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Google signs as OpenStack sponsor

Cross-cloud Kubernetes collaboration caper is Chocolate Factory's hybrid cloud play

Google and the OpenStack Foundation have announced that the former entity has signed as a Corporate Sponsor of the latter.

Corporate Sponsor status is the Foundation's third tier of supporter, below Platinum and Gold. The likes of HP, Intel, IBM and Rackspace have been voted into the top tier, while Gold sponsors include Dell, EMC, NetApp and OpenStack stalwart Mirantis.

Down at the Corporate Sponsor level you'll find more than 100 sponsors, among them VMware, SAP, Oracle, Fujitsu, Lenovo, The Linux Foundation, Citrix and Accenture, to pull out a few of the better-known global concerns on the list, from which it is possible to voted into higher tiers of support.

Why's The Chocolate Factory done it? Containers and hybrid cloud.

Google's principle cloudy rivals Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, IBM/SoftLayer and Rackspace all have decent on-ramps and integration points for on-premises workloads. Google recently announced support for Windows instances but can't match its rivals in hybrid cloud.

Signing up with OpenStack gives it a chance to do that, but in a slightly different way, because Google says its main interest is to get its Kubernetes container orchestration kit working nice with OpenStack. Google's admitted to using containers on a colossal scale and to having developed Kubernetes to orchestrate multiple containers into something that looks, walks and quacks like an application even though its really a whole bunch of containers that enjoy each other's company.

Here's what Google's Craig McLuckie has to say about its intentions:

By joining forces with the OpenStack Foundation we hope to add container-native patterns to the toolbelt of enterprise developers, and improve interoperability between public and private clouds.  We will be working over the coming months with the community to integrate Kubernetes, as well as complementary container technologies, to create a stronger hybrid cloud.

That's not a million miles away from what Microsoft's trying to do with its nano version of Windows server, nor from Pivotal's ambition for application development or VMware's Photon and Lightwave container plan.

So does Google signing up for OpenStack matter? Long story short, yes, and not just because of Google's brand power. The significance of the new alliance is that OpenStack's basically saying its road to containers will be largely guided by Google. Which is good news for those contemplating containers at scale, because OpenStack's sweet spot is in big rigs and Google's expertise is operating at very large scale. Developers therefore have the prospect of a containerisation platform that can meet very stringent demands indeed.

Of considerable interest, down the track, will be how this collaboration impacts network function virtualisation, the idea of service providers spawning virtual machines for customers instead of relying on dedicated appliances for thinks like firewalls (on-premises) or personal video recorders (on customer premises). Whether containers are ready for that kind of job is far from settled. ®

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