Joyent's Triton ships Docker containers on cloudy bare metal

'Container native' infrastructure does away with VMs


Cloud outfit Joyent has launched Triton, a new software and service offering that provides what Joyent describes as "container native infrastructure," where the Linux container – not a server or a VM – is the atomic unit of hosting.

"In a sentence (albeit a wordy one), Triton lets you run secure Linux containers directly on bare metal via an elastic Docker host that offers tightly integrated software-defined networking," Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

What that means is that Triton allows developers to deploy Docker containers directly to the cloud in the abstract, rather than to any specific instance or machine. The Triton software handles resource provisioning behind the scenes, freeing IT departments from that level of administrative overhead.

The hosted version, known as Triton Elastic Container Service, deploys containers on Joyent's public cloud with per-minute billing.

The same tech is also available for building private clouds in customers' own data centers, via the Triton Elastic Container Infrastructure software.

Triton is the second container-as-a-service offering from Joyent. While the firm's first-generation Docker container service ran containers inside VMs, as most cloud providers do, Triton runs them on bare metal for better performance.

Joyent achieves this because of the unique nature of its infrastructure. Rather than building its cloud entirely out of Linux, Joyent based its Triton Container Hypervisor on SmartOS, a homegrown open source platform that's derived from OpenSolaris.

In the past, SmartOS has used KVM virtualization to spin up VMs in Joyent's cloud. Triton, on the other hand, uses the older and arguably superior "Zones" technology – which SmartOS inherits from Sun Solaris – to launch containers without running them on a hypervisor.

Specifically, SmartOS takes advantage of "LX-branded Zones," a tech that provides Linux emulation inside Zones. LX-branded Zones began life as a Sun project ages ago, Cantrill said, but it needed substantial work before it could run on modern SmartOS systems. After much hammering, however, Joyent now has it up and running – including support for 64-bit guests, which had previously been missing.

Building Triton on SmartOS also provides additional advantages, such as the ability to use Sun's highly respected DTrace debugging technology on Linux applications running in Docker containers.

Joyent has also added another layer called "sdc-docker," which provides an end point to the Docker Remote API. In other words, the service looks like Docker to a developer, but resource provisioning and instantiation of containers is actually managed by SmartDataCenter, Joyent's own cloud management software.

This Docker emulation code doesn't yet implement the full Docker API and there are some differences between its behavior and that of stock Docker, Cantrill said, but for the most part it should provide a familiar, cloud-native interface for experienced Docker users.

"From a Docker developer perspective, having a Docker host that represents an entire datacenter – that is, a (seemingly) galactic Docker host – feels like an important step forward," Cantrill wrote.

Triton Elastic Container Service for Docker, Joyent's hosted version of the software, has been available in a limited preview version since early March. On Tuesday, Joyent expanded access to include (with luck) anyone who wants to sign up. Joyent engineer Casey Bisson has posted a walk-through demonstrating how to spin up containers on the company's cloud here, and per-minute pricing information is available here.

Customers who are interested in running a Triton Elastic Container Infrastructure stack in their own data centers, on the other hand, should contact Joyent for additional information. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Microsoft's do-it-all IDE Visual Studio 2022 came out late last year. How good is it really?

    Top request from devs? A Linux version

    Review Visual Studio goes back a long way. Microsoft always had its own programming languages and tools, beginning with Microsoft Basic in 1975 and Microsoft C 1.0 in 1983.

    The Visual Studio idea came from two main sources. In the early days, Windows applications were coded and compiled using MS-DOS, and there was a MS-DOS IDE called Programmer's Workbench (PWB, first released 1989). The company also came up Visual Basic (VB, first released 1991), which unlike Microsoft C++ had a Windows IDE. Perhaps inspired by VB, Microsoft delivered Visual C++ 1.0 in 1993, replacing the little-used PWB. Visual Studio itself was introduced in 1997, though it was more of a bundle of different Windows development tools initially. The first Visual Studio to integrate C++ and Visual Basic (in .NET guise) development into the same IDE was Visual Studio .NET in 2002, 20 years ago, and this perhaps is the true ancestor of today's IDE.

