Category Archives: Linux containers

Mirantis, CoreOS deliver Kubernetes on OpenStack

Mirantis and CoreOS are partnering on Kubernetes integration with OpenStack

Mirantis and CoreOS are partnering on Kubernetes integration with OpenStack

Pure-play OpenStack vendor Mirantis has teamed with CoreOS to integrate its distribution of the open source cloud software with Tectonic, CoreOS’ commercial Kubernetes distribution.

Tectonic blends Kubernetes, an open source container deployment management service, and the CoreOS software portfolio in an integrated package, including a management console for workflows and dashboards, an integrated registry to build and share Linux containers, and additional tools to automate deployment and customize rolling updates. It runs on-premises or in public and private clouds.

The two companies said the move would improve support and manageability of containers running on OpenStack and bolster their mutual hybrid cloud capabilities.

“Mirantis and CoreOS share a vision of helping DevOps teams create better software faster. Putting Kubernetes on top of OpenStack gives them flexibility in how they build their applications, letting them innovate quickly,” said Mirantis chief marketing officer and co-founder Boris Renski.

“We are thrilled to be working with Google and CoreOS, and look forward to hearing more from them about how enterprises can leverage containers with OpenStack at OpenStack Silicon Valley.”

The move comes nearly half a year after Mirantis announced it would partner with Google to get vanilla Kubernetes integrated with its OpenStack distribution and double down on support for containers more broadly, efforts that have seemingly accelerated since Google announced the official 1.0 launch of Kubernetes last month.

“Now that Kubernetes is production-ready, companies using Tectonic and Mirantis OpenStack can have a Google-like infrastructure at their fingertips,” said Alex Polvi, chief executive of CoreOS. “Mirantis possesses a deep understanding of open source software and their commitment to the open source ecosystem around OpenStack is second to none. It was natural to work with Mirantis to help customers see the benefits of Kubernetes on OpenStack.”

HP to buy Stackato to boost hybrid cloud strategy

HP is buying Stackato to boost support for Linux containers

HP is buying Stackato to boost support for Linux containers

HP is to acquire ActiveState’s Stackato business for an undisclosed sum, which the company said would give a boost to its hybrid cloud strategy.

Like HP Helion Development Platform, Stackato’s platform as a service is built on Cloud Foundry and offers robust support for Docker, which is gaining the lion’s share of attention in the Linux container world. It offers deployments on a range of cloud infrastructure including AWS, VMware, OpenStack, HP Cloud and KVM.

HP said the move would strengthen its hybrid cloud strategy, which largely puts application catalogues, workload automation, Cloud Foundry and OpenStack front and centre.

“The Stackato PaaS solution strengthens the HP Helion portfolio and reinforces HP’s commitment to delivering customers open source solutions that help accelerate their transition to hybrid clouds,” said Bill Hilf, Senior Vice President, product and service management, HP Cloud. “The acquisition reinforces HP’s focus on driving Cloud Foundry as the open standard cloud native application platform.”

After the acquisition closes, which is expected to occur sometime in Q4 this year, HP will integrate Stackato into the Helion Development Platform.

The strong support for Linux containers will help HP build on its hybrid cloud strategy. Containers are useful in part because they are extremely portable and can run on pretty much any infrastructure, a useful feature when it comes to lifting and shifting workloads and application components in heterogeneous infrastructure environments. In an interview with BCN earlier this month Xavier Poisson, vice president of HP Helion in EMEA said Linux containers are increasingly at the core of cloud-native app development – so anything that can boost the company’s support of containers could make it more competitive.

Box, Docker, eBay, Google among newly formed Cloud Native Computing Foundation

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation is putting Linux containers at the core of its definition of 'cloud-native' apps

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation is putting Linux containers at the core of its definition of ‘cloud-native’ apps

The Linux Foundation along with a number of enterprises, cloud service providers , telcos and vendors have banded together to form the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in a bid to standardise and advance Linux containerisation for cloud.

The newly formed open source foundation, a Linux Foundation collaborative project, plans to create and drive adoption of common container technologies at the orchestration level, and integrate hosts and services by defining common APIs and standards.

The organisation also plans to assemble specifications to address a “comprehensive set of container application infrastructure needs.”

The members at launch include AT&T, Box, Cisco, Cloud Foundry Foundation, CoreOS, Cycle Computing, Docker, eBay, Goldman Sachs, Google, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Joyent, Kismatic, Mesosphere, Red Hat, Switch Supernap, Twitter, Univa, VMware and Weaveworks.

“The Cloud Native Computing Foundation will help facilitate collaboration among developers and operators on common technologies for deploying cloud native applications and services,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

“By bringing together the open source community’s very best talent and code in a neutral and collaborative forum, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation aims to advance the state-of-the-art of application development at Internet scale,” Zemlin said.

