Rackspace Introduces Carina For Automating Docker Deployments

From the OpenStack Summit in Tokyo, Rackspace unveiled Tuesday a free service called Carina that offers developers a native environment for deploying Docker containers that automatically scales to meet demand for resources.

Carina, released as a beta program, is built on the backbone of OpenStack, but essentially delivers a container platform divorced from the underlying infrastructure.

"We believe with Carina, we're solving some of the key problems that are preventing mainstream developers and organizations from taking advantage of containers," said Scott Crenshaw, Rackspace's senior vice president for strategy and product.

[Related: Rackspace Introduces Managed Security, Compliance Services]

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Carina allows users to spin up container clusters in seconds with native Docker tools. It's first being launched on the Rackspace public cloud, but eventually will be available to private cloud customers, Crenshaw said.

The new container service is built upon OpenStack components, leveraging the open-source cloud orchestration technology's control over networking, storage and core infrastructure-level components, Adrian Otto, a cloud architect at San Antonio, Texas-based Rackspace, told CRN.

Rackspace, which pioneered OpenStack for the public cloud, has some Docker experience, allowing cloud customers to use Docker Machine, a pluggable API for creating container hosts.

But Carina takes Rackspace's container capabilities to another level.

"With Carina, you get a team of machines that are automatically scaled, that allow you to run containers and not be concerned about when you run out of capacity," Otto said.

Carina automatically leverages available infrastructure assets to create virtual machines by using OpenStack Magnum technology. It allows users to choose their container orchestration engine and compute surface -- virtual machine, bare metal or containers.

By using Magnum as a common underlying component, the user experience is the same across local and cloud environments -- something developers appreciate, Crenshaw said.

It's container as a service, "so users don’t need to know what's in the guts of it," Crenshaw said.

"The real emphasis here is containers are going to be as transformative as virtualization was, but there's a lot of complexity," he said.

Carina not only simplifies that complexity, according to Crenshaw, but allows developers to use the same tools they use to build containerized apps in their development environments.

"Every enterprise is going to have to deal with containers, and so will most developers," Crenshaw said. "We're still in the early days, but the wave seems really big."