Cloud // Software as a Service
News
4/16/2014
12:50 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Red Hat Touts Linux Containers For Cloud

Red Hat teams with Docker, urges developers to consider Linux-based containers as a lightweight alternative to virtual machine files for moving workloads to the cloud.

Red Hat announced on Tuesday a new version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) called RHEL Atomic Host, and that it will sponsor an Atomic open-source code project. Atomic hosts will recognize and support the container format that's used by Red Hat and derived from the Docker open-source code project.

Red Hat is also launching the GearD open-source project, which will arrange containerized resources so that more than one can be used by a single application. In some cases containers will be nested so that they fire off services for an application as needed, Cormier explained.

Red Hat's announcements took place soon after IBM, a premier sponsor of the Red Hat Summit, announced that it is making VMware spinoff Pivotal's Cloud Foundry its primary PaaS for developers. IBM also plans to fund a Cloud Foundry Foundation to broaden Cloud Foundry governance and financing for Cloud Foundry developers. Rackspace quickly followed IBM's lead, becoming a foundation contributor and member.

In February, just four months after Rackspace announced Project Solum as part of the OpenStack project, Pivotal announced the foundation and its new supporters. Solum was widely regarded inside OpenStack as a stalking horse for Red Hat's OpenShift platform, and Red Hat signed onto Solum with a team of developers within 24 hours of its announcement. The Cloud Foundry Foundation is a signal that Rackspace and IBM support for Solum could shift to another project.

Asked about the politics of Linux containers, however, Cormier wasn't having it. Containers are a choice for Linux developers, he said, along with bare metal hosts and VMware virtualized servers -- all fair game as future sources of cloud workloads. "It's not political. It's practical.

"How thin or how robust the operating system is [with the application in the container] is actually an element of choice for the customer," he stated. But Cormier and many other observers know that, given a choice between thin or robust when moving files over the network, Linux and web application developers overwhelmingly prefer thin.

When it comes to managing data, don't look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems. Read our The Agile Archive report today. (Free registration required.)

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek, having joined the publication in 2003. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse ... View Full Bio

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Stratustician
50%
50%
Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
4/18/2014 | 11:32:11 AM
Re: Containers next big thing?
I agree, it's not the perfect solution for everyone, but the beauty of this model aside from rapid deployment, is that if developers can make the applications fully contained, the usability for more novice cloud folks will be a lot more attractive than trying to code or implement something that requires more moving pieces before it can be functional.  If indeed Linux containers are able to standardize and make it easy for adoption of the applications, we could see a great influx of organizations leveraging cloud technology than we would have seen with other methods of development.
Andrew Binstock
50%
50%
Andrew Binstock,
User Rank: Author
4/17/2014 | 4:04:38 PM
Re: Containers next big thing?
That's right. Dockers are a subset of true VMs. This makes them attractive for quick deploy esp. for developers with straightforward cloud apps, but they're not suitable for all VM use cases.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
4/17/2014 | 1:43:34 PM
Re: Containers next big thing?
Gregory396, Containers as Red Hat is using the term are specific to Unix systems and in its case, of course, Linux. I'm not sure what Citrix is doing in a similar vein with XenApp. I'd be cautious about saying hypervisor suppliers are dependent on hardware vendors for access to the cloud. Both AMD and Intel make it easier for hypervisors to get hardware services they need through virtualization hooks and shortcuts built into the chip. But hypervisor workloads re not literally dependent on hardware manufacturers to move into the cloud. Maybe that's not what you meant.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
4/17/2014 | 1:34:31 PM
RE: Is this really new?
CumuloNimbus, I guess the short answer is, yes, there's a lot new here. I don't blame you for a little skepticism and containers are an old idea. But Red Hat, in connection with Docker, is implementing them in a way that's useful for moving cloud workloads efficiently. See IDC analyst Al Hilwa's comments at the end of this column: Red Hat Linux Containers; Not Just Recycled Ideas

http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/platform-as-a-service/red-hat-linux-containers-not-just-recycled-ideas/d/d-id/1204530?piddl_msgid=210201&piddl_msgposted=yes#msg_210201 

 
GregoryS396
50%
50%
GregoryS396,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2014 | 10:00:50 PM
Re: Containers next big thing?
Seems to me this is the same approach that Citrix uses with Xen App, but refined further.  Similarly Xenapp Compartmentalizes a running application that users connect to via any thin client or thin client application.  Ultimately Red Hat like all the other Hypervisors relies on the hardware vendors for cloud access.  With that said I would be curious to see what types of replication this supports, or if this would as I believe the article implies still rely on vmware for the hypervisor.
cumulonimbus
50%
50%
cumulonimbus,
User Rank: Strategist
4/16/2014 | 3:16:56 PM
Is this really new?
At first impression this seems like a rehash of an old idea. I would have to ask how this is relevant moving forward if there is a law similar Moore's Law which applies to bandwidth and storage? If you are dealing with a small volume of data which you need to migrate, then the o/s size is significant, otherwise why would you care, and is not the former case trivial anyway? You could always just migrate the data.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
4/16/2014 | 2:18:01 PM
Why are containers described as "lightweight?"
The application in the container gets part of its operating system services from "user mode" libraries included in the container and part from the Linux kernel on the host server. The parameters in the container insure that the host kernel is a compatible one. Thus, the application doesn't need to carry the whole operating system with it as its transported into the cloud. And in theory, more containers can run on a host than virtual machines, due to this lighter weight of this configuration.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
4/16/2014 | 1:16:09 PM
Containers next big thing?
Red Hat President Paul Cormier Tues. pooh poohed notion that containers were competition for VMware. Next morning, Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens in Summit keynote calls Linux containers "the next phase of virtualization." That's not quite true. In some cases, containers could replace virtual machines for higher density operation on cloud hosts. They provide isolation similar to virtualization. But they don't pool and manage resources in the data center like virtualization.
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
ITSM as we know it is dead. SaaS helped kill it, and CIOs should be thankful. Hereís what comes next.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.