Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Joyent: Encapsulating Linux through Docker into a Zone

[Solaris 11 Launch image, courtesy Oracle]


Virtualization has been available in the UNIX OS world. The creation of users in a time sharing environment, to isolate executable threads from one another as well as protect files in an underlying file system started the journey. The creation of the Virtual File System, where disks could me mounted anywhere in a file system tree (instead of drive letter) revolutionized computing to allow those systems to grow in the shared environment! The creation of "chroot" so an application could run in it's own file system space, made an application "feel" like it is on a dedicated system. The merging of SVR4 into Solaris created a robust multi-processor infrastructure to host multi-user and  multi-tenant systems. The creation of Zones under SVR4 Solaris 10, further extrapolated the original concepts of the UNIX "chroot", isolating CPU, Memory, Users, Storage - effectively making a single instance of the Solaris OS truly multi-tenant. The creation of Branded Zones for Linux and Solaris came later, offering entire operating systems to be encapsulated under Intel and SPARC Solaris systems. Newer proprietary technologies continue to enter the horizon.

[Oracle Linux, courtesy Oracle]
The Linux Problem

People participating in the Linux ecosystem are interested in creating new raw environments,  isolated to their operating system under proprietary Intel processors, to supply a reasonable replacement for mature infrastructure. These replacements constitute very long efforts, which often never really get completed. Veterans understand the benefit of good engineering and can often take systems "to the next level." Vendors like Oracle had taken Linux, ran their applications on top of it, and supplied the patches necessary to keep Linux stable.

Joyent: Zones(KVM and Linux)

Former employees of Sun Microsystems continue to do the heavy lifting in the industry. Network Management wrote about Joyent's efforts to port KVM into Solaris Zones under their SmartOS, based upon Illumos. Illumos originated from Sun Microsystem's OpenSolaris project (which became the basis of Oracle's Solaris 11.)

[Solaris Zone/Container concept, courtesy former Sun Microsystems]

Joyent: Zones(Docker and Linux)

One might expect that Cloud companies who are obsessed with Virtualization like Joyent would continue their quest for a "better cloud". In 2015, Joyent released a presentation on the porting of Docker to encapsulate Linux into a Zone... using the same SmartOS based upon Illumos, which found it's roots in Sun Microsystem's OpenSolaris.

For Joyent, The Cloud means chasing every container technology and integrating it into SmartOS, to give their customers choice, while simultaneously utilizing their infrastructure as efficiently as possible.


SVR4 UNIX and Sun Solaris developers have a long history of virtualization. The success story of Joyent in "Cloud" environments continues to lead the market in vision, taking things which were good but raw, and rolling them into mature facilities which continues to make the computing industry grow!

No comments:

Post a Comment