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OCI Member Spotlight: Weaveworks

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The OCI community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies that are committed to creating open industry standards around a container image format and runtime. This blog series highlights OCI members and their contributions to building an open, portable and vendor neutral specification.  

Name: Alexis Richardson
Title: CEO
Company: Weaveworks

Why did you join OCI?
We joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and OCI at the same time. The two projects complement each other and have the overall goal of providing customers with a clear set of tools, standards and guidance for the adoption of containers and cloud native technology.  The OCI in particular is focused on standardizing core container technology – runtime and image format –  and we want to support that goal.

What are the aspects of the the runtime spec and/or image format spec that you are looking forward to most for your company?
A stable reference implementation of the spec would lower testing costs.

How do you plan to use the runtime spec and/or image format spec?
As a vendor, we want Weave software to work with the finalized OCI standard in the future so that our products will be compatible with as many other container-related products as possible. For example, our SDN Weave Net could provide network security policy and firewall capabilities to any OCI-compatible container. Or a customer might monitor and manage an app that uses OCI technology, using our Weave Cloud product.

How will these specifications help your business?
We think that customers will adopt containers and cloud native technology faster if there is a family of core technologies that they can trust supported by a thriving ecosystem of products and services. A good specification can remove obstacles and prevent some challenges that could potentially slow this down.

How do you anticipate OCI changing the container technology landscape?
Perhaps by marking out an industry that is more mature, as with the early evolution of HTTP in the 1990s. With this we hope to see greater participation and opportunity, as when big web businesses emerged.

What do you believe the benefits of using a runtime and image spec based on the OCI standard are for hosting providers?  For small ISVs, application developers? For end users?
For end users, it’s all about the infrastructure becoming a standard layer. Everyone wants to focus on applications and how to make them better using cloud native patterns like microservices and continuous delivery. Hosting providers must control cost-to-serve. A stable image spec and runtime would help with that. For ISVs and app developers, testing costs matter. Ideally the deployment surface of software is known and small.

OCI Member Spotlight: Red Hat

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The OCI community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies that are committed to creating open industry standards around a container image format and runtime. This blog series highlights OCI members and their contributions to building an open, portable and vendor neutral specification.  

Name:  Chris Wright
Title:  VP & Chief Technologist
Company: Red Hat, Inc

Why did you join OCI?
Red Hat helped create the OCI to drive the long-term success of container technology, in part by supporting a healthy balance of innovation and stability for the technology and ecosystem. To succeed, the industry requires a consistent and stable way to define a container image and its runtime. Without that, we were seeing fragmentation in the low-level portion of the technology stack and, along with many others in the industry, identified this as a key threat. Creating a standard specification for the container image format and runtime brings the industry together and allows users to benefit from portable images with trustworthy provenance. Our customers need this level of portability and trust to fully adopt container technologies, especially in mission-critical roles, so a standard specification is paramount from that point of view.  Creating open industry standards around container formats and runtime also helps identify the lines around which we can innovate without breaking code that is already deployed.

OCI container technology starts with Linux, and one of the values Linux has brought to the industry is the aforementioned blend of innovation and stability (although containers are supported on other platforms such as Windows). Linux features like core system call APIs, process isolation, namespaces and resource management with cgroups, are the foundational building blocks for containers. The Linux philosophy of “never breaking userspace” is what enables containers to successfully decouple the container host from the container application, and it is this decoupling that makes containers so powerful.

How is your organization involved in OCI?
Red Hat has been involved in OCI from the very beginning and remains deeply involved across multiple aspects of the community. We have provided support and input at every step, from pulling in more members to helping define the project’s governance structure to being directly involved in the creation of the image format and runtime specs and supporting code. Beyond serving on both the OCI Trademark Board and the Technical Oversight Board, Red Hat helps to maintain the Technical Developer Community and the runtime-spec and image-spec projects. We are also deeply involved with developing and maintaining supporting code projects, such as runC and ocitools. Additionally, we participate in the Certification Working Group for these projects and are involved in a related project, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which addresses standardization at the orchestration level and will use OCI for the base image runtime and format specifications.

