Container coup

Why CoreOS went its own way on containers

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Alex Polvi seems a bit puzzled at the reaction to CoreOS’s decision to develop its own basic container technology. Many saw that news, announced this week, as an aggressive move on Docker. It’s fine with him that Docker wants to become a platform company and add management, orchestration, what-have-you to its eponymous Docker containers. His point is that many customers still need bare-bones containers and CoreOS wants to provide them.

On this week’s Structure Show, Polvi — CEO of CoreOS — agreed that Docker’s move up the food chain from containers to platform is analogous to [company]VMware[/company]’s progression from a hypervisor company to virtualization-management company. If you ask today’s startups if they’d like to be in VMware’s shoes, most would say heck yeah, he said: There’s nothing bad about being a platform company.

Still, it’s indisputable that [company]CoreOS[/company]’s announcement struck a nerve with [company]Docker[/company] and ignited controversy. Polvi addresses lots of our questions here about the container ecosystem, where he sees CoreOS fitting in with Google’s Kubernetes container management system and Mesos cluster management, and other topics including the state of the overall cloud computing ecosystem as he sees it..

It’s a brisk and timely discussion so don’t miss it.

CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi
CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi

In the first half of the show, Derrick Harris and I hash out the news around Hortonworks’ new sub-$1 billion valuation; Amazon Web Services new no-money down instances, and Google’s Automatic Statistician project.


Hosts: Barbara Darrow and Derrick Harris

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One Response to “Why CoreOS went its own way on containers”

  1. Rich Miller

    Barb & Derek,
    Just catching up on my reading and listening, so got to this early this morning, with a few reactions:

    1) During your intro, you spoke about the changes in AWS pricing, the creation of new ‘packaging’ of instances and the difficulties in comparing the real price of these offers and comparative benefits of each.
    – You suggested getting Joe Weinman in to speak to the issue of pricing and ‘cloudonomics’, which I highly endorse
    – I would also recommend that you engage James Mitchell, CEO of Strategic-Blue, which provides the CloudOptions services (

    As Barb said: “If I were tasked with corporate purchase of cloud services, I would be going crazy trying to make sense of this.” CloudOptions Pricing Insights service is designed to reduce the levels of insanity. [Notice: I’m an advisor to the Board of Strategic-Blue.]

    2) The interview with Alex Polvi of CoreOS was very good, and it was helpful to hear his presentation of the story without as much of the ‘echo chamber.’ My personal view is that there’s more than enough room for both the Docker and CoreOS strategies with respect to containers and making them useful, usable and commercially viable. To his point:

    – Yes, Docker seems to have chosen to go forward with a business strategy to deliver a full platform. Given their position in the development community and the speed with which they’ve advanced over the past 12 months, this is going to be a difficult balancing act to remain ‘definitional’ about cluster management, networking, data persistence, … AND the variety of demands being made on the Docker technologies. I can see how it might play out architecturally (… it’s called ‘plug-in architecture’). I’m less certain that I know how to make the business strategy work.

    – I was taken by the repeated reference to ‘private clouds’, and the characterization of “Docker, The Platform” as the basis for private cloud. I view … and I believe that I’m joined by many in the business … to view the Container-based infrastructure to be applicable to public, private and (just to complete my buzzword bingo card) hybrid cloud. Would any of you please consider explaining what the particular attention to private cloud is all about?

    – Rich Miller
    Telematica, Inc.