Joyent
Joyent conference schwag with CTO Bryan Cantrill’s name tag on display at the 2011 Node Knockout hackathon. (Source: Joyent’s Facebook profile)

Joyent Wants to Provide Bare-Metal Cloud for Docker Containers

Company engineers working to enable users to run Docker images directly on its hardware at scale.

Cloud infrastructure service provider Joyent is getting behind Docker containers in a big way.

The San Francisco-based company is working to give users the ability to run Docker container images directly on the hardware in its data centers. Joyent uses application containers of its own to deliver its Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering but now wants the industry to standardize on Docker.

Although it has been around for less than two years, Docker has enjoyed widespread support from developers and many heavyweight IT vendors and service providers, such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Red Hat. Led by the eponymous San Francisco-based company, the open source technology makes it possible to deploy an application quickly on any type of infrastructure, be it a laptop, a bare-metal server, a VM, or a cloud.

Joyent’s operating system SmartOS uses a concept similar to Docker, but the company has not advertised that fact until recently, when it saw all the hype about application containers Docker has created.

Late last month, Joyent raised a $15 million funding round and said it would work to make Docker containers part of its service portfolio, but the details of that integration were scant. Last week, however, Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill wrote a blog post fleshing out the company’s strategy around Docker, indicating a lot of support.

“We see the great promise of Docker, and we look forward to working with the community to develop (and upstream!) the abstractions that will make Docker the de facto standard for application containers for developers,” he wrote.

Joyent has what Cantrill described as a “nascent Docker API endpoint” for its SmartDataCenter orchestration software. The company’s engineers are working to combine that API with an ability to execute Linux binaries on SmartOS natively and enable users to run Docker images directly on its hardware. That effort is still “primordial,” Cantrill wrote.

Earlier this month, Joyent open sourced SmartDataCenter and Manta, its object storage platform. SDC is the container-based orchestration software the company credits with high performance of its cloud since it circumvents a server virtualization layer that is usually present in typical cloud infrastructure stacks.

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