Linux container technology is getting lots of attention for its ability to solve technical challenges, and now VMware is teaming up with Docker and Google to take it deeper into the enterprise.
On Monday at its VMworld conference, VMware also took the wraps off Project Fargo, a technical preview aimed at letting containers run inside virtual machines faster and more efficiently than they can today.
Containers are seen as a potential threat to VMware's virtualization business because they provide similar benefits without the performance overhead of a guest operating system. With Fargo, VMware is aiming to show it can combine the speed and convenience of containers with the security and management benefits of virtual machines.
"Now enterprises have a safe, secure, managed way to deploy containers without changing anything about their infrastructure," VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a press conference at VMworld Monday. "Now developers can take advantage of delivering apps in a lightweight way."
VMware said it's also working to boost interoperability between its virtualization and management software and that of Docker, a San Francisco-based startup that's building a business around the open source Docker framework.
Docker has become popular in large part because it allows apps to be moved easily between different clouds, and it's also used to package and automate deployment of applications, databases and back-end systems.
While many enterprises already use Docker, it requires a fair amount of knowledge to work with. VMware believes its deep experience in the enterprise market is just what Docker needs right now to expand its market reach.
"Docker is the leader in defining the container model, and they are looking at a partnership with us as a way to make containers viable for enterprise developers as well," Gelsinger said.
VMware is also boosting Docker support on its vCloud Air public cloud and helping out on Docker-related open source projects libswarm, libcontainer and libchan.
While containers have emerged very quickly in the cloud market, Gelsinger said the technology isn't new. What's new is the business case, and that's still in its early stages, he said.
"How many of you were talking about containers six months ago? It was almost nothing," Gelsinger said in the press conference.
VMware is also working with Google on Kubernetes, an open source manager for Docker containers that the search giant uses to manage its own container infrastructure.
VMware plans to offer Kubernetes' patterns, APIs and tools to customers, and it'll work with Google to support Kubernetes in its vSphere software. VMware is also contributing code to the Kubernetes project.