What are the aspects of the runtime spec and/or image format spec that you are looking forward to most for your company?
We’re looking forward to a base image format and runtime so that we can provide a consistent and stable place to run containerized applications. We’re also interested in ensuring that our customers can digitally verify signed container content and pull containers from a federated collection of content repositories, whether they’re internal to their datacenters or externally from the web. This gives both trust and security as well as industry-wide scalability to the container ecosystem.

How do you plan to use the runtime spec and/or image format spec?
Red Hat would like to be able provide a platform built on an OCI-compliant runtime to run OCI-compliant images. That lets us focus on customer problems beyond “plumbing,” and helps to ensure that customers have as much choice as possible. In the post v1.0 future of the specifications, we also want to provide tools for building and verifying those images as well as an image repository for OCI-compliant Red Hat content.

How will these specifications help your business?
Since they rely on Linux, containers are central to Red Hat’s business, and our customers look to us for both expertise and solutions because of their use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This is why we believe it is so important to provide the consistency and stability that comes with a well-defined format and runtime. Our customers want  to adopt container technology that is part of a unified standard, which will provide them with the ability to build and run portable containers.

How do you anticipate OCI changing the container technology landscape?
Aside from helping accelerate adoption, I believe that the clear architectural lines we are creating in OCI will help foster innovation around the core technology. I’d like to see better componentization, so that we aren’t required to ship a single binary that does too many things, like building, transporting, running and orchestrating containers; each of these should be their own discrete technology piece. The industry wants to be sure that all of this base technology has a neutral steward like OCI, so keeping tools with a narrow focus and combining them is a proven way to build better sustainable technology stacks. This should allow for both stability and innovation.

What do you believe the benefits of using a runtime and image spec based on the OCI standard are for hosting providers?  For small ISVs, application developers? For end users?
Being compatible with the OCI standard will mean that you know, as a content author, that your application is portable and that you can attest to having authored it. As a user, you can digitally trust the content and know that it will run on your preferred, compatible platform. Vertically integrated stacks risk locking-in users and fragmenting producers, and that stalls the entire ecosystem.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining OCI?
Like any collaborative open source project, the most important thing to do is get directly involved. Your contributions are welcome, especially when it comes to bringing your experience as either a creator or consumer of container technologies. We want to get a diverse set of inputs so we can build the most robust technology stack. I’d also tell any newcomer to OCI that we want commitment to the project’s success from all involved. That means being consistently active as well as prepared to clearly communicate your ideas and listen to others’ input to help us collectively find the best path forward.

OCI Member Spotlight: Google

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The OCI community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies that are committed to creating open industry standards around the container image format and runtime. This blog series highlights OCI members and their contributions to building an open, portable and vendor neutral specification.  

Name:  Sarah Novotny
Title:  Senior Program Manager, Kubernetes Community
Company: Google

Why did you join OCI?
Google joined the OCI to help accelerate the innovation and adoption of Cloud Native development patterns across the industry. One of the framing tenants of Cloud Native application development is to be container packaged. Open standards around “What is a container and how do I interact with it?” are crucial to building an ecosystem of projects and companies around Cloud Native development.

One of our contributions to this ecosystem is Kubernetes, an open source project which began at Google and moved to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as the founding project. In helping create the CNCF, and supporting the work of the OCI, we are firmly siding with users. This enables diversification within the stack, bringing more innovation and stronger solutions.

How is your organization involved in OCI?
We participate technically with software engineer Jason Bouzane sitting on the Technical Oversight Board (TOB) and as an image specification maintainer, and senior software engineer Vishnu Kannan is active in the OCI’s technical development community. We also participate on the Trademark Board and in the Certification Working Group.

What are the aspects of the runtime spec and/or image format spec that you are looking forward to most for your company?
Clearly defined and open standards. Defining specifications allows for more projects and companies to experiment with container-adjacent technologies.

How do you plan to use the runtime spec and/or image format spec?
Kubernetes and the Google container services such as Google Container Registry and Google Container-VM Image will support the OCI standards to further the multi-vendor and multi-cloud strategy our customers are prioritizing.

How will these specifications help your business?
Open specifications will create the possibility of a richer choice of container runtime environments for our cloud customers. New container runtime environments that offer unique performance or security capabilities will make container orchestration technologies accessible to a broad array of workloads.

