Red Hat announced on Jan. 30 that it is acquiring privately-held container Linux and Kubernetes vendor CoreOS, in a deal valued at $250 million.
CoreOS was founded in 2013 and had raised a total of $48 million in funding including a $28 million round that was announced in May 2016. In an eWEEK video at the time of the funding, CoreOS co-founder and CTO Brandon Philips said that the business was growing well.
Both Red Hat and CoreOS are active contributors to the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration platform that was first created by Google, and both vendors have their own platforms that were directly competitive with each other. Red Hat's OpenShift platform was re-focused on Kubernetes in January 2015 and CoreOS entered the market with its Tectonic platform in April 2015, after re-working its Fleet container cluster technology.
"Our goal from day one was to deliver Google-like infrastructure to enterprises, and what better way to do that than use a component that was introduced by the Google team," Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS, told eWEEK when Tectonic was first announced.
CoreOS also has its own Linux distribution that was originally known as CoreOS Linux and was re-branded as Container Linux in December 2016. CoreOS' Linux distribution, like Tectonic, was also directly competitive with Red Hat's Linux operating system. Red Hat now sees CoreOS's products as being complementary with its own.
"CoreOS can further extend Red Hat’s leadership and influence in the Kubernetes upstream community and also bring new enhancements to Red Hat OpenShift around automated operations and management," Red Hat stated in an FAQ on the acquisition.
Red Hat is now also positioning Container Linux as being complementary to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and Red Hat's integrated container runtime and platform, though Red Hat will continue to focus on its own Linux distribution for new customer deployments.
"Red Hat Enterprise Linux's content, the foundation of our application ecosystem will remain our only Linux offering," Red Hat stated. "Whereas, some of the delivery mechanisms pioneered by Container Linux will be reviewed by a joint integration team and reconciled with Atomic."
Rkt Container Engine
In addition to its Kubernetes efforts, CoreOS also was one of the main vendors that challenged Docker's container engine dominance. In December 2014, CoreOS launched the Rkt (pronounced Rocket) container engine as an effort to displace Docker.
The Rkt effort led to the formation of the Open Container Initiative (OCI) in June 2015, which Red Hat also backed, to help create container runtime standards. In March 2017, rkt along with Docker's containerd runtime effort officially became Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) projects. For it's part, Red Hat has backed its own runtime effort called CRI-O that is loosely based on containerd. It's not currently clear, if Red Hat will continue CoreOS' rkt efforts at the CNCF.
"We see tremendous opportunity as we join Red Hat given our shared open source philosophies and complementary product portfolios," CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi wrote in a blog post. "Like CoreOS, Red Hat is a recognized leader in open source container technology. "
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.