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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.

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