales and turtles over here). Today, we’re interviewing Lee Calcote who has been a Docker Captain since March 2017. Based in Austin, TX, he is the Founder of Layer5.

Lee calcote headshot

How/when did you first discover Docker?

While managing engineering teams at Cisco, I was delivering Cisco’s cloud management platform in 2014 when I was bitten by the Docker bug. I was up to my neck in IaaS and beastly-sized VMs. Our ability to deliver innovative solutions was largely constrained by the static nature of vertically-scaled application design and deployment. At the start of Docker’s popularization of containerization, I knew the way software sausage factory works would never be the same, so I created the [email protected] community

Since then, I’ve taken Docker with me wherever I go.

What is your favorite Docker command?

By far, my favorite command is docker extension install meshery/docker-extension-meshery, which installs the Docker Extension for Meshery. This command puts the power of any service mesh onto the desktops of modern software developers and operators in need of local development environments and the ability to manage remote Kubernetes and service mesh workloads.

What is your top tip for working with Docker that others may not know?

Docker’s set of GitHub Actions are phenomenal. Each of them are highly configurable, well-documented, and powerful. These can be used independently or combined into the same workflow. Their use has consolidated disparate workflows into a singular flow to facilitate two release channels (edge and stable) and new ARM64-based images for Meshery. Often, changes to GitHub workflows can’t be tested unless they are executed within GitHub’s hosted runners. Use of Docker’s GitHub Actions helps bridge the tooling gap when trying to execute GitHub Actions locally. 

What’s the coolest Docker demo you have done/seen?

I particularly enjoyed delivering a DockerCon talk on the power of Meshery and Docker Desktop to configure and manage WebAssembly-based Envoy filters to rate limit pull requests of a Docker Hub fake: Image Hub. Expanding on this example, the possibilities of what can be accomplished by intelligent infrastructure are most intriguing.

What have you worked on in the past six months that you’re particularly proud of?

Along with a number of others, I have poured a fair bit of time these past months into Layer5 MeshMap – the world’s only visual designer for Kubernetes, service mesh, and their workloads. With service mesh patterns close at-hand, MeshMap takes a low code, GitOps-centric approach for engineers to design, deploy, and manage Kubernetes-based workloads running on or off of a service mesh.

What do you anticipate will be Docker’s biggest announcement this year?

Outside of Docker’s Series C funding? Gosh, I can only hope this year might be the year of Linux on the (Docker) Desktop.

What are some personal goals for the next year with respect to the Docker community ?

Whether in-person or virtually, I’d like to see Docker Austin meeting regularly. I would also like to see the Meshery version of Play with Docker running at Each of these venues provides an opportunity to learn and share with your fellow community members. There is sooo much technology for people in the community to explore and digest. It all starts with the Docker community.

What talk would you most love to see at DockerCon 2022?

You can never go wrong with the Black Belt track. It’s perpetually packed with brain-tickling talks.

Looking to the distant future, what is the technology that you’re most excited about and that you think holds a lot of promise?

Service mesh, WebAssembly, eBPF all have some great things going for them. There is much power in the network, much that can be accomplished in-between requests.

Rapid fire questions…

What new skill have you mastered during the pandemic?

The fine art of being encouragingly critical of others’ works. As a maintainer of three CNCF projects, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to strike the right balance.

Cats or Dogs?

Skunks. While they smell anything, but sweet, they are the mildest, sweetest little critters. 🦨

My wife is a wildlife rehabilitator. Each Spring, our cats and dogs inevitably get pushed to the side as we try to caretake over an innumerable amount of newborn and traumatized, wild animals.

Lee calcote racoon

Salty, sour or sweet?

Salty, please, with barbeque sauce on the side. 

Beach or mountains?

I could certainly go for the beach. 🏝

Your most often used emoji?

I have favored this one as of late: 🤠


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