News & Insights for the AI Journey|Monday, August 19, 2019
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Rackspace Jumps on Container Bandwagon with Carina 

Rackspace used this week's OpenStack Summit in Tokyo to jump on the application container bandwagon with a native container environment.

Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) said its Carina container environment combines bare-metal performance with native container tooling and orchestration to help create and deploy clusters in the cloud for application containers. Carina also uses Docker Engine native container tooling and Docker Swarm for orchestration.

The managed cloud provider promotes Carina as "instant-on" and a "zero infrastructure" container environment in which Rackspace manages application infrastructure and the Docker environment. Anything that eases container deployment is likely to appeal to users who have so far struggled to move container technology to production environments.

Rackspace claimed its approach means "customers no longer need to spend time on building, managing and updating their container environment."

The cloud vendor also is counting on the growing popularity of container technology that consumes a fraction of the computing resources of most virtual machines while improving application portability across development, test and production environments. It is the last step that is generating more native Docker tools aimed at moving container-based applications from test to production.

For managed cloud service providers like Rackspace, San Antonio, Texas, the ability to scale applications via container technology in general and Docker containers specifically is a selling point since it boosts "application density" in the cloud. It also helps deliver enterprise application in near-real time.

Scott Crenshaw, senior vice president for strategy and product at Rackspace, also emphasized that Carina extends the company's plan to support OpenStack deployments in enterprise clouds. Along with native container interfaces, Carina "leverag[es] the infrastructure capabilities of OpenStack," Crenshaw added in a statement.

Carina uses the native Docker API and tooling, making it easier to move applications from development to test to production environments while reducing errors and accelerating application delivery. Based on Rackspace's approach, containers would sit on top of the server, thereby eliminating hypervisor overhead. That configuration is intended to improve application performance.

Interfaces like the Docker Swarn orchestration tool can be used to create a managed cluster for running containers in the cloud, Rackspace added. Images also can be pulled into a cluster straight from Docker Hub, the cloud-based registry service, added Nick Stinemates, vice president of business development at San Francisco-based Docker Inc.

Carina offers "applications access to bare metal hardware performance in increments that cost less than using virtual machines," Rackspace Architect Adrian Otto noted in a blog post. Addressing ongoing security issues related to container deployment, Otto added that the beta version of Carina offers "bare metal containers isolated by additional security techniques in the server operating system to help keep them safe from each other."

The Carina container tool is available now as a free beta offering on the Rackspace Public Cloud for its U.S. customers.

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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