CoreOS Proposes Alternative Container Architecture

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    How the Data Center Will Grow Up in Three Years

    Just when everyone thought the IT industry was going forward into the world of Docker containers, one of the early backers is now outlining an alternative.

    While being careful to reiterate that there is still a place for Docker containers, CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi says it’s clear that Docker is evolving into a platform. That’s a good thing for organizations that need to deploy a new platform, but many other organizations have already invested in their own management frameworks. These organizations just want access to a lightweight container without all the attached Docker-platform overhead, says Polvi.

    To solve that particular issue, CoreOS, a provider of a Linux distribution optimized for containers, announced this week that it is developing Rocket, an alternative container that not only plugs into existing platforms more easily, but Polvi says is also more secure.

    Polvi says that one of the challenges with Docker containers is that when they run on physical servers, they expose the entire machine to that container. To counter that issue, many organizations run Docker containers in isolation on top of a virtual machine. But Polvi says that doing so often defeats the purpose of having containers as a lightweight alternative to virtual machines.

    Whether two container architectures can thrive in today’s world remains to be seen. However, providers of virtual machines are also working on lighter-weight versions of those platforms as well. The end result will clearly be a number of options that will serve to make the deployment of application workloads more efficient. But because no good deed goes unpunished in the land of IT, the specter of container and virtual machine sprawl inside the enterprise will raise its ugly head once again.

    In the meantime, organizations might now want to pause before putting any of these technologies into production environments. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from aggressively experimenting with them in application development environments to get a better feel now for how these technologies will alter the data center landscape of tomorrow.

    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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