VMware Teams With CoreOS To Make vSphere, vCloud Air More Developer-Friendly

VMware said Monday it has added support for CoreOS, a Linux distribution optimized for large-scale server deployments, to its vSphere 5.5 and vCloud Air public cloud offerings.

CoreOS is a lightweight Linux distribution that's optimized for use with containers and is fast becoming popular with developers because it's bare-bones and only includes what they need. It's also designed for DevOps, the industry movement toward development and operations teams working closely to speed release of new software.

Google, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and other cloud vendors support CoreOS, and the startup also offers its own managed Linux subscription service.

[Related: Google Brings Linux Containers To Next-Gen Cloud Offerings]

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VMware wants to attract more developers to vCloud Air, and adding CoreOS support could be a way to achieve this.

"By offering enterprises a common platform for running virtual machines and containers, developers gain agility and speed while offering IT teams the control they need," Mark Lohmeyer, vice president of product management and marketing for VMware's Cloud Platform, said in a blog post.

VMware also is working with CoreOS to support its technology in vSphere 6, the latest version of its server virtualization software, according to Lohmeyer.

Linux containers are seen as a potential threat to VMware's server virtualization business, but the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor is developing technology that lets containers run inside of virtual machines.

This approach is better for enterprises because they get better performance and security, while also tapping into add-on technologies from VMware's vSphere partner ecosystem, said Lohmeyer in the blog post.

JP Morgenthal, director of the cloud and DevOps practices at Perficient, a St. Louis, Mo.-based VMware partner, told CRN that CoreOS is a "really elegant" way to deploy high-performance server clusters.

Operating systems from Red Hat or Ubuntu come with "a lot of baggage," but CoreOS minimizes this through the use of containers, Morgenthal said.

"This allows them to keep the minimal OS clean, and make it very secure and easy to manage across a large cluster. The containers actually do all the work and they can be easily migrated across the cluster," said Morgenthal.

Teaming up with VMware means that CoreOS can take advantage of tighter integration with VMware's management tools, according to Morgenthal.

"For CoreOS, VMware is a very powerful tailcoat to ride. If VMware can simplify CoreOS deployment in the enterprise, it makes it easier for groups practicing continuous delivery using containers to request a CoreOS environment.

"Many people have been running CoreOS on VMware for a while now, but something was missing -- mainly performance and full integration with VMware management APIs. Today that all changes," Kelsey Hightower, a software developer and advocate at CoreOS, said in a blog post.

Jason Nash, CTO at Varrow, a Greensboro, N.C.-based VMware partner, said adding CoreOS support is ’an easy win’ that will let the vendor continue its messaging around the importance of DevOps.

"I think VMware just realizes the world is changing. It might not be a fast rush to these container-based technologies for many traditional companies, but it's changing," Nash said.