News from Red Hat might have some development organizations panting. The company in mid-April unveiled a release candidate of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 with support for Docker, the open source container framework for deploying applications on virtually any platform.
The tool wraps apps in a portable, lightweight run-time that can execute on laptops, desktops, servers, clusters, hypervisors and even bare metal. Docker can be used to package and automate deployment of applications, databases and back-end systems. Docker is also now part of Red Hat's OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service product.
Expected sometime later this year, RHEL 7 will incorporate Fedora 19 and be built around Linux kernel 3.10, the upstream kernel released last June that added support for timerless multitasking, block caching from SSDs and the ARM mixed-CPU architecture. It also changes the default file system to XFS, which supports hard drive volumes as large as 500 TB and integrates with Active Directory. In beta since December, the release candidate was made available on April 15.
Perhaps foreshadowing the increase in collaboration between Red Hat and Docker, former Red Hat Vice President of North America channel sales Roger Egan left in January to become Docker's senior vice president of sales and channels. More significant for solution providers is Red Hat's embrace of the container model, which helps facilitate deployment of new applications to existing servers without the need for added memory, storage, virtualization or other resources.
As a precursor, Red Hat earlier this year launched LXC, a Linux user space that includes tools, libraries and a certification program designed to help with the creation of Linux containers for applications and systems and ensure that they're OK for deployment across certified container hosts.
Linux containers have many of the attributes as full-fledged virtual machine but lack most of the resource baggage. According to the LXC website, its goal is "to create an environment as close as possible [to] a standard Linux installation but without the need for a separate kernel." Solution providers can get access to the program by registering with Red Hat's partner early access program.
PUBLISHED MAY 1, 2014