Red Hat Containers OS-Centric: No Accident

Red Hat's critics say containers are the wrong idea, and too focused on the operating system. I say maybe Red Hat knows a thing or two about pleasing developers.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

April 22, 2014

2 Min Read

Red Hat's. In the last year, Docker has been downloaded 1.2 million times, not all of them by Red Hat developers... You get the picture. Docker is being adopted by independent software developers on Github as a way to share files and move development projects around.

It provides a way to assemble a project in the right sequence of files. It captures and maintains images of the files that make up a software stack, giving a user the option of pulling out one of the files for his or her purpose, then inserting the modified file.

A developer working with a Docker container "can use it as is, or swap out a layer and customize it further," said Stevens. It's also possible for a developer to take an existing stack and "add [his or her] own refinement layer on top," making an existing developer stack something more useful in an end-user application.

Developers will ultimately find such workload packaging useful and attractive. It won't fit some workloads that remain part of a larger virtual machine hierarchy. But it seems to me that many legacy systems and some future applications might best be containerized for the benefits that containers bring. The systems will run more efficiently on a multi-tenant host. No hypervisor is needed. The container provides the isolation. Operating system responsibilities are shared between the host kernel and container libraries.

Stevens showed a short video of Solomon Hykes, founder of the Docker project, during his keynote. In it, Hykes said, "It's such a simple, fundamental component. It feels like the community discovered this Lego brick... The variety of things you can build with Docker is mind-blowing, even to us."

Possibly Red Hat knows a thing or two about Linux developers. Or maybe it's just following where developers lead. Either way, containers have a future, and probably so does Red Hat in the cloud.

Can the trendy tech strategy of DevOps really bring peace between developers and IT operations -- and deliver faster, more reliable app creation and delivery? Also in the DevOps Challenge issue of InformationWeek: Execs charting digital business strategies can't afford to take Internet connectivity for granted.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. 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 University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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