Docker gets a GitHub-like repository from CoreOS

The recently purchased Quay.io provides the software and services for CoreOS to run a Docker hub

Chasing the successful hosting model of GitHub, Linux distributor CoreOS has set up an online repository where organizations can store and share their Docker containers.

The company also offers a version of the repository software that can be run in-house for customers who purchase CoreOS' premium support contract.

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CoreOS obtained the hosted repository and software when it recently bought Quay.io.

"The nice thing about Docker containers is that they are somewhat reusable," said Alex Polvi, founder and CEO of CoreOS. The only dependency Docker requires to run is some form of Linux.

An organization could use the repository either by installing the software on its own servers or by using the CoreOS hosted service. Storing containers, or images, in a central location sets the stage for allowing multiple parties, either internal offices or business partners, to easily reuse the images.

Polvi and another engineer from Rackspace first created CoreOS as a stripped-down high-performance Linux distribution specifically designed to run large numbers of virtual servers within a cloud computing service.

One popular use for the CoreOS distribution has been in running Docker containers.

Docker is new virtualization software that is faster and requires fewer server resources than traditional virtual machines because it relies on the host operating system -- Linux -- to carry out many routine functions.

Using Docker, "you eliminate a whole lot of complexity by switching to bare metal and containers -- you eliminate the whole hypervisor level," Polvi said.

Docker requires an administrator to assemble all the needed components for an application within a container, which can be a chore. A repository could provide a central location where prebuilt containers can be stored and reused by multiple parties.

The company behind Docker technology, also called Docker, also runs a hosted repository, where users can store Docker images.

Incorporating a Docker repository in its commercial package makes sense for the CoreOS company. "We always seek open interfaces, but there is a class of customers that seek solutions not components, and that's where our commercial activities are focused. The enterprise registry is part of that," Polvi said.

GitHub served as a model for setting up the CoreOS Enterprise Registry, Polvi said. GitHub, which allows developers to post and share their software projects online, has attracted more than 6.7 million developers contributing to over 14.8 million projects.

Like GitHub, the CoreOS repository will allow developers to publicly store Docker containers, while the company charges a monthly fee for storing containers privately on the service.

A single user can host up to five repositories for $5 per month, or an organization can host up to 10 repositories for $25 per month. More private repositories can be hosted for additional fees.

CoreOS' Premium Managed Service, which includes a copy of the repository that can be installed locally, starts at $2,100 per month for 25 servers.

Two Google engineers launched Quay.io in October 2013. CoreOS won't reveal how many users the Quay.io service has attracted in its short life span, though the service has been used by a number of startups, such as the online shopping company ModCloth and the BitCoin exchange Bex.

The purchase of the New York-based Quay.io also allows CoreOS to expand operations to New York, where it can recruit additional engineers, customer support technicians and other personnel who will be needed as the company grows, Polvi said.

In other Linux distribution news, SUSE has released a new version of its OpenStack distribution, SUSE Cloud 4, which now comes with the Ceph distributed storage system for supporting block, file and object storage within a single cluster.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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