OpenStack is evolving around an overriding theme: Container technology is fast becoming the most useful and flexible ingredient in the do-it-yourself enterprise private cloud stack.
For the latest evidence, consider the news from OpenStack vendor Mirantis and container maven CoreOS. The latter is prepping its Tectonic technology, which delivers CoreOS's container-centric Linux and its associated offerings using Google's Kubernetes container-management system, as a certified Mirantis OpenStack addition.
In a joint press release, CoreOS said Tectonic would bring "enterprise-grade support and manageability to anyone looking to combine the agility of OpenStack with the portability of Kubernetes and containers," while Mirantis emphasized how this deal would make it "even more accessible for companies running OpenStack to get started with the CoreOS stack and Kubernetes."
Mirantis and CoreOS aren't the only ones who've been working to reorient OpenStack around containers. Canonical and Red Hat have both offered editions of OpenStack with container integration, the former with its own container technology, and the latter via a closer integration with containers across all their products.
Making OpenStack into a container-management solution isn't merely about staying abreast of the latest trend in software management. For one, it's easier for a company to extract value from OpenStack, since getting value out of the investment is as broadly cited an issue as setting up OpenStack in the first place. It also simplifies the actual work with OpenStack, since it can focus on applications directly instead of the support structures around them.
Tectonic fits perfectly in this process. Its components -- installer, updater, management console, API tooling, and so on -- bring to mind the collections of support tools that have come to surround OpenStack as well and make it easier to deploy.
The more OpenStack becomes a container solution, the better a chance it has of retaining relevance in the world of containers, especially as other ways -- perhaps easier and better ones -- to run containers come forward. Piston CloudOS is one such example, geared to manage OpenStack, containers, and bare metal side by side. With so many choices around, OpenStack will need more than container support alone to remain appealing.