CSE301 Historical Projections
The Open Container Initiative
Application containerization is the lightweight alternative to machine virtualization that allows software to run their own dependencies in isolated applicated-dedicated environments on a shared machine—eliminating the need for virtual machines. At its very core, containerization is an operating system virtualization technique that is a complimentary solution, not a replacement, to hardware virtualization to solve application management problems. Application-dedicated environments in the form of containers offer several advantages over dedicated virtual machines: (1) containers are isolated and don’t require additional operating systems as it will share the host kernel. (2) less virtualization overhead (CPU, memory, etc…) as containers don’t need to run multiple instances of the operating system on a single machine. (3) it’s lightweight and portable nature contains only the libraries, binaries, and dependencies required to run the application can be deployed on any operating system. Docker, the company that was synonymous with container technology and several other well-known companies such as CoreOS, Red Hat, Amazon, Google and Microsoft took part in an initiative known as the Open Container Initiative (OCI), which aims to standardize the container movement across all formats. Through the standardization of container formats, the OCI safeguards the fundamentals of containerization to prevent fragmentation across container-based technologies.
Although an increase in container-based technologies drives new innovative ideas, there must be standards in place for containers to be a potential solution to universal application portability—an issue resulting from fragmentation of the technological compatibility of competing enterprise container systems. There are three criteria for an open container specification defined by the OCI:
• The container is not dependent on any high-level orchestration stack—container orchestration software responsible for controlling, provisioning, and managing container resources.
• The container is not associated with a commercial vendor or project—an objective standard across all organization.
• The container is portable across different operating systems, architectures, and hardware—a key factor inherent in designing containers.
Embracing the containerization effort, well-designed and open specifications pave the way for interoperability between organizations by allowing collaborative effort in developing container solutions without worrying about vendor lock-in. OCI introduces the foundation for compatibility between different implementations of container systems that is essential for stabilizing a thriving market of “interoperable, pluggable tools.”
Rather than an emerging technology in itself, OCI is a trending philosophy that advocates open standards that are formal governances of the emerging technologies that do support the underlying information technology that will have an impact within a 5-10 year time horizon. Like the open-source-software movement, OCI strives to promote cooperation and collaboration by establishing a beneficial common ground for all parties who are involved. The influence of OCI grows as more notable container develops pledge to support the open container industry that is expected to grow to $2.688 billion by 2020. For OCI to succeed, container technology must be adopted successfully across enterprises as well. According to 451 Research, there is impressive growth of adoption and implementation of containers for something that’s a relatively new enterprise technology. Although OCI is the result of industry’s best practices, it is only as good as it is practiced.