Additionally, specifications will help the software vendor community by providing stable targets for the packaging of their applications which will further increase the set of technologies that can run in cloud native computing environments.

How do you anticipate OCI changing the container technology landscape?
To allow deep innovation and choice for cloud consumers, we need clear edges on composable technologies defined by standards to foster experimentation. Different approaches to consumer challenges and needs can only flourish if there are common expectations. The OCI standards and certification work builds that contract between technology builders and technology consumers around standards, certification and a community to evolve both.

What do you believe the benefits of using a runtime and image spec based on the OCI standard are for hosting providers?  For small ISVs, application developers? For end users?
There are many benefits from defined standards. For example, portable workloads limit vendor lock-in and give end-users freedom of choice. Additionally, standards will encourage a healthy ecosystem of compatible and composable tools addressing specialized or non-standard workloads.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining OCI?
Participate and have your voice heard. The OCI community needs your input to understand what benefits *you* will have from standardization and where *you* want to see innovation and the ecosystem develop.

developerWorks Webcast Recap: Open Container Initiative at 12 months

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Last month, the Open Container Initiative (OCI) was the featured topic of one of IBM’s developerWorks Open Tech Talks. Nearly 1,400 participants joined the live webcast to hear panelists from Docker, Red Hat, Microsoft, The Linux Foundation and IBM discuss the OCI’s activities, tools and goals after one year.

Technical leaders of OCI discussed topics including:

  • The progress the OCI has made over the last 12 months
  • The latest state of the runtime and image format specifications
  • Open source code that is available for reference implementation and tooling
  • The organizational structure of the OCI and opportunities to get involved with the community
  • An overview of the certification working group and the value in a certification program focused on the OCI runtime spec
  • The key factors for establishing a certification program for container technology

The webcast also included a brief demo of OCI tooling (including runc), followed by an open Q&A with attendees.

A video of the webcast along with the slides presented and a full transcript are available at https://developer.ibm.com/open/videos/open-container-initiative-at-12-months/ for those who were unable to make it!

OCI Member Spotlight: Intel

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The OCI community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies that are committed to creating open industry standards around the container image format and runtime. This blog series highlights OCI members and their contributions to building a portable, vendor neutral, open industry specification. 

Name: Anush Krishnamurthy
Title: Sr. Software Engineer & Manager
Company: Intel Corporation

 

Why did you join OCI?
With enterprise data centers seeking the agility and efficiency of containers for their cloud environments, the need for standards is critical. The Open Container Initiative (OCI) is a key part of our strategy to help accelerate easy-to-deploy cloud solutions into this market segment, and we look forward to working with other cloud leaders on delivery of standards that address container based environments. Through our participation, we hope to enable silicon technologies to enhance the container ecosystem.

How is your organization involved in OCI?
Intel is a founding member of the OCI and supports the industry effort to create container standards. I am the technical face of Intel in the OCI, and I participate in discussions and also code in the community. I also represent Intel at the Technical Oversight Board (TOB) meetings for Runtime and Image Format and review changes submitted by the various contributors, including Intel.

Intel® Clear Containers 2.0, part of Intel’s Clear Linux Project for Intel® Architecture, now supports the draft OCI runtime specification. With Docker 1.11 supporting the runtime-specification project via runC, Intel® Clear Containers 2.0 can now be seamlessly integrated into a Docker installation, even cohabiting in parallel with the traditional Linux Containers runtime.

In the future, we look forward to enhancing the specification in order to enable the host to best fit containers to the underlying hardware infrastructure.

What are the aspects of the runtime spec and/or image format spec that you are looking forward to most for your company?
The greatest value of the OCI specs are to drive portability of containers across different environments. In the future, we look to advancing the OCI projects to provide improved security and to take better advantage of the underlying infrastructure.

 How do you plan to use the runtime spec and/or image format spec?
Intel’s Clear Linux Project for Intel® Architecture and Clear Containers supports the draft OCI runtime specification. We plan to create cloud reference stacks to work with with the OCI specs to help drive broad industry adoption. Our networking and storage solutions will evolve to support OCI and help make container engines become platform aware to better support workload requirements.

