Is the Rocket Taking off Without Docker?
Containers seem to be garnering a lot of attention in recent months, and as Docker poises to move towards strengthening themselves as a commercial organization, some ripples appeared in the somewhat untouched waters of container infrastructure.
CoreOS Announces Rocket
Today the team at CoreOS announced that they are building a container infrastructure known as Rocket which will serve as an alternative, or perhaps a competitor in the eyes of some. CoreOS, a thin and versatile Linux derivative, has been often tied to Docker because of the very agile delivery of CoreOS and it’s tight integration with Docker in the early iterations.
Why Split from Docker?
The blog highlights some interesting thoughts that the direction of Docker is steering from a lot of the fundamentals of what CoreOS brings to Linux management. The compartmentalization and de-coupling of components for simple patching and updates has been the selling point of this new thin OS.
As Docker prepares to align itself on a platform model, there is potential that the feature set being built on top of the Docker ecosystem may drive it towards a more monolithic type of deployment. The truth of the next steps is yet to be seen of course, so this move may be premature and could cause a fracture in the somewhat fledgeling application container ecosystem.
A Reply From Docker
Docker CEO, Ben Golub, replied today with a blog post that was clearly trying to stabilize the messaging from Docker and what the upcoming plans are. Some rather clear wording referring to the “questionable rhetoric and timing of the Rocket announcement” tells us that the move by CoreOS was not well received.
There are a lot of questions around the offering that will back the commercial entity of Docker as they prepare for what most regard as a path towards IPO. Some good thoughts come from Ben on the concept that if any code contributors are concerned with how Docker is being developed by the commercial arm of Docker, that they are free to guide the direction with their on contributions.
Ben also respectfully notes that it is entirely within anyone’s power to create alternatives which is another tenet of the open source model.
“They are free to use Docker as a single container format. They are free to build higher level services that plug in to Docker. And, of course, they are free to promote the notion of an alternative standard, as the folks behind Rocket have chosen to do.” – Ben Golub, Docker CEO
There are some interesting times ahead for sure in the container ecosystem and as Azure and AWS line up to drive towards offering container support, and we also know that VMware is posturing to do the same.
Containers are clearly the next wave in virtualization. It is just a matter of what will become the standard that carries the torch to widen adoption.