Google adds webscale CoreOS to its cloud roster

As of last week week users of Google(s goog) Compute Engine could opt to use CoreOS, a Linux variant designed for huge server deployments and to make OS updates as easy as possible .  GCE users already had access to Debian, Red Hat(s rhat) and Suse Linux and CentOS. (In the non-Linux realm, Windows Server support was added in March.)

The brains behind CoreOS include Alex Polvi, founder of Cloudkick and who joined Rackspace(s rax) when it bought that company in late 2010 and Brandon Philips of Rackspace and Suse Labs founded the CoreOS effort.

Per the CoreOS web site:

The strategies and architectures that influence CoreOS allow companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to run their services at scale with high resilience. We’ve implemented them correctly so you don’t have to endure the slow, learn-as-you-go infrastructure building process.

CoreOS can run on your existing hardware or on most cloud providers. Clustering works across platforms, making it easy to migrate parts of your gear over to CoreOS, or to switch cloud providers while running CoreOS.


CoreOS uses Docker container technology as a key component and according to the CoreOS web site, uses 50 percent less RAM than other Linux disributions.

“Using highly specialized OSs like CoreOS and focusing everything on the application by deploying containers (e.g. via Docker) is a very efficient way of building infrastructure that scales well and has particularly well thought through mechanisms for updates and failover,” said David Mytton, CEO of Server Density, a London-based server management company, via email.

What is even more interesting in his view, is that Google uses containers internally so it appears to be productizing its own practices. Indeed, according to this slide deck, Google starts about 2 billion containers a week.

Sebastian Stadl, CEO of Scalr, a San Francisco-based cloud management company, agreed that this seems an official nod to Docker.

According to the Register, other key CoreOS foundations include the etcd distributed key-value store that links clusters of machines and “Linux mainstay systemd which helps developers command a cluster of CoreOS machines as though they are one system.”

Google is pouring resources into its public cloud effort where Amazon Web Services(s amzn) is the leader. To hear more about its plans and priorities, check out Google SVP Urs Hölzle’s talk at Structure on June 18.

Google SVP and research fellow Urs Hölzle

Google SVP and research fellow Urs Hölzle


Structure Show: Hadoop for the masses?

This week’s guest Raymie Stata, ex-CTO of Yahoo is now CEO of Altiscale, a startup that aims to make its Hadoop-as-a-Service consumable by mere mortals. Stata, also talks up the evolution of search — he was on the Altavista team before Yahoo bought that search technology..

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