How will these specifications help your business?
Container standards will help customers easily deploy and manage their workloads across clouds. As a supplier of silicon for cloud data center infrastructure, Intel is committed to helping grow the overall cloud market segment.

How do you anticipate OCI changing the container technology landscape?
Container standards will help developers, DevOps professionals, IT and service providers to more easily deploy and manage workloads.  This will create more choice for where workloads can be run.

OCI also has the potential to enable open source and commercial software stacks to be deployed efficiently across clouds (private, public, hybrid, etc.).

 What do you believe the benefits of using a runtime and image spec based on the OCI standard are for hosting providers?  For small ISVs, application developers? For end users?
Standards will help drive broad adoption and deployment of containers by service providers and enterprises. This will provide ISVs, application developers and IT more choices to set up and run containerized applications in any cloud.

For application developers, OCI will help with packaging complex software and deployment across disparate clouds. ISVs can focus on more value add by having a clean and standardized foundation layer (need not worry about base layer) with containerized software based on the OCI specifications. Container standards will open up the market and allow cloud service providers to compete on value adds. OCI gives end users more choices as to where the workloads will run. End users can deploy anywhere and focus on other factors such as security, governance, cost, etc.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining OCI?
Join the community and get behind an industry effort to set open standards for container evolution. We need a diverse set of perspectives to make OCI as impactful as possible. Diverse roles and diverse personas bring valuable perspectives into the standard.

OCI Member Spotlight: Microsoft

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The OCI community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies that are committed to creating open industry standards around container formats and runtime. This new blog series highlights OCI members and their contributions to building a portable, vendor neutral, open industry specification.  

Name: John Gossman
Title: Partner, Azure Engineering
Company: Microsoft

Why did you join OCI?
Microsoft listens to our users and cloud users want solutions that are open and widely backed and supported by a broad community of vendors and other users. We see OCI as providing the basis for adoption of stable container technologies that meet these user requirements.

How is your organization involved in OCI?
Microsoft is one of the founding members of the organization. We have representatives who are contributors and maintainers on the runtime and image spec and a seat on the Technical Oversight Board. Rob Dolin, senior program manager and technical diplomat at Microsoft Cross-Platform Interoperability team, is chair of the Trademark Board Certification Program Working Group.

What are the aspects of the runtime spec and/or image format spec that you are looking forward to most for your company?
The interoperability and compatibility promises of the specs will make building higher-level tools and services that work together easier.

How do you plan to use the runtime spec and/or image format spec?
We will support the specs as part of our cloud offerings on Linux, Windows and potentially other operating systems. We will also use our particular expertise to ensure Windows Server Containers and related tooling can use the same format specifications.

How will these specifications help your business?
We believe that open source and standard specs will accelerate container and cloud adoption. We also build container-based services and software that will benefit from the interoperability of the OCI specs.

How do you anticipate OCI changing the container technology landscape?
Stable technologies enable faster innovation higher up the technology stack. We believe OCI will enable a wide range of orchestration, monitoring, packaging, deployment and other tools and runtimes. OCI is only the beginning; it is almost impossible to imagine all of the new container-based technologies that will emerge in the next few years.

What do you believe the benefits of using a runtime and image spec based on the OCI standard are for hosting providers?  For small ISVs, application developers? For end users?
For all parties, OCI promises portability, compatibility and interoperability. Because of the broad support of the open source community, nobody needs fear vendor lock-in.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining OCI?
OCI can only succeed if it addresses the needs of all parties. So come on in, the water’s fine!

New Image Specification Project for Container Images

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The OCI recently formed the open container Image Format spec project. This project is tasked with creating a software shipping container image format spec with security and federated naming as key components.

This represents an expansion of the OCI’s first project, OCI Runtime Spec, that focuses on how to run containers. Industry leaders are collaborating to enable users to package and sign their application, then run it in any container runtime environment of their choice – such as Docker or rkt. With the development of the new OCI Image Specification for container images, both vendors and users can benefit from a common standard that is widely deployable across any supporting environment of the user’s choice.