The central goal of the foundation will be to harmonise container standards and techniques. A big challenge with containers today is there are many, many ways to implement them, with a range of ‘open ecosystems’ and vendor-specific approaches, all creating one heterogeneous, messy pool of technologies that don’t always play well together.

That said, the foundation expects to build on other existing open source container initiatives including Docker’s recently announced Open Container Initiative (OCI), with which it will work on building its container image spec into the standards it develops. Google also announced that the foundation would henceforth govern development of Kubernetes, which reached v.1 this week, over to the foundation.

“Google is committed to advancing the state of computing, and to helping businesses everywhere benefit from the patterns that have proven so effective to us in operating at Internet scale,” said Craig McLuckie, product manager at Google. “We believe that this foundation will help harmonize the broader ecosystem, and are pleased to contribute Kubernetes, the open source cluster scheduler, to the foundation as a seed technology.”

Ben Golub, chief executive of Docker said while the OCI offers a solid foundation for container-based computing many standards and fine details have yet to be agreed.

“At the orchestration layer of the stack, there are many competing solutions and the standard has yet to be defined. Through our participation in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, we are pleased to be part of a collaborative effort that will establish interoperable reference stacks for container orchestration, enabling greater innovation and flexibility among developers. This is in line with the Docker Swarm integration with Mesos,” Golub said.

Docker startup Rancher Labs secures $10m for container-based IaaS software

Rancher is developing container-based IaaS software

Rancher is developing container-based IaaS software

Rancher Labs, a startup developing Linux container-based infrastructure-as-a-service software, has secured $10m in a series A round of funding, which it said would be used to bolster its engineering and development efforts.

Rancher Labs, which was started by CloudStack founder Sheng Liang and (which was acquired by Citrix in 2011) founder Shannon Williams, offers infrastructure services purpose-built for containers.It also developed a lightweight Linux OS called RacherOS. “We wanted to run Docker directly on top of the Linux Kernel, and have all user-space Linux services be distributed as Docker containers. By doing this, there would be no need to use a separate software package distribution mechanism for RancherOS itself,” the company explained.

The company said that as technologies like Docker become more popular in production mode so do other requirements around things like networking (i.e. load balancing), monitoring, storage management, and other infrastructure requirements needed to stand up a reliable cloud workload.

“Containers are quickly becoming the de-facto large-scale production platform for application deployment,” Liang said.

“Our goal is to provide organizations with the tools needed to take full advantage of container technology. By developing storage and networking software purpose-built for containers, we are providing organizations with the best possible experience for running Docker in production.”

The company’s goal is to develop all of the infrastructure services necessary to give enterprises confidence in deploying containers in production at scale, and it plans to use the funding to accelerate its development and engineering efforts.

Jishnu Bhattacharjee, managing director at Nexus Venture Partners, one of the company’s investors said: “Software containers have dramatically changed the way DevOps teams work, becoming an essential piece of today’s IT infrastructure. The team at Rancher Labs recognized the technology’s potential early on, along with the pain points associated with it.”

While the technologies and tools to support Linux containers are still young there seems to be growing volume around using them for production deployments; one of the things that makes them so attractive in the cloud world is their scalability, and the ability to drop them in almost any environment – whether bare metal or on a hypervisor.

Containers ready for the primetime, Rackspace CTO says

John Engates was in London for the Rackspace Solve conference

John Engates was in London for the Rackspace Solve conference

Linux containers have been around for some time but only now is the technology reaching a level of maturity enterprise cloud developers are comfortable with, explained John Engates, Rackspace’s chief technology officer.

Linux containers have been all the rage the past year, and Engates told BCN the volume of the discussion is only likely to increase as the technology matures. But the technology is still young.

“We tried to bring support for containers to OpenStack around three or four years back,” Engates said. “But I think that containers are finally ready for cloud.”

One of the projects Engates cited to illustrate this is Project Magnum, a young sub-project within OpenStack building on Heat to produce Nova instances on which to run application containers, and it basically creates native capabilities (like support for different scheduling techniques); it effectively enables users and service providers to offer containers-as-a-service, and improves portability of containers between different cloud platforms.

“While containers have been around for a while they’ve only recently become the darling of the enterprise cloud developers, and part of that is because there’s a growing ecosystem out there working to build the tools needed to support them,” he said.

A range of use cases around Linux containers have emerged over the years – as a transport method, as a way of quickly deploying and porting apps between different sets of infrastructure, as a way of standing up a cloud service that offers greater billing granularity (more accurate / efficient usage) – the technology is still maturing and has suffered from a lack of tooling. Doing anything like complex service chaining is still challenging with existing tools, but that’s improving.

