CoreOS Brings Docker Container Tech to DigitalOcean

The barrier to entry for full-scale, high-availability Docker deployment has now been lowered to $5 a month.

Docker container virtualization

Docker has emerged in the last year to become one of the most talked about virtualization technologies, but getting it up and running can take some effort. Today, CoreOS announced that its Docker-focused Linux distribution is freely available as an image that can be deployed on the popular DigitalOcean cloud service, lowering the barrier to entry and the cost, for getting up and running.

DigitalOcean, one of the fastest growing cloud vendors, offers users services for as little as $5 a month that run on fast solid-state drives (SSDs). In March, DigitalOcean announced its Series A round of funding, bringing in $37.5 million from investors, including venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Users deploy what DigitalOcean refers to as "Droplets," which are virtual instances of operating systems. The new partnership now brings the CoreOS operating system as an image that DigitalOcean customers can easily deploy as a Droplet.

"Similar to DigitalOcean’s other OS offerings, users simply choose the CoreOS image on the Droplet creation page and can spin up a CoreOS server instantly," Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS, told eWEEK.

CoreOS is a purpose-built operating system for the deployment of Docker container virtualization technology that got started in August 2013. In June of this year, CoreOS announced a Series A funding round, which raised $8 million. On July 25, CoreOS delivered its first stable release, building on top of the project's existing alpha and beta release development efforts.

The new partnership with DigitalOcean is not about any specific revenue- or lead-generation type of activity, Polvi said. "By adding support of CoreOS, DigitalOcean is opening the doors for developers to start exploring all the benefits of CoreOS," he said.

CoreOS isn't just a freely available Linux operating system; there is also a commercial offering. The Managed Linux service from CoreOS, which launched in June, provides customers with a managed operating system as a service technology.

Managed Linux will now be available on DigitalOcean, as well, Polvi said.

While the core of CoreOS is Docker container virtualization technology, there is more to the operating system. CoreOS has clustered server capabilities with a technology called "etcd." With a clustered server deployment, multiple servers are connected together for high availability, backup and failover capabilities. For DigitalOcean customers, that will likely mean more than one Droplet will be deployed.

"You can use CoreOS just fine on one machine, but a cluster is going to be multiple Droplets because a cluster is innately multi-server," Polvi said.

Going a step further, for ensuring availability, DigitalOcean offers users multiple regions in which to host a Droplet: San Francisco, New York, London, Amsterdam and Singapore.

"As of right now, we primarily give you high availability in each region, yet a lot of people have had success with multiple CoreOS clusters in different regions," Polvi said. "This is technically possible."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.