“The OCI was formed in a vendor-neutral setting with industry leaders to come together on container standards,” said Chris Aniszczyk for the Open Container Initiative at The Linux Foundation. “With the formation of the OCI Image Format project we celebrate an important milestone that is fulfilling what the group intended – to develop a standard image format that vendors and users can all widely use and benefit from.”

The OCI Image Format Spec project celebrates project maintainers and the OCI Technical Oversight Board (TOB) members, representing individuals and industry leading companies. Project maintainers contributing to the Image Format Spec project include Vincent Batts, Red Hat (TOB member); Jonathan Boulle, CoreOS; Jason Bouzane, Google (TOB member); Brendan Burns, Google; Stephen Day, Docker; Brandon Philips, CoreOS; and John Starks, Microsoft. Additionally, TOB members include: Michael Crosby, Docker; Pavel Emelyanov, Virtuozzo; John Gossman, Microsoft; Greg Kroah-Hartman, The Linux Foundation; Dr. Diogo Monica, Docker; and Chris Wright, Red Hat.

“We are happy to work with a strong technical community of maintainers in the OCI Image Spec to standardize how container images are built,” said Brandon Philips, chair of the OCI Technical Oversight Board and CTO of CoreOS. “With this important step forward in the development of common standards, this is a win for users and will drive the continued adoption of containers in modern infrastructure.”

Member comments on the new project:

“Over the past few years, Docker and its partners have been working towards decoupling and securing the container image format,” said Dr. Diogo Monica, member of the OCI Technical Oversight Board and Security Lead at Docker. “We are excited to be working with the OCI technical community on delivering an image format that can be used in a wide variety of scenarios. We believe the current layered approach to the OCI specification strikes a good balance between base and optional layers, ensuring the OCI can be a platform for future innovation in container technology.”

“Developing a standard and open container format is vitally important to the future of enterprise IT,” said Florian Leibert, Co-founder and CEO, Mesosphere. “The work of the OCI will give organizations the peace of mind to focus on fundamental questions, such as how to operate their datacenters or how to architect modern applications, knowing their containers will be portable between whichever technologies they might choose.”

“Nutanix warmly endorses the OCI initiative as our customers across the world transition from complex IT systems to simple, no-lock in, enterprise cloud architectures. We believe natively enabling seamless application mobility across a variety of virtualization and container environments is foundational to the next generation of IT clouds.  The OCI will play a key role in harmonizing multiple efforts and accelerate adoption of the new cloud native architectures.” – Binny Gill, Chief Architect.

“We are excited that the OCI Image Format will enable workload portability not only across different clouds, but also across different container runtime environments,” said Darren Shepherd, Chief Architect of Rancher Labs. “We look forward to supporting the OCI Image Format standard in our Rancher container management platform.”

“Standards are incredibly important to our enterprise customers. They ensure interoperability and protect our customer’s technology investments,” said Rob Lalonde, VP Market Development – Navops, Univa. “We at Univa are excited about participating in the Open Container Initiative, the formation of the open container image format specification project and the strong team of project maintainers.”

“Having the OCI provide this container image specification is essential to enabling the portability, security and naming of containerized workloads for our mutual customers. It is great to see the collaboration across vendors to enable vendor neutrality and end user choice,” said Mark Peek, Vice President Principal Engineer of Cloud-Native Apps, VMware.

“Today’s announcement of the formation of the OCI Image Format project further delivers on the OCI’s goals of bringing a standardized container format to customers, ultimately helping to enable more nimble and responsive organizations,” said Barton George, Senior Technologist – Office of the CTO, Dell.  “Dell is proud to be a member of the Open Container Initiative and its work to bring this powerful technology to a broader range of customers.”

“Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, believes deeply in the potential for containers to transform application development and deployment. We welcome the addition of the new image format specification project to the Open Container Initiative, adding cryptographically secure image integrity and authenticity and a global federated namespace for images. Together these offer trust and scalability for container image creation, distribution, and execution,” said Chris Wright, Vice President and Chief Technologist at Red Hat.

The Open Container Initiative is an open governance structure for the express purpose of creating open industry standards around container formats and runtime. Projects associated to the Open Container Initiative can be found at https://github.com/opencontainers. Contact the project maintainers on IRC at #opencontainers. Contact the Linux Foundation about the OCI at info@opencontainers.org.