Google Previews Docker Support On Compute Engine

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Google is testing support for containers on its cloud infrastructure service, as interest in the Docker project grows

Google is testing out support for the increasingly popular Docker container technology in its Google Compute Engine cloud infrastructure service.

The open preview gives developers a container-optimised OS image that includes Docker and an open source agent to manage containers, Google said.

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Contained format

Containers are a way of deploying applications in a self-contained format that can be easily moved from server to server, while using fewer computing resources than a fully fledged virtual machine (VM): while a virtual machine includes a full operating system, a container shares the OS of its host, meaning it can be initiated more quickly and can deliver higher performance than a VM. Docker, released as open source last year, automates the process of deploying applications in containers, and has quickly gained in popularity in recent months.

Google’s container OS image includes Debian 7, the Docker runtime, an open source metadata framework and an agent that creates and manages containers based on the metadata, Google said.

Users can provide a list of containers to be created whenever the OS image boots, with containers monitored and restarted if they fail, Google said. Google also added support for the CoreOS Linux distribution for running Docker containers in distributed computing environments.

Containers at Google

The offering is still a preview, meaning it could change significantly, with no guarantee that later versions will be compatible with what’s currently being made available, Google said.

At the GlueCon developer conference in Denver last week, Google said it already runs more than 2 billion containers per week, using its own container automation technology.

Docker has recently gained momentum thanks to support from Red Hat, while Amazon Web Services added the ability to upload Docker images last month, via its Elastic Beanstalk application hosting service.

In a February release, Docker added native support for Mac OS X users for the very first time.

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