Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Friday, August 12, 2022

Google-Led Effort Targets Container Orchestration 

The Linux Foundation said this week it is launching a new container orchestration initiative aimed at advancing the development of native cloud applications and services.

The consortium of companies led by Google has formed the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to help application developers leverage open-source technologies like containers. The effort targets "dynamically scheduled" cloud native applications and services packaged in containers that are geared toward emerging micro-services.

"The Cloud Native Computing Foundation aims to advance the state-of-the-art of application development at Internet scale," noted Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.

For its part, Google said it would contribute its Kubernetes container-management framework to the foundation as a "seed technology." CNCF "will help harmonize the broader ecosystem," Craig McLuckie, Google's product manager.

Kubernetes will be synched with the broader Mesos open-source cluster controller and the Mesosphere datacenter operating system (DCOS) designed to manage cloud and datacenter resources at Internet scale.

Founding members of the CNCF include AT&T, Box, Cisco Systems, Cloud Foundry Foundation, CoreOS, Cycle Computing, Docker, eBay, Goldman Sachs, Google, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Joyent, Kismatic, Mesosphere, Red Hat, Switch SUPERNAP, Twitter, Univa, VMware and Weaveworks.

As container technology slowly emerges from DevOps to production environments, the foundation will seek to drive adoption of common container technologies while scaling micro-services. Members also said the foundation would serve as "force multiplier" for the Open Container Project established in June to forge application container standards. It will specifically focus on standard packaging and runtime environments for application containers. The Linux Foundation is also overseeing the OCP.

CNCF will initially focus on the container orchestration level. It will then tackle the integration of host and services by defining APIs and standards for a "container-packaged application infrastructure," the Linux Foundation said. Ultimately, it will seek to ease the development and deployment by "driving alignment among technologies and platforms."

Compared with OCP, "The CNCF has the arguably more-ambitious goal of standardizing how all those containers are orchestrated to function as a working, distributed, service-oriented system," Mesosphere's Derrick Harris noted in a blog post.

Proponents of the cloud-native initiative argue that container standards efforts along with the alignment of technologies and platform will transform datacenters and cloud platforms packed with physical and virtual machines into elastic computing resources. "Containerized microservice-based applications managed by Kubernetes will be a big part of that future," Harris predicted.

Along with technology contributions from Google and Mesosphere, Cisco, CoreOS, IBM, Joyent and VMware are also chipping in technologies as members seek harmonize disparate technologies.

Members of the new foundation's technical oversight committee include: Eric Brewer, Google's vice president of infrastructure; Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill; and Benjamin Hindman, chief architecture at Mesosphere and one of the creators of Apache Mesos.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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