Red Hat To Buy Google-Backed Container Startup CoreOS For $250 Million

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Red Hat said Tuesday it had agreed to acquire CoreOS, a pioneering developer in the emerging container technology landscape that's backed by Google's investment arm.

The $250 million deal unites the Raleigh, N.C.-headquartered open source giant with a San Francisco-based startup that asserted itself as an early player in the Docker ecosystem with a lightweight Linux distribution geared for running containerized workloads at scale.

CoreOS, with Google's support, later brought to market the first commercial platform for running Kubernetes—a container orchestration technology that has become an integral part of the Red Hat's OpenShift development platform.

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The companies have worked together in recent years, finding common cause in their early embrace of Kubernetes, said Joe Fernandes, Red Hat's senior director for OpenShift Project Management, in a blog post titled "The CoreOS bet."

"One of those companies that also jumped in with both feet was CoreOS. Their commitment to Linux, to Kubernetes and to containers technology mirrored our own," Fernandes said.

Chris Ciborowski, CEO of container-focused Red Hat partner Nebulaworks, said the acquisition could be the beginning of a wave of consolidation in the container space.

"From system integrators with deep container expertise, like Nebulaworks, to platform providers, we are about to see established ISVs and IT tooling companies begin to round out their container capabilities," Ciborowski told CRN.

CoreOS released Tectonic, its Kubernetes platform, in April of 2015 after closing a $12 million funding round led by Google Ventures. Kubernetes was initially developed as an internal project at Google before the internet giant open sourced that technology.

"They have made substantial contributions to Kubernetes, often working together with Red Hat engineers, and they continue that leadership today in the form of both contributions and leadership across multiple Kubernetes special interest groups," Fernandes said of CoreOS.

Red Hat, the industry's largest open source software and Linux developer, decided to dive into containers four years ago.

"We bet big on containers as the future for how applications would be built, deployed and managed across the hybrid cloud," Fernandes said.

That included a vision for Kubernetes to become the "core" of OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service.


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