    A big change in VS 2022, released November, is that it is the first version where the IDE itself runs as a 64-bit process. The advantage is that it has access to more than 4GB memory in the devenv process, this being the shell of the IDE, though of course it is still possible to compile 32-bit applications. The main benefit is for large solutions comprising hundreds of projects. Although a substantial change, it is transparent to developers and from what we can tell, has been a beneficial change.

    Continue reading
  • James Webb Space Telescope has arrived at its new home – an orbit almost a million miles from Earth

    Funnily enough, that's where we want to be right now, too

    The James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most complex space observatory built by NASA, has reached its final destination: L2, the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, an orbit located about a million miles away.

    Mission control sent instructions to fire the telescope's thrusters at 1400 EST (1900 UTC) on Monday. The small boost increased its speed by about 3.6 miles per hour to send it to L2, where it will orbit the Sun in line with Earth for the foreseeable future. It takes about 180 days to complete an L2 orbit, Amber Straughn, deputy project scientist for Webb Science Communications at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said during a live briefing.

    "Webb, welcome home!" blurted NASA's Administrator Bill Nelson. "Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work ensuring Webb's safe arrival at L2 today. We're one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe. And I can't wait to see Webb's first new views of the universe this summer."

    Continue reading
  • LG promises to make home appliance software upgradeable to take on new tasks

    Kids: empty the dishwasher! We can’t, Dad, it’s updating its OS to handle baked on grime from winter curries

    As the right to repair movement gathers pace, Korea’s LG has decided to make sure that its whitegoods can be upgraded.

    The company today announced a scheme called “Evolving Appliances For You.”

    The plan is sketchy: LG has outlined a scenario in which a customer who moves to a locale with climate markedly different to their previous home could use LG’s ThingQ app to upgrade their clothes dryer with new software that makes the appliance better suited to prevailing conditions and to the kind of fabrics you’d wear in a hotter or colder climes. The drier could also get new hardware to handle its new location. An image distributed by LG shows off the ability to change the tune a dryer plays after it finishes a load.

    Continue reading
  • IBM confirms new mainframe to arrive ‘late’ in first half of 2022

    Hybrid cloud is Big Blue's big bet, but big iron is predicted to bring a welcome revenue boost

    IBM has confirmed that a new model of its Z Series mainframes will arrive “late in the first half” of 2022 and emphasised the new device’s debut as a source of improved revenue for the company’s infrastructure business.

    CFO James Kavanaugh put the release on the roadmap during Big Blue’s Q4 2021 earnings call on Monday. The CFO suggested the new release will make a positive impact on IBM’s revenue, which came in at $16.7 billion for the quarter and $57.35bn for the year. The Q4 number was up 6.5 per cent year on year, the annual number was a $2.2bn jump.

    Kavanaugh mentioned the mainframe because revenue from the big iron was down four points in the quarter, a dip that Big Blue attributed to the fact that its last mainframe – the Z15 – emerged in 2019 and the sales cycle has naturally ebbed after eleven quarters of sales. But what a sales cycle it was: IBM says the Z15 has done better than its predecessor and seen shipments that can power more MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second) than in any previous program in the company’s history*.

    Continue reading
  • Earthquake halts operations at two of Toshiba's chip factories

    6.6-rated rumble joins fire, snow, plague, and trade war as source of recent semiconductor supply chain SNAFUs

    A 6.6 magnitude earthquake that hit southwestern Japan around 1:00 AM last Saturday has led to the closing of Toshiba’s Oita semiconductor plant.

    The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the 'quake may have caused significant shaking, making it difficult to walk unassisted and causing items on shelves to fall.

    The agency also warned that more tremors and earthquakes could occur in the immediate days following the seismic activity.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022