Google Offers CoreOS On Compute Engine Cloud

Google’s decision to offer the lightweight and open source CoreOS operating system will further differentiate the company’s cloud platform by empowering developers to efficiently launch large-scale server deployments, Google's cloud partners told CRN.

The latest feature of Google's cloud allows partners and end users to rent virtual machines running the new Linux distribution on Compute Engine, Google's Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering. CoreOS is a minimal, modern operating system architected to run massive clusters.

Brandon Philips, CTO at CoreOS, announced the new feature for Google Compute Engine as a guest blogger on the Google Cloud Platform Blog.

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"Google is an organization that fundamentally understands distributed systems, and it's no surprise that Compute Engine is a perfect base for your distributed applications running on CoreOS. The clustering features in CoreOS pair perfectly with VMs that boot quickly and have a super-fast network connecting them," Philips wrote.

Virtual machines running CoreOS on Google's servers will empower users to connect front-end and back-end services to managed storage applications and databases, Philips wrote.

Google's channel partners tell CRN the CoreOS offering is another example of how the Google cloud is differentiating itself as a platform for developers.

"They have a unique developer-focused go-to-market strategy, and we really see this as a great benefit to companies looking to build highly resilient and scalable applications in the cloud," said David Hoff, CTO of CloudSherpas, a born-in-the-cloud Google partner based in Atlanta.

That mentality differs from most of Google's competitors in the virtual machine market, according to Hoff.

"Google is looking at the opportunity from a very different perspective. They don't see the need to distinguish between Platform and Infrastructure; they want to provide all the rich tools that developers need to create and manage modern cloud applications," Hoff told CRN.

Simon Margolis, senior cloud platform engineer at SADA Systems, told CRN the Los Angeles-based Google reseller is excited to see CoreOS, and the open source Docker engine for launching virtual machines, introduced to Compute Engine.

"While the Compute Engine service has provided support for distributed computing and clustering since its inception, the addition of CoreOS means far greater flexibility, ease of deployment, and effortless maintenance for distributed clusters," Margolis told CRN.

As a lightweight operating system with emphasis on cloud clustering, CoreOS creates opportunities for SADA to design for its customers more complex solutions, he said.

"While we've seen the fantastic benefits our customers have realized by leveraging the performance and reliability of the entire Google Cloud Platform, we cannot wait to aid our customers in taking full advantage of the additional speed and scalability of applications on this new offering," Margolis told CRN.

Applications running on CoreOS can use Docker to automate the deployment of containers -- virtual machines that can be rapidly launched to run specific workloads. Docker provides a flexible and portable solution to run applications in several environments, from bare metal to public and private clouds.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global in Westborough, Mass., told CRN that by expanding the variety of operating system options available through Compute Engine, Google is demonstrating that it wants to compete on more than just price.

"Google is giving customers options, increasing the value of its services," Falcon said.

Hoff, of CloudSherpas, also praised Google’s support for open standards like CoreOS and Docker. By getting behind open source solutions, Google is allowing its partners to avoid "the lock-in commonly associated with many IT services," Hoff told CRN.