CoreOS opens its Kubernetes power to Azure and OpenStack

Now in new cloud environments, the Tectonic container-based Linux distro is becoming a showcase for Kubernetes projects beyond container orchestration

CoreOS opens its Kubernetes power to Azure and OpenStack
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CoreOS's Tectonic is setting course for new clouds.

Previously available on Amazon's cloud and on bare metal, CoreOS will now be offered for other environments, including Microsoft Azure and OpenStack. All this comes courtesy of a revamped installation system that makes it easier to orchestrate and automate Tectonic deployments  -- and is soon to be offered as open source.

Already managed by Kubernetes, Tectonic also offers new improvements to showcase Google’s project as a mechanism for tasks besides container management.

Setup without fret-up

Tectonic Installer is described in CoreOS's press notes as being able to provide "a repeatable, automated install experience" so that Tectonic can be deployed in multiple environments. The installer is scriptable, implying it can be controlled by automation frameworks like Puppet, Salt, Chef, or Ansible.

Out of the box, Tectonic Installer has support for all the previous environments CoreOS could be deployed to (AWS, bare metal), along with support for Azure and OpenStack. The installer also provides for "custom tagging for AWS resources," a hint that other cloud-specific customizations -- say, for Azure -- will become available or at least will be possible.

Right now, Azure and OpenStack support is only available as a preview. Azure recently added native support for Kubernetes, but CoreOS's overall design -- self-contained, highly self-guiding -- implies Tectonic has no particular dependence on any given cloud's native support for Kubernetes. (AWS also has no native Kubernetes offering, but Tectonic has long been available there.)

Containers were only the beginning

Another set of changes with Tectonic fits into CoreOS's previous efforts to make Kubernetes do more than orchestrate containers at scale.

Quay, the online repository where CoreOS users can store and retrieve container images, can now be used to store and retrieve entire Kubernetes-based application images -- multiple containers and their associated configuration files. And there's a new a plugin for the Helm project, which is a manager for Kubernetes apps packaged in this fashion, so those packages can be obtained from Quay and deployed in any Tectonic environment.

Fast-moving projects like Kubernetes receive constant updates, making it hard to build dependable infrastructure projects with them. Previous versions of Tectonic aimed to resolve this by automatically rolling out updates to Kubernetes across clusters.

CoreOS then expanded on the idea with Operators, a mechanism that uses Kubernetes to manage the delivery of CoreOS components, including updates. The latest additions to Tectonic uses Operators to provide automatic updates for several more of Tectonic's components, such as the Dex ID provider and the Flannel virtual-networking system for automatically managing IP address and port-mapping assignments.

CoreOS originally developed Tectonic as an "opinionated complete picture" for running containers in a distributed environment. Everything from cluster management to container orchestration was to be handled by components provided with CoreOS. That focus hasn't changed, but it now shares space with Kubernetes as a technology for the container ecosystem as much as containers themselves.