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CoreOS container orchestration tools break new portability ground

CoreOS Tectonic now supports integration with multiple clouds, and CoreOS Quay brings container-like versioning to app configuration.

CoreOS Tectonic and Quay hit two milestones for container orchestration tools this week that further advance the dream of container portability across cloud infrastructures.

CoreOS Tectonic, a Kubernetes-based container orchestration tool, can now be run in preview on Azure and OpenStack, thanks to a new integration with HashiCorp's Terraform. This brings the popular CoreOS Tectonic Kubernetes installer to OpenStack -- a sought-after combination for large enterprises -- and the combination of Terraform and Tectonic also brings together projects from two open source container orchestration tools powerhouses that appeal to enterprise users.

For one of CoreOS' major enterprise customers, the integration of the Tectonic container orchestration tool with Terraform crosses off a significant wish list item.

"I can manage the state of the infrastructure better, and I can reuse a lot of the components of Tectonic for other providers," said Dale Ragan, senior software engineer for SAP's Concur Technologies Inc., an expense management software-as-a-service provider based in Bellevue, Wash. "For people who want to run custom clusters, it'd be nice to keep to one tool instead of changing tools depending on what cloud you're talking to."

CoreOS Quay alters app deployment

CoreOS Quay also extends the registry model from container images alone to include application configuration, which will allow applications to be shared and deployed more efficiently on multiple enterprise infrastructures.

"This fits the enterprise trend of multicloud infrastructure and hybrid IT," said Jay Lyman, an analyst at 451 Research. The CoreOS Quay application registry shows there is significant interest in such registries from vendors and enterprise end users, including private registries and external registries that need to be integrated, which is just another example of hybrid IT beyond just using different clouds, he said.

The CoreOS Quay extension is still experimental as of this week's release, but it's a promising first step, Ragan said.

"We use Terraform to bring up the cluster, and then we would use this app registry to register apps within it for developers without having to set up more infrastructure," he said. "You can start using more to run stateful services inside the cluster, as well as stateless services."

The ability to build custom apps is also key for Ragan's team to ensure they follow security best practices. With the CoreOS Quay extension, customers can modify existing apps and push them as a private repository, make them public if they want to share or create apps from scratch.

Application registry creation has been the thrust of a Kubernetes concept, called Charts, which is supported with this CoreOS Quay extension, along with a means to share charts, called Helm. However, previously, users had to set up a file share or other back end for Helm, which made it unwieldy to manage.

"The concept of Charts was really good, and this is going to make it a lot easier to modify, pull and push Charts without having to write things from scratch," said Gary Chen, analyst at IDC.

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for TechTarget's Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. Write to her at [email protected] or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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