IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Others Collaborate on Google Kubernetes Docker Containers

A group of IT industry competitors that includes IBM, Microsoft, and Red Hat, has announced plans to jointly support Google's open source manager for Docker containers, known as Kubernetes. Mesosphere, CoreOS, SaltStack, and Docker Inc., the chief commercial supporter of the container engine project, are also joining the Kubernetes community, Google says, and will actively contribute to the project.

"Our shared goal is to allow a broad range of developers to take advantage of container technologies," Google SVP Urs Holzle declared on his company's cloud blog today. "Kubernetes was built from the ground up as a lean, extensible and portable framework for managing Docker workloads. It lets customers manage their applications the way that Google manages hyper-scale applications like Search and Gmail." is an open source project focused on creating a means of building, managing, and deploying applications as lightweight, portable, self-sufficient software containers. The project has attracted more than 450 contributors and generated more than a million downloads, the company says. More than 14,000 "dockerized" applications in are currently listed on the Docker public Registry, and about 7,000 projects now on GitHub have "Docker" in their titles.

 Google's Kubernetes is an open source container manager for Docker app packaging. (Kubernetes is Greek for helmsman or pilot; it's pronounced koo-ber-nay'-tace.) It's designed to make it easier to manage, monitor and control containerized application deployments across a large cluster of container hosts. Docker is fast emerging as a standard for app packaging in containerized environments, and Google claims Kubernetes brings its "vast knowledge of running containers at scale" in the company's own datacenters to the process.

 Red Hat was an early supporter of the Docker project. In April of this year, the company announced collaboration with Docker, Inc. to extend support for Docker in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Over the past year, Docker-style container-based virtualization, or "containerization," has become a must-have capability, said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. Docker's collaboration with Red Hat, announced in April, marked an important milestone, he said, demonstrating that containerization has become suitable for many production environments. "Organizations looking to simplify application deployment and improve operational efficiency and infrastructure utilization should consider standardized containerization approaches such as Docker," he said.

Google says that Microsoft will be contributing code to the project that will make it easier for customers to manage containers that run anywhere -- which helps developers building multi-cloud solutions targeting Microsoft Azure. IBM will be contributing code to Kubernetes, as well as to the broader Docker ecosystem "to ensure that containers are enterprise-grade, and is working with the community to create an open governance model around the project, Google said. Docker plans to deliver the full container stack that Kubernetes schedules into, and "is looking to move critical capabilities upstream and align the Kubernetes framework with Libswarm" (a toolkit for composing network services).

Kubernetes is initially available on Google Cloud Platform, orchestrating Docker containers running on virtual machines powered by KVM. Docker, Inc. announced the its first milestone release, Docker 1.0, in June of this year, along with the Docker Hub, a new program of enterprise support designed to turn the popular packing tool into a full-fledged open platform for building, shipping, and running distributed applications.


About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].