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November 7, 2014

Joyent and Canonical to open source container technologies

Joyent open sources core technology, while Canonical launches LXD.

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Joyent and Canonical are the latest cloud firms to open source their container technologies.

Joyent, which recently raised $15m in funding, announced a container-based cloud-hosting platform that could be used as the basis for running large-scale, big-data tasks.

Containers are supposed to be lighter and faster alternatives than the full virtual machine hypervisors offered by VMware, Citrix and Microsoft among others.

Joyent will make its SmartDataCenter (SDC) container orchestration software and Manta object storage platform available under an open source Mozilla Public 2.0 licence.

SDC is a container-based orchestration software that runs the Joyent public cloud, while Manta is based on Sun’s Zettabyte FileSystem (ZFS), which can hold massive amounts of data.

The upgrades should make it easier for IT organisations to build hybrid clouds, spanning their own private clouds and the Joyent public cloud.

In a blog post, Joyent’s CTO Brian Cantrill said: "We have long known the transformative power of OS containers, so it has been both exciting and validating for us to see the rise of Docker and the broadening of appreciation for OS-based virtualisation

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"SmartDataCenter and Manta show that containers aren’t merely a fad or developer plaything but rather a fundamental technological advance that represents the foundation for the next generation of computing — and we believe that open sourcing them advances the adoption of container-based architectures more broadly."

Meanwhile, Canonical, a Linux distributor, also launched a secure container-based technology called Linux Container Daemon (LXD), which is said to offer the same speed of Docker.

LXD relies on a number of Linux security technologies, including kernel support for user name spaces and CGroups, as well as third-party Linux security mechanisms Secgroup and AppArmour.

"It’s designed with security in mind, first and foremost," said Dustin Kirkland, Canonical product manager, in a video presentation on the technology.

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