UPDATED 00:11 EDT / SEPTEMBER 23 2016

NEWS

Red Hat ships out OpenShift container platform, pushes new Docker initiative

Red Hat Inc. appears to be shaking up the Docker ecosystem with the launch of its OpenShift Container Platform 3.3 along with a new project called the Open Container Initiative Daemon (OCID) that aims to optimize production deployments of containers.

OpenShift Container Platform 3.3 is Red Hat’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering, formerly known as OpenShift Enterprise. The project underwent a major evolution in version 3, with Red Hat making it a container-based system built on top of Kubernetes.

The latest version is based on Kubernetes 1.3, which was released last July, and integrates Docker Engine 1.10 instead of the latest 1.12 release, as that’s not currently supported by Kubernetes.

Some of the new features in OpenShift Container Platform 3.3 include the Jenkins Pipeline, which provides for improved continuous development and A/B testing automation; the ability to deploy at “cloud scale,” with support for up to 1,000 nodes per computing cluster, thereby enabling larger scale deployments to support newer applications and existing legacy applications in hybrid cloud setups; and enhanced security via integration with Security Enhance Linux (SELinux) for multi-tenant security and to OpenShift’s integrated container registry.

Did Red Hat just fork Docker?

The improvements are welcome, but the bigger news is Red Hat’s announcement that it’s leading the OCID effort that has set itself the goal of building an optimized container engine for Kubernetes.

“The OCID project is aimed at exploring new innovations in container runtime, image distribution, storage, signing and more, with an emphasis on driving container standards through the Open Container Initiative (OCI),” Dan Walsh, consulting engineer at Red Hat, said in an interview with eWEEK.

The OCI was established in June of 2015, aiming to define container standards such as the runC container runtime standard.

However, InfoWorld points out that the OCID project is actually a fork of the original Docker Engine project in all but name, mainly due to Red Hat finding itself at odds with Docker’s development path.

InfoWorld says that development of the OCID’s storage component was “hobbled” because Docker was moving so fast that it became too difficult to build off of it. In addition, when Red Hat proposed remote examination of a container as a standard add-on, the wider Docker community showed little interest in the idea.

That’s a problem for Red Hat because it’s targeting a different audience to Docker, InfoWorld says. In contrast to Docker, which aims to please enterprise developers rather than enterprises themselves, Red Hat wants to cater to organizations that run applications at scale using a wide range of tools – such as its container-centric Linux Stack, OpenShift and Kubernetes – and the size of the stack means it can’t be based off of such a fast moving project as Docker Engine.

Still, Red Hat is doing its best to keep the peace. In a statement, the company merely said it’s hoping to “drive broad collaboration” by contributing its tools to the open-source community.

Elaborating on that statement, Red Hat’s Walsh told eWEEK that OCID is not trying to replace Docker Engine. Instead, Red Hat is just trying to evolve the capabilities of containers so they can be used in all kinds of environments, be it development, testing, or production.

“Red Hat is a leader in both contributions to Docker and OCI and is committed to driving both innovation and standards in the containers space,” Walsh insisted.

Image credit: Kliemphoto via pixabay

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