VMware on Monday rolled out native vSphere and vCloud Air support for CoreOS, the Linux distribution built specifically for web-scale data center infrastructure and application containers.
vSphere is VMware’s flagship suite of software tools for building cloud infrastructure based on the company’s server virtualization technology, and vCloud Air is the company’s public cloud service that extends into clients’ on-premise VMware environments.
Native VMware CoreOS support is a major step forward for the San Francisco-based software startup. It opens lots of doors to enterprise data centers that until now have been closed for its very young operating system. It also opens lots of doors for Docker, a Linux container technology popular with developers CoreOS was built to work with.
“We bring Docker to the table for a lot of people, where it was pretty inaccessible before,” Kelsey Hightower, a senior engineer at CoreOS, said. Lots of enterprise IT shops are interested in CoreOS and Docker containers but cannot experiment with new technologies that aren’t already “tried and true.” An official stamp of approval by a company like VMware, whose presence is ubiquitous in enterprise data centers, makes it a lot easier for enterprise IT to bring products by companies like CoreOS and Docker into their environments, Hightower explained.
“We’ll be able to tackle the entire Fortune 500 with this,” he said. “They’ve been looking at us for a while.’
VMware CoreOS support starts with vSphere 5.5, but VMware and CoreOS are planning to continue working together to bring it to the recently announced vSphere 6.
Besides having been designed to work with Linux containers, CoreOS has a robust feature set for running on large clusters of servers. The company’s aim has been to enable traditional enterprises to build and operate data center infrastructure the same way internet giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon do. Containers and compute clusters are both cornerstones of these web-scale data centers.
By using CoreOS, an enterprise IT shop can have all the latest features from Docker, unlike other enterprise Linux distributions, some of whom are only shipping Docker 1.2, Hightower said. The latest version of Docker available today is 1.5.0. Enterprise IT upgrade cycles are usually slow, but CoreOS is designed to be constantly upgraded, so users always have the latest OS kernel and the latest Docker features.