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Red Hat, dotCloud collaborate on PaaS

Partnership aims to drive the next evolution of OpenShift

Badani: Developers want PaaS offerings that enable them to design and code applications without losing time on technology integration.
Badani: Developers want PaaS offerings that enable them to design and code applications without losing time on technology integration.

Open source mainstay Red Hat Inc and dotCloud - the company behind Docker, an open source project to pack, ship, and run applications as lightweight containers - today announced a technical collaboration based on next-generation Linux Containers technology to help drive the next evolution of OpenShift, Red Hat's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering.

The collaboration between the OpenShift, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Docker teams aims to combine the capabilities of Docker with the "security and stability" of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Gears in OpenShift.

The OpenShift platform is built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is said to provide "secure, scalable, Linux Container-based multi-tenancy via Red Hat Enterprise Linux Gears".

OpenShift offers support for various programming languages, frameworks, Red Hat JBoss Middleware, databases, and other services, and also enables customers, partners, and community members to integrate their own technology through OpenShift cartridges. These features combine to power the OpenShift Online public PaaS.

Docker is an open source engine that enables any application and its dependencies to be encapsulated as a lightweight container that will run in almost any Linux environment: bare metal, virtualised, public cloud, or private cloud. Docker's user space library and utilities tool chain uses both Linux Container enhancements found in the modern Linux kernel and aspects of the operating system such as the file system and namespace layers. Docker uses this foundation in the Linux kernel to provide lightweight runtime environments.

Docker and OpenShift currently use the same building blocks to implement containers, such as Linux kernel namespaces and resource management with Control Groups (cGroups). Red Hat Enterprise Linux Gears in OpenShift use Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) access control policies to provide secure multi-tenancy and reduce the risk of malicious applications or kernel exploits.

Through the collaboration, Red Hat and dotCloud are working together on several joint community efforts, including Packaging Docker for the Fedora Project, a Red Hat sponsored and community-supported open source collaboration. Red Hat and dotCloud are collaborating with members of the Fedora Project community to package Docker for Fedora, making Docker available for all Fedora users with upcoming releases, and also providing the initial packaging work that will enable Docker to more easily build and deploy on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat and dotCloud will also collaborate on file-system dependencies, specifically designed to remove Docker's dependency on AuFS (Advanced Multi Layered Unification File-system) to meet mission-critical requirements from enterprise customers. Together, Red Hat and dotCloud have developed a new approach to provisioning based on the device-mapper thin provisioning technology included in Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and other distributions. This approach provides the same user experience in a way that is more compatible with upstream kernel versions.

The partnership will also cover container provisioning, resulting in Red Hat's work to enable libvirt, the open source virtualisation API project, as an option for creating containers within Docker, bringing enterprise-grade networking capabilities along with it.

Red Hat and dotCloud teams will also work to integrate Docker with OpenShift's cartridge model for application orchestration. This integration will combine aspects of Docker containers with OpenShift's ability to describe and manage multi-container applications.

"Developers want PaaS offerings that enable them to design and code applications without losing time on technology integration and how their application infrastructure is architected," said Ashesh Badani, general manager, Cloud, Red Hat.

"They want applications that are truly portable and will run wherever they want. Through our collaboration on Docker, we're bringing innovation from the community to OpenShift, our enterprise-class PaaS offerings, to reinforce our goal of bringing operational efficiency and flexibility to developers."

"The collaboration between dotCloud and Red Hat is an exciting development both for Docker as well as PaaS and containerisation in general," said Ben Golub, chief executive officer, dotCloud.

"We are thrilled by the level of hands-on contribution we've seen from the RHEL, Fedora, and OpenShift teams at RedHat, and believe the combination will bring unique capabilities to further accelerate application development."