Yesterday, the company announced it’s working with Intel to get OpenStack to run on Kubernetes, the container management platform that originated at Google. The effort is being open-sourced, and Mirantis is among the companies that’s begun participating, says Alex Polvi, CoreOS’ CEO.
Kubernetes is at the heart of Tectonic, CoreOS’ commercial product for managing containers.
The Kubernetes arrangement does mean you’d be running OpenStack in containers. So, if an enterprise wanted to run virtual machines on this OpenStack setup, those virtual machines would be running inside containers.
It gets better: Companies including VMware tout the power of running containers inside virtual machines. So you can end up with containers inside a virtual machine which itself is inside a container.
This is not an April Fool’s joke. (Remember, the announcement was yesterday.) In fact, it’s the way Google Cloud Platform works.
Google fell in love with containers a decade ago, so it was only natural for its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering to be container-based. Docker fever hadn’t grown to epidemic proportions at the time, though; customers wanted virtual machines. So, Google Cloud gives you virtual machines — which are running inside containers. The underlying infrasructure is “an implementation detail — you, the end user, don’t know that,” says Alex Polvi, CoreOS’ CEO.
But why bother putting OpenStack onto Kubernetes? It’s a way to make OpenStack easier to use, Polvi says.
OpenStack itself is software, so it can certainly be run on containers. What makes it OpenStack is that these pieces of code, when run together, make an organization’s infrastructure behave like that of a cloud service provider. But there are a lot of pieces, most of them optional, and the whole structure can be “a bit fragile” to stand up, Polvi says.
Containers, meanwhile, are useful because they provide a vehicle for consistent deployment of an application. Kubernetes can manage those containers while handling functions such as resiliency — the ability to replace a member of a cluster if it goes down.
CoreOS is simply applying those tools to OpenStack, treating it as just another application, Polvi says. “It’s almost as if we’re using Kubernetes to swap out Puppet or Chef.”
The setup can be made to work today, but it could use some fine-tuning, he adds. So, CoreOS is enlisting more help to flesh out this idea, with plans to contribute the work back to the open source community.
The hope is to have a proof-of-concept of OpenStack on Kubernetes in time for the OpenStack Summit, being held in Austin, Texas beginning April 25.