DigitalOcean Adds Native CoreOS Support

Web-scale Linux distro one of the most requested features ever on popular developer cloud.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

September 5, 2014

2 Min Read
DigitalOcean Adds Native CoreOS Support
The CoreOS bus and crew at GopherCon, a conference for developers who use Go, the language etcd was written in. (Photo: CoreOS)

CoreOS, the Linux distribution for massive scale-out server deployments created by the eponymous San Francisco-based startup, is now available as an option on DigitalOcean, one of the most popular cloud infrastructure providers among software developers.

CoreOS will be one of the image types a developer can launch on DigitalOcean, which until now has supported Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian and Fedora distros, Ubuntu being the most popular of the Linux distros.

The strength of CoreOS is in the way it ensures configuration consistency among servers in a cluster. In addition to the OS distribution, the startup provides a variety of tools around it, aiming to eventually offer a complete package of software that will enable companies to stand up highly resilient distributed compute infrastructure pioneered by web-scale companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter.

One of the most important CoreOS capabilities is management of Docker application containers, which make applications scalable and portable across different environments. This and other CoreOS functionality is now accessible on DigitalOcean.

The integration is a big deal for CoreOS because of the sheer popularity of the cloud provider among the startup’s target customers. “DigitalOcean is probably the developer cloud in a way,” Alex Polvi, CEO and founder of CoreOS, said.

A few users have thought of a workaround using Ubuntu to run CoreOS on DigitalOcean in the past, but the hack is a far cry from native integration, Polvi said.

“Some developers figured out some hacks,” he said. “But it was not really CoreOS.”

Tight integration between CoreOS and DigitalOcean was not a technological walk in the park. The way CoreOS is laid out, the way it boots and updates is all very novel, so it took a lot of work by the two companies’ engineering teams to implement the feature.

“We did work through a lot of things together,” Polvi said. “It wasn’t a trivial implementation by any means.”

Mitch Wainer, DigitalOcean co-founder and chief marketing officer, said native support for CoreOS was one of the most requested features by its users ever. The provider decides which features to add using a customer voting system.

An average number of votes a typical feature receives is a few hundred, Wainer said. More than 2,000 people voted for adding native support for CoreOS.

That level of popular demand is comparable to major changes like additional storage, support for Windows or adding data centers in Australia and Brazil.

DigitalOcean has data centers (and cloud regions) in Amsterdam, London, Singapore, New York and San Francisco, and CoreOS will be available in all five regions, Wainer said.

The provider uses Equinix data centers in Singapore, London and Amsterdam, another Amsterdam facility operated by Telecity and Telx data centers in New York and San Francisco.

DigitalOcean raised $37.2 million in an Andreessen Horowitz-led Series A funding round in March and has been expanding data center capacity this year. It added the Singapore region in February and the London region in July.

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