CoreOS and Docker started out as close partners, with CoreOS Container Linux designed to be the ideal operating system for hosting massive Docker deployments.
But a rift emerged in 2014 with CoreOS introduced rkt -- pronounced "rocket" -- a rival container standard, or runtime.
Rocket never significantly threatened Docker's status as the de facto standard for what a container looks like, even as CoreOS put pressure on its "frenemy" further up the stack with its Kubernetes platform.
"The Docker Engine is still the default runtime for both the open-source Kubernetes project and OpenShift," BoxBoat's Kinard told CRN.
But the Red Hat deal could relaunch rocket, aided by Kubernetes recently having released the Container Runtime Interface which allows swapping the Docker engine for alternatives without again compiling code.
"We may see a new emergence of the rkt runtime paired with OpenShift Enterprise," Kinard said.