Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Wednesday, January 29, 2020
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Google-Like IT Push Gets Google Backing 

The scrappy startup CoreOs appears to be the application container platform of choice for delivering Google-like cloud infrastructure to enterprises.

San Francisco-based CoreOS, developer of an application container platform based on Google's Kubernetes container cluster manager and its own Linux stack, announced a $28 million funding round on Monday (May 9) led by GV, formerly Google Ventures. Existing investors Accel Partners, Fuel Capital, Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers and Y Combinator Continuity Fund also kicked in.

The nearly three-year-old startup has so far raised $48 million to roll out its Kubernetes-based Tectonic technology stack for deploying and managing applications containers.

Along with its "Google's Infrastructure For Everyone Else," or GIFEE, push inaugurated at last month's OpenStack Summit, CoreOS said the cash infusion would be used to expand its U.S. and European operations, including an office in Berlin.

Google sees the CoreOS Tectonic platform as packaging its Kubernetes approach for enterprises. A recent OpenStack user survey revealed that Kubernetes is currently the leading container and platform-as-a-service for managing OpenStack applications, ahead of CloudFoundry, OpenShift and Apache Mesos (in that order).

Google maintains that container-based infrastructure is "inevitable" as enterprises scale their IT operations to the level of big operators like the search giant. One goal of the GIFEE movement is to shift developers' focus from worrying about underlying IT infrastructure so they can focus on getting better enterprise application out the door faster. Those applications could run across public and private cloud in Google-scale enterprise datacenters, proponents assert.

Along with ramping development of Tectonic as the enterprise distribution of Kubernetes for managing container clusters, CoreOS said the funding would be used to continue development of its Quay container registry. Container registries are used to secure and store private container images. It also is promoting a container engine alternative to Docker called rkt. These and other components "are a part of delivering GIFEE to enterprises," CoreOS noted in a statement announcing the funding round.

GIFFE is defined as a hyper-scale, application-focused style of managing infrastructure that targets distributed systems along with security and 24/7 availability. Another component of the GIFEE push emerged last month when CoreOS cofounder Alex Polvi demonstrated a new tool for deploying OpenStack via application containers called Stackanetes.

The demonstration included the creation of a new hypervisor in a cluster and the booting a virtual machine on a cluster. Polvi also demonstrated "self-healing" capabilities that included deleting and rescheduling OpenStack components.

CoreOS also is collaborating with Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), Project Calico and others to extend Google-like infrastructure to enterprises. Project Calico is addressing datacenter scaling via a "pure Layer 3 approach to virtual networking."

The upshot from all this activity is that competing approaches to moving container infrastructure into datacenters continue to build momentum as developers like Polvi of CoreOS push the envelop and compete against container leader Docker. Asked recently how old he is, the youthful Polvi replied, "Old enough."

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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