Snappy Ubuntu for Docker Containers Comes to Google’s Cloud
Canonical booth at the 2014 OpenStack summit in Paris (Photo: Yevgeniy Sverdlik)

Snappy Ubuntu for Docker Containers Comes to Google’s Cloud

Canonical’s lightweight Linux distro for cloud now available on Azure and Google Compute Engine

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions, has made snappy Ubuntu Core, a version of the operating system designed for cloud infrastructure and optimized for running Docker containers, available on Google’s cloud.

Canonical first announced snappy Ubuntu Core earlier this month and made it available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Now, developers can use the lightweight OS as an option on Google Compute Engine, the giant’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering.

Docker is a San Francisco company built around technology developed by the eponymous open source project. At the heart of Docker is an application container, which is basically a standard for an application to communicate its infrastructure requirements. Containers make applications easily portable across different kinds of infrastructure, from a developer’s laptop to a virtual machine in a data center or any public cloud.

Docker the company designs and sells enterprise-hardened tools for deploying applications that consist of multiple Docker containers and across clusters of servers.

Earlier this month Alex Polvi, CEO and co-founder of CoreOS, which also provides a lightweight Linux distribution for cluster deployments, and which has been a major Docker supporter, questioned Docker’s pursuit of an orchestration-tool business and said its technology had some serious security flaws. CoreOS has proposed its own container standard, which Polvi said addressed problems in Docker.

Canonical’s snappy Ubuntu Core competes with CoreOS. It is also a lightweight version of Linux and, like CoreOS, it is designed to make updates fast and easy.

“This is the smallest, safest platform for Docker deployment ever, and with snappy packages, it’s completely extensible to all forms of container or service,” Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical founder, said in a statement.

The OS is now available on Google Compute Engine, which Canonical said was the “fastest cloud in the industry.”

Google itself was a pioneer of application containers, which have played a big role in the company’s cloud architecture. Google is a major supporter of Docker and has its own open source orchestration technology for Docker containers called Kubernetes.

Google, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure also provide commercial container orchestration services on their public clouds.

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