Google previews Docker support for Compute Engine

Docker for Compute Engine will integrate with Google's existing container technology

Docker, the Linux app container technology taking the IT world by storm, keeps extending its reach. Now Google has announced an open preview version of Docker containers for Compute Engine virtual machines.

The preview consists of what Google describes as a "container-optimized OS image" -- a version of Debian 7 bundled with the Docker runtime and additional software for managing containers. Users can provide a list of containers to be created whenever that OS image boots; containers created at boot time are monitored and restarted if they fail.

But don't plan on building any kind of critical infrastructure on top of Google Cloud Platform's Docker support just yet. Google warns that the project is still an open preview, meaning it could change radically in future incarnations to become backward-incompatible, "and it is not covered by any SLA or deprecation policy."

Google has been using its own breed of containerization for some time now, and Docker is only the latest addition. In a slide deck presented at GlueCon 2014, Google Cloud Platform's senior staff software engineer Joe Beda explained how all internal operations at Google runs in a container of some sort to keep them isolated, predictable, and accountable. In place of Docker, Google created a custom containerization system, called Let Me Contain That For You (LMCTFY), which has since been released as open source. Rather than scrap the existing system, which already had a methodology and set of processes attached to it, Google will include Docker as part of its functionality.

Most of the recent momentum behind Docker has come by way of Red Hat, with its ambitions to make Docker a cornerstone of its enterprise IT strategy. While Red Hat is incorporating Docker into an existing open source ecosystem, Google is mainly adding support for Docker to its proprietary ecosystem -- albeit one that runs and uses a great deal of open source.

Still, Google's move is strong evidence not only of Docker's assured place in IT, but of Google's determination not to let a wave of this magnitude pass it by.

This story, "Google previews Docker support for Compute Engine," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.