The Open Container Initiative was officially formalized on Tuesday as part of the Linux Foundation project, and Mesosphere is proud to be a founding member of the project. Containers will be critical to the next generation of application design and deployment, so an open standard around the foundational format and runtime components is critical, as well.
Innovation in software design will be spurred by developers and software architects who are able to take advantage of the developmental and operational efficiencies that containers provide. However, they need to do so without worrying that their choice of container will lock them into one vendor's technology set, or out of a whole world of third-party tools and platforms. The OCI assures just such an open foundation.
But it's not just users who benefit from open container standards. IT companies—Mesosphere, Docker, CoreOS, VMware and the whole gamut of OCI members—benefit, too. We all get to focus on adding value to the container ecosystem in our own ways, without investing undue resources reinventing the wheel or choosing sides in a fractured field of container specifications, all delivering essentially the same thing.
As we noted when the OCI was first announced in June, Mesosphere focuses its attention at the orchestration layer, where we think most serious container users will derive the most value. We want our Datacenter Operating System (DCOS) to be the most simple, secure and scalable place to manage huge numbers containers across many nodes. We've already seen its component pieces, primarily Apache Mesos and Mesosphere's Marathon, responsible for managing large production Docker environments at companies including Verizon, Samsung, Yelp and Autodesk.
We also want to give our customers choice at every level of the experience. This is why we support Docker and native Linux cgroups at the base container level (other large Mesos users prefer the native cgroups resource isolation experience), and also will support the OCI standard. Even at the orchestration layer, DCOS users can manage their containers using Marathon, as well as Kubernetes and Docker Swarm—all on the same cluster of machines, all managed by the same APIs.
In fact, our Kubernetes team is working hard to make Kubernetes-Mesos a framework capable of handling large-scale production container workloads. They're getting close, with a release just last week that incorporates significant usability and reliability improvements. We're working closely with fellow OCI member Microsoft on its forthcoming Azure Container Service, which is built on a foundation of Mesos and Marathon, and also will support Swarm.
Competition can be great for customers when it's done right—at levels that provide real, distinguishable business value—and not so great when it's done with base-level technologies that will eventually become commodities. The IT industry has learned from the past few decades of operating systems, servers, hypervisors and even cloud instances, and the companies that comprise the OCI are determined to let innovation flourish in the the container era.