A broad coalition of major tech companies have joined forces to create the Open Container Project—or OCP. The move to develop and maintain common standards around software containers vindicates the CoreOS split from Docker and reunites the two in a common cause that will make all container platforms and technologies stronger.
A press release announcing the Open Container Project explains the overall vision for OCP. “Housed under the Linux Foundation, the OCP’s mission is to enable users and companies to continue to innovate and develop container-based solutions, with confidence that their pre-existing development efforts will be protected and without industry fragmentation.”
Docker and CoreOS are at the heart of OCP but they’re by no means alone. A veritable “Who’s Who” of DevOps and container technologies has enlisted to support OCP, including Amazon Web Services, Cisco, EMC, Google, HP, IBM, Linux Foundation, Microsoft, Red Hat, and VMware.
At one point Docker had a Standard Container Manifesto that spelled out some basic attributes it felt all containers should have. The Standard Container Manifesto called for containers to operate in a standard fashion, be content agnostic, infrastructure agnostic, and designed for automation among other things. When Docker removed the manifesto and seemed to shift to a more proprietary strategy CoreOS split off and launched its own container technology to continue the vision of a container standard.
“An open, well-defined specification is required for the overall success and adoption of containers. At CoreOS, when we started the App Container spec (appc) our goal was to have a well-designed software container specification. With the OCP, we have now come together with Docker and many industry giants in an effort to unify this goal.”
The launch of OCP and the laundry list of companies backing it show that CoreOS was not alone in its pursuit of the vision for a container standard. “We are excited to support this effort to bring the industry together to agree on a core standard for containers, which we feel will benefit all customers no matter what cloud provider they use,” said Jason Zander, CVP, Microsoft Azure. “Through our close work with Docker over the last year we have demonstrated our commitment to openness and welcome this opportunity to help create an open platform for customers.”
“Customers need an open, interoperable future for software containers and we are happy to see the industry coming together to establish a common standard,” explained Kit Colbert, vice president and CTO, Cloud-Native Applications, VMware. “Our participation in the Open Container Project reinforces our goal to help customers innovate more rapidly and benefit from containers as they adopt the technology in their environments. We look forward to working with the community on container portability and security which are areas of focus for enterprise IT.”
According to the OCP press release Docker will donate the code for its software container format and runtime—as well as the associated specifications—to the project. The leadership team from the Application Container spec (appc) will also contribute technical leadership and support for OCP.
Ben Golub, CEO of Docker, summed up by acknowledging the effort and support for OCP. “We’d like to thank the many people in the industry who came together to support this important initiative. Our thanks to the Linux Foundation for the incredible work they have done in helping to pull this broad group together. Given the criticality of the intersection of containers and operating systems, we’d also like to thank Red Hat and Microsoft for their early leadership on this initiative. Our sincere appreciation to IBM and Intel for their ongoing encouragement of open governance. Finally, we’d like to recognize the members of the appc community, including Google and CoreOS, for their willingness to join all of us to constructively address these critical issues.”
Now that all of the major players are united in a common cause to define and maintain an industry standard for containers it will be much easier for developers and organizations to embrace container technologies without reservation. The confidence that your investment of time, money, and effort won’t be wasted or paint you into a corner is very liberating.