How Rackspace’s container platform is different

Unlike Amazon, Rackspace’s container offering runs on bare metal

carina
Credit: rackspace

Unsurprisingly, Rackspace has joined the legions of other cloud vendors supporting application containers with a new service named Carina.

But what is interesting is Rackspace’s approach: The managed cloud company is offering customers the opportunity to run Docker application containers on bare metal – meaning not in virtual machines that use a hypervisor.

+MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: Is anyone actually using containers? +

Many other cloud providers – most notably Amazon Web Services and VMware – have resisted offering bare metal servers, mostly because using virtual machines allows them to either run their infrastructure more efficiently (in the case of AWS), sell more hypervisors (VMware), or use their existing management tools. There are pros and cons to running containers on bare metal and virtual machines, and arguments on both sides. Read more about some of those arguments here.

rackspace carina chart social media v3 Rackspace

Eventually Rackspace will offer three flavors of container hosting: Bare metal, virtual machines and dedicated bare metal.

With Carina, Rackspace is offering bare metal servers, but it isn’t necessarily giving customers access to the whole server. Servers are hosting multiple containers, and potentially mixing containers from various customers on the same server. Rackspace promises to use OS-level isolation techniques to keep customer container environments separate. Customers have the option of running container orchestration software like Docker’s Swarm or Kubernetes on top of Carina. Eventually Rackspace says it will add the option of running the containers in VMs, or access to an entire server, for a premium cost.

Rackspace announced the beta launch of Carina at the OpenStack Summit in Tokyo this week. Read more about Carina in Rackspace’s blog.

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