How the Open Container Project will transform computing infrastructure

Gray Calendar Icon Published: June 22, 2015
Gray Calendar Icon Updated: September 11, 2019

Today Rancher Labs joins a group of industry leaders to create the Open Container Project(OCP). With OCP, the Docker container format and container runtime form the basis for an industry standard.

At Rancher Labs we decided early on to focus on developing our Rancher and RancherOS products specifically for Docker, even though the underlying technology can apply to other container formats as well. We are so excited about OCP because we can now focus on delivering the best user experience with a singular container standard knowing it will be supported by every major vendor in the industry. While the computer industry has created many standards, perhaps not since the establishment of W3C and HTML has the industry created a standard with the potential impact of OCP. Just like HTML revolutionized web publishing and transformed the Internet, OCP will revolutionize application publishing and transform IT. The big winners with the establishment of OCP are the millions of developers who were the early adopters of Docker technology. These developers, often thought leaders in their organizations, promoted Docker with so much passion. Soon all application and system vendors began to hear from their customers the same question: “When are you going to support Docker?” The lineup of major computing infrastructure vendors in OCP is testament to the power of developers. In his article “The geek shall inherit the earth: The age of developer-defined infrastructure,” Docker investor and Greylock partner Jerry Chen makes a compelling case that:

“Developers are making decisions on how, what, and where their applications should run.\”

We completely agree with Jerry’s assessment. We also like the term application defined infrastructure because it recognizes the role operations team will continue to play in application deployments. There was a time when application developers dictated the infrastructure choices. Software installation guides from 10 years ago, for example, used to spell out the server configuration, network setup, and storage requirements. Organizations could then choose infrastructure implementation from a variety of vendors who offered compatible products. Recent developments in cloud infrastructure have, ironically, resulted in far fewer choices of infrastructure for application developers. Cloud vendors are not compatible with each other, forcing application developers to write software that adapts to the characteristics of the underlying infrastructure provider. With Docker containers, developers can again focus on building the best application experience unconstrained by infrastructure limitations. Docker images capture application logic, whereas Docker Compose templates capture infrastructure requirements. Based on Docker Compose templates, Rancher can then build and operate application-defined infrastructure. Since Rancher creates container infrastructure out of universally-available Linux servers, infrastructure becomes a commodity. Application developers have freedom to write software independent of infrastructure concerns and then choose the right infrastructure vendor to run their applications.

With the increasing popularity of Docker, the demand for application-defined infrastructure continues to rise. OCP will accelerate the transition process. We look forward to working with industry leaders and other startup companies to make OCP a success and bring the benefits of application-defined infrastructure to organizations around the world.

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