Definition

Open Container Initiative

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: An essential guide to software container usability and management
Contributor(s): Nick Martin

The Open Container Initiative (OCI) is a collaborative project hosted under the Linux Foundation designed to establish common standards for containers. The initiative, which has a lightweight, open governance structure, was first unveiled as the Open Container Project at DockerCon on June 22, 2015, and was later renamed as the Open Container Initiative.

The Open Container Initiative has support from a long list of prominent companies, however the project will remain independent from any particular commercial organization. Founders include Amazon Web Services, Docker, CoreOS, Microsoft, VMware, EMC, Nutanix, Red Hat, IBM, Goldman Sachs, and Google. Docker was pivotal in founding the initiative, donating draft specifications and much of its existing code for its image format and container runtime. The formation of OCI was driven by the rapidly rising interest in container-based virtualization, particularly as a way to increase application portability across multiple environments.

The core goals for the project are to ensure standards for containers and future container platforms that preserve the flexible and open nature of containers. Specifically, the OCI says containers should not be bound to a specific client or orchestration stack, not be tightly associated with any particular vendor and are portable across a wide variety of operating systems, hardware and architectures.

This was last updated in November 2015

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Do you think the Open Container Initiative will be successful in establishing open standards for container platforms?
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There’s industry support from Microsoft, AWS, Google, and Red Hat, and others, so I think it has a better chance of establishing open standards than anything else that’s taking place.
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