Open source continues to be a tremendous source of innovation and nowhere is that more evident than at the biannual OpenStack Summit. Over the past couple of years, as OpenStack interest and adoption has grown, we've seen another important innovation emerge from the open source community in the form of Linux containers, driven by Docker and associated open source projects. As the world gathers in Tokyo for another OpenStack Summit, we wanted to talk about how Red Hat is bringing these two innovations together, to make OpenStack a great platform for running containerized applications.
Red Hat is not only contributing to innovation in OpenStack, but also in multiple Linux container communities including Docker, Kubernetes and Project Atomic. Red Hat was a driving force behind the creation of the Open Containers Initiative launched in June of this year with broad industry support, to create open industry standards around container formats and runtime. We also joined with Google and others to launch the Cloud Native Computing Foundation to drive innovations in container-packaged, dynamically scheduled and microservices-based application development and operations. We were excited to see Google join the OpenStack community, bringing with them their deep expertise in containers and web scale orchestration.
While open source foundations are critical to help drive industry standards and participation in open source technologies, users ultimately care most about innovation and how it helps them solve real world problems. Linux containers have driven some of the most exciting innovations happening in open source over the past couple of years and this has driven great interest due to key benefits like efficiency, portability and rapid deployment times.
As a leader in Linux and open source technologies for nearly 20 years, it is no surprise that Red Hat is right in the middle of these new innovations. Red Hat’s investment in the technologies that are the underpinning of containers goes back nearly a decade, but in 2013 we saw the opportunity to drive new standards in this space and became the first major software vendor to endorse Docker and contribute to the Docker community project. Two years later, this has exceeded even our own expectations, as we look at the level of user adoption and industry support.
But to run containers, you need more than a container runtime and packaging format - you need an entire enterprise container infrastructure. A new "stack" for running containers in enterprise data centers and public clouds. That’s why we would like to provide an update here and encourage people to join us in Tokyo to learn more.
Linux is at the foundation of OpenStack and modern container infrastructures. While we are excited to see Microsoft invest in Docker to bring containers to Windows, they are still Linux containers after all. Red Hat’s first major contribution was bringing containers to enterprise Linux and RPM-based distributions like Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS. Since then we launched Project Atomic and made available Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host as a lightweight, container-optimized, immutable Linux platform for enterprise customers. With the recent surge in new container-optimized Linux distributions being announced, we see this as more than just a short term trend. This year we plan to release Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host 7.2 and talk about how customers are using it as the foundation for a containerized application workloads.
Docker has defined the packaging format and runtime for containers, which has now become the defacto standard for the industry, as embodied in OCI and the runC reference implementation. Red Hat continues to contribute extensively to the Docker project and is now helping to drive governance of OCI and implementation of runC. We are committed to helping to make Docker more secure, both in the container runtime and content and working with our partners to enable customers to safely containerize their most mission critical applications.
Kubernetes is Red Hat’s choice for container orchestration and management and it is also seeing significant growth with more than 500 contributors and nearly 20,000 commits to the Kubernetes project in just over a year. While there is a lot of innovation in the container orchestration space, we see Kubernetes as another emerging standard given the combination of Google’s experience running container workloads at massive scale, Red Hat’s contributions and experience making open source work in enterprise environments, and the growing community surrounding it.
This "LDK" stack is the foundation of Red Hat OpenShift 3 and Atomic Enterprise Platform announced recently at Red Hat Summit. It’s also the foundation of the Google Container Engine which is now generally available and other vendor and customer solutions that were featured recently at LinuxCon during the Kubernetes 1.0 launch.
Red Hat has helped drive innovation in this new Container stack while also driving integration with OpenStack. We have focused our efforts on integrating in the three core pillars of OpenStack - compute, networking and storage. Here’s how:
OpenStack Compute for Containers
While many customers are already running containers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 as an OpenStack guest operating system, we are also seeing greater interest in Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host as a container-optimized guest OS option. And while most customers run their containers in guest VMs driven by Nova, we are also seeing growing interest in customers who want to integrate with OpenStack Ironic to run containers on bare metal hosts. With OpenStack, customers can manage both virtual and physical compute infrastructure to serve as the foundation for their container application workloads.
Earlier this year we also demonstrated how OpenStack administrators could use Heat to deploy a cluster of Nova instances running Kubernetes. The Heat templates contributed by Red Hat simplify the provisioning of new container host clusters, which are ready to run container workloads orchestrated by Kubernetes. Heat templates also serve at the foundation for OpenStack Magnum API to make container orchestration engines like Kubernetes available as first class resources in OpenStack. We also recently created Heat templates to deploy OpenShift 3 and added them to the OpenStack Community App Catalog. Our next step is to make elastic provisioning and deprovisioning of Kubernetes nodes based on resource demand a reality.
OpenStack Networking for Containers
Red Hat leverages Kubernetes networking model to enable networking across multiple containers, running across multiple hosts. In Kubernetes, each container (or "pod") has its own IP address and can communicate with other containers/pods, regardless of which host they run on. Red Hat integrated RHEL Atomic Host with Flannel for container networking and also developed a new OVS-based SDN solution that is included in OpenShift 3 and Atomic Enterprise Platform. But in OpenStack environments, users may want to leverage Neutron and its rich ecosystem of networking plugins to handle networking for containers. We’ve been working in both the OpenStack and Kubernetes community to integrate Neutron with Kubernetes networking to enable this.
OpenStack Storage for Containers
Red Hat also leverages Kubernetes storage volumes to enable users to run stateful services in containers like databases, message queues and other stateful apps. Users map their containers to persistent storage clusters, leveraging Kubernetes storage plugins like NFS, iSCSI, Gluster, Ceph, and more. The OpenStack Cinder storage plugin currently under development will enable users to map to storage volumes managed by OpenStack Cinder.
In Part 2 of this blog, posted tomorrow, we will discuss some of the other exciting innovations Red Hat is driving in container infrastructure and application lifecycle management, to complement the work we are doing in OpenStack.
About the authors
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies.