Google Leads Coalition For Container Management

IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Docker unite behind Google's Kubernetes as a container management system.

virtual machines and containers. In the virtual machine, the two remain tightly coupled together.

Also included in the group of Kubernetes backers are CoreOS, a company based on a lightweight version of Linux designed for running containers; Mesophere, a company formed around the Apache open-source project Mesos, used to pool servers, virtual machines, and cloud software into a single resource; and SaltStack, a company using Salt open-source code for building a large-scale configuration and server management system.

Google announced at the first DockerCon developer conference June 10 that it would make Kubernetes open-source code. It's since established the code on Github for free download, and a group of 36 contributors has formed around the project. It repeated its pledge to maintain Kubernetes as open-source at its own developer conference, Google I/O, on June 25.

McLuckie said Wednesday that Google would like to see a standardized way of managing containers follow on the heels of Docker's successful standardization of formatting container workloads. Doing so will make the migration and management of workloads in the cloud, including Google's App Engine and Compute Engine, easier.

Google has extensive experience in managing Linux containers. Two of its engineers, Rohit Seth and Paul Menage, are credited with coming up with the Linux control groups (cgroups) that were a necessary step prior to the formation of Linux containers. Google runs its internal search, Gmail, and Google Apps operations in containers, launching 2 billion each week.

"At Google, we're no strangers to containers." Google can use them for its internal operations because it runs multiple, homogenous datacenters with software that it's built. For App Engine and Compute Engine, however, workloads are coming in from the outside, and each container host will be running as a virtual machine, capable of hosting several containerized workloads from the same customer.

"We didn't see anyone bringing Google-style management to the community." Google-style management might also favor Google-style cloud operations, such as App Engine and Compute Engine.

McLuckie says Google will seek to broaden management of the Kubernetes project rather than leaving control in Google's hands. For starters, Google plans to name a Red Hat contributor to Kubernetes as a project committer, a position of authority over the code submitted by other developers. Currently, McLuckie pointed out, all committers are Google developers.

In a Google blog post Thursday, Red Hat's Paul Cormier, president of products and technologies, said: "Through this collaboration with Google on Kubernetes, we are contributing to the evolution of cloud computing and helping deliver the promises that container technologies offer to the open hybrid cloud."

Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, executive VP of the Cloud and Enterprise Group, also quoted in the blog, said: "Microsoft will help contribute code to Kubernetes to enable customers to easily manage containers that can run anywhere." Guthrie made it clear he expects Microsoft's Azure to be running containers, as well as more Linux-oriented cloud services.

The combination of backers behind Kubernetes is an indication of how containers are likely to usher in a more sophisticated way of doing things through a cloud service or other form of remote datacenter. The IT manager or other workload owner will have more options for moving things around with containers, with fewer prerequisites to meet: No hypervisor needs to be lined up in advance, and no translation of the workload from its native VM state to the cloud's preferred VM need take place.

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