Do you need a container-specific Linux distribution?

It's not enough to use containers, vendors argue that you need a specialized Linux distribution to back it

You've always been able to run containers on a variety of operating systems: Zones on Solaris; Jails on BSD; Docker on Linux and now Windows Server; OpenVZ on Linux, and so on. As Docker in particular and containers in general explode in popularity, operating system companies are taking a different tack. They're now arguing that to make the most of containers you need a skinny operating system to go with them.

Why? (Besides giving them a new revenue stream?)

[ For more background on container technology, read The layman's guide to Docker and  ]

Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS, the first Linux company to seize on the idea of a lightweight, container-friendly Linux, explained: "We think we can make the operating system effectively irrelevant."

How? Polvi realized that since containers isolate applications from the base operating system if something changes in the operating system, it doesn’t mean that the container, or its application, will be affected. Of course, to make certain that's true, you want to make sure the OS only supplies the minimum required services.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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