Google's Kubernetes project seeks to provide an open-source standard for Docker container management. Kubernetes is receiving a surprising amount of support from other companies, with a number of tech giants collaborating on the project.
Supporters of Kubernetes now include Microsoft, IBM, RedHat, and Docker itself. Kubernetes promises to revolutionize cloud computing by making container management easier. By making the system an open-source standard, Google wants to make Kubernetes compatible with any system, making containers transferrable between different paltforms and operating systems.
"We've seen a lot of really rapid interest and adoption," says Miles Ward, global head of solutions for Google's cloud platform. "It's a pretty significant shift forward in the ecosystem."
Kubernetes poses some major advantages over using virtual machines alone. With virtual machines, each application requires its own operating system to run on, taking up valuable system resources. By using Kubernetes and Docker containers, one operating system can be split up into several sections with differing allocations of server resources.
Kubernetes allows users to prioritize certain applications, devoting more resources to that particular container as needed. Google is already experienced with the use of containers. Gmail, Google Apps, and the Google search engine all run within containers. Two Google engineers, Rohit Seth and Paul Menage, are credited with the creation of Linux control groups, which were a predecessor that enabled the creation of Linux containers.
The collaboration of Microsoft is also a major asset to the Kubernetes project. Not only does Microsoft have a massive amount of resources, but the company is also deeply involved with cloud computing through its Azure platform. The partnership benefits both companies, as Microsoft will be using Kubernetes to help make Azure more efficient in the future.
"Microsoft will help contribute code to Kubernetes to enable customers to easily manage containers that can run anywhere," says Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group. "This will make it easier to build multi-cloud solutions including targeting Microsoft Azure."
The name Kubernetes comes from the Greek word for "helmsman," representing the program's command of Docker containers. The source code and documentation for the project is available now on Github, and will be updated as development continues.