Google Announces General Availability of Container Engine

Businesses looking to run Docker containers on Google's cloud platform will be able to manage and orchestrate their container cluster using Container Engine.

Google's Container Engine service for managing Docker containers on its cloud platform has become generally available, meaning it is now fully backed by the company's service-level agreements and other policies.

Starting today, businesses seeking to run Docker containers on Google will be able to fully manage and orchestrate their container cluster using Container Engine.

Google announced Container Engine last year as a cluster management and orchestration tool for Docker containers. It's been available on a beta basis to businesses for the past several months.

Application containers, like those from Docker, give developers a way to bundle an application, along with all its associated configuration settings into an independent, platform-agnostic software capsule.

Developers can choose to put separate application components into a cluster of individual containers and then run and manage the cluster as a whole.

One of the most touted benefits of container technology is that it boosts application portability and delivery. Containers developed in one environment can run equally well in another without the need for any change; as a result, developers do not have to worry about the underlying infrastructure when developing an application.

Enterprises have flocked in growing numbers to Docker container technology, in recent times pushing Google and other cloud vendors to quickly build support for the technology on their respective platforms.

Google's Container Engine is a Docker cluster manager and orchestration system that is based on the open-source Kubernetes orchestration technology. Google describes it as a service that lets developers schedule containers into a cluster and manage them automatically to their own specification. Container Engine lets developers set up a managed container cluster, equipped with capabilities like logging and container health checking, in a matter of minutes, according to the company.

Container Engine supports what Google describes as a declarative management feature that essentially lets developers, declare in simple terms, their requirements for a particular container or cluster. Using a simple JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) configuration file, developers can declare their container requirements, such as the amount of CPU or memory to reserve and the number of replicas to make.

"Container Engine will schedule your containers as declared, and actively manage your application to ensure requirements are met," Google notes in its description of the technology.

Containers are not new to Google. "Everything at Google, from Search to Gmail, is packaged and run in a Linux container," Google product manager Craig Mcluckie, said in a blog post announcing the general availability of Container Engine. "Each week, we launch more than 2 billion container instances across our global data centers." He added that Container Engine represents the best of Google's experience with containers.

In addition to enabling support for Docker on its cloud platform, Google also is working on ensuring that it can support other, potential rivals to Docker in the coming years.

Google engineers are currently engaged with their counterparts from companies, such as Docker, CoreOS, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM, in an effort called the Open Container Initiative. The goal is to create a common container image and run-time standard to avoid the possibility of businesses becoming locked into a single vendor's technology in the future.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.