Beyond LXC, one of the earliest Linux container projects, there’s now CoreOS, Docker, Mesos, Kubernetes, and a whole host of container-like technologies that bring the microservices / OS ‘light’ architecture as well as deployment scheduling and cluster management tools to market.

“We’re certainly hearing more about how we can help support containers, so we see it as a pretty important from a service perspective moving forward,” he added.

VMware open sources IAM, cloud OS tools

VMware is open sourcing cloud tools

VMware is open sourcing cloud tools

VMware has open sourced two sets of tools the company said would accelerate cloud adoption in the enterprise and improve their security posture.

The company announced Project Lightwave, which the company is pitching as the industry’s first container identity and access management tool for cloud-native applications, and Project Photon, a lightweight Linux operating system optimised for running these kinds of apps in vSphere and vCloud Air.

The move follows Pivotal’s recent launch of Lattic, a container cluster scheduler for Cloud Foundry that the software firm is pitching as a more modular way of building apps exposing CF components as standalone microservices (thus making apps built with Lattice easier to scale).

“Through these projects VMware will deliver on its promise of support for any application in the enterprise – including cloud-native applications – by extending our unified platform with Project Lightwave and Project Photon,” said Kit Colbert, vice president and chief technology officer for Cloud-Native Applications, VMware.

“Used together, these new open source projects will provide enterprises with the best of both worlds. Developers benefit from the portability and speed of containerized applications, while IT operations teams can maintain the security and performance required in today’s business environment,” Colbert said.

Earlier this year VMware went on the container offensive, announcing an updated vSphere platform that would enable users to run Linux containers side by side with traditional VMs as well as its own distribution of OpenStack.

The latest announcement – particularly Lattice – is part of a broader industry trend that sees big virtualisation incumbents embrace a more modular, cloud-friendly architecture (which many view as synonymous with containers) in their offerings. This week one of VMware’s chief rivals in this area, Microsoft, announced its own container-like architecture for Azure following a series of moves to improve support for Docker on its on-premise and cloud platforms.

Microsoft debuts container-like architecture for cloud

Microsoft is trying to push more cloud-friendly architectures

Microsoft is trying to push more cloud-friendly architectures

Microsoft has announced Azure Service Fabric, a framework for ISVs and startups developing highly scalable cloud applications which combines a range of microservices, orchestration, automation and monitoring tools. The move comes as the software company looks to deepen its use of – and ties to – open source tech.

Azure Service Fabric, which is based in part on technology included in Azure App Fabric, breaks apart apps into a wide range of small, independently versioned microservices, so that apps created on the platform don’t need to be re-coded in order to scale past a certain point. The result, the company said, is the ability to develop highly scalable applications while enabling low-level automation and orchestration of its constituent services.

“Service Fabric was born from our years of experience delivering mission-critical cloud services and has been in production for more than five years. It provides the foundational technology upon which we run our Azure core infrastructure and also powers services like Skype for Business, InTune, Event Hubs, DocumentDB, Azure SQL Database (across more than 1.4 million customer databases) and Bing Cortana – which can scale to process more than 500 million evaluations per second,” explained Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Microsoft Azure.

“This experience has enabled us to design a platform that intrinsically understands the available infrastructure resources and needs of applications, enabling automatically updating, self-healing behaviour that is essential to delivering highly available and durable services at hyper-scale.”

A preview of the service will be released to developers at the company’s Build conference next week.

The move is part of a broader architectural shift in the software stack powering cloud services today. It’s clear the traditional OS / hypervisor model is limited in terms of its ability to ensure services are scalable and resilient for high I/O applications, which has manifested in among other things a shift towards breaking down applications into a series of connected microservices – something which many equate Docker and OpenStack with, among other open source software projects.

Speaking of open source, the move comes just days after Microsoft announced MS Open Tech, the standalone open source subsidiary of Microsoft, will re-join the company, in a move the company hopes will drive further engagement with open source communities.

“The goal of the organization was to accelerate Microsoft’s open collaboration with the industry by delivering critical interoperable technologies in partnership with open source and open standards communities. Today, MS Open Tech has reached its key goals, and open source technologies and engineering practices are rapidly becoming mainstream across Microsoft. It’s now time for MS Open Tech to rejoin Microsoft Corp, and help the company take its next steps in deepening its engagement with open source and open standards,” explained Jean Paoli, president of Microsoft Open Technologies

“As MS Open Tech rejoins Microsoft, team members will play a broader role in the open advocacy mission with teams across the company, including the creation of the Microsoft Open Technology Programs Office. The Programs Office will scale the learnings and practices in working with open source and open standards that have been developed in MS Open Tech across the whole company.”