SUSE, one of the three major Open Source companies, has announced full support for Docker in production environments. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) already comes with Xen and KVM hypervisors which makes it a great fit in virtual and cloud environments. With the arrival of full support for Docker, SUSE customers can build, ship and run containerized applications on SLES in physical, virtual or cloud environments.
SUSE is not a newcomer to container technology. As George Shi, Product Marketing Manager at SUSE, told me: “SUSE supported Docker as a technology preview in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 when it was originally available last October. This week’s announcement is about full support for Docker in production environments.”
He further added: “SUSE has been involved in container technologies and development since 2012, focusing efforts around LXC and its integration into the operating system and tools. SUSE has a team focusing on Docker and has created some unique features, such as the YaST module for easy starting, and Portus, the on-premise Docker registry user interface featuring authentication and role-based access.”
The future is not ‘contained’, it’s open
Docker, and other container technologies, are changing the market landscape by challenging the traditional ‘virtualization’ players. These technologies have been around for a while but as the market is transforming, containers are becoming more and more dominant. And open source is playing a pivotal role.
A recent Red Hat survey found that “open source remains the dominant platform in the container world, with more than 95 percent of respondents planning container development on the Linux operating system.”
SUSE’s full support for Docker will make SLES attractive for such customers.
Docker creates an Open Container Project
SUSE’s announcement coincides (or not) with an announcement by Docker to create the Open Container Project (OCP), aimed at establishing common standards for software containers. This move was much needed in the container space and it brings together ‘rivals’ and partners alike.
The founding members of the OCP include CoreOS, Amazon Web Services, Apcera, Cisco, EMC, Fujitsu, Goldman Sachs, Google, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Joyent, the Linux Foundation, Mesosphere, Microsoft, Pivotal, Rancher Labs, Red Hat, VMware and, obviously, Docker.
SUSE: To dock or not to dock?
SUSE is missing from this list and so is their involvement with CoreOS. When I inquired about their plans with these two competing technologies, Shi said: “SUSE has an open attitude toward technologies that make sense for enterprise customers. We currently support Docker and are evaluating other options. The Open Container Project was just announced at DockerCon, and SUSE plans to take part in that effort.”
When I asked about SUSE’s opinion on container technologies, Shi said: “SUSE has supported Linux containers since 2012 and has gained a lot of experience with the technology. It is a fast-changing landscape, especially in the application containers area. As with many other new technologies, there is a gradual adoption curve among enterprise users. SUSE is addressing this in several ways: 1. with enterprise-ready features such as trusted source of image repository, on-premise registry, and authentication; 2. with virtualization freedom of choice together with other virtualization technologies (such as dual hypervisor support) in SUSE Linux Enterprise; and 3. with easy-to-use tools such as YaST integration and Portus, a GUI front end and authentication tool for on-premise registry. With our past experience in Linux containers and our ongoing focus on enterprise customer requests, SUSE is bridging the gap between the latest innovations and their readiness and availability for enterprise use.”
SUSE’s current Docker offering supports x86-64 servers with support for other hardware platforms in the works. Integration with SUSE Manager for lifecycle management is also planned.