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Red Hat: We've got a corker for Docker Linux locker app hawkers

Check your apps run in containers, earn a shiny certificate

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Red Hat has woken up to the growth of Linux containers – cough, cough, Docker – and has begun certifying applications running in the sandboxing tech.

The Red Hat Container Certification program was announced on Tuesday, and essentially checks that a piece of software can be executed safely and securely in a container on Red Hat's Linux for big biz.

"The container certification verifies that the application is packaged such that it does not impact the security, maintainability or supportability of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux runtime in the Docker container," a Red Hat spokesperson told El Reg via email.

"Applications may work on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and they may be packaged in a Docker format, but that does not mean that they can be properly maintained and supported. This is what the Certified Container program addresses."

Containerization is a way of packaging up applications so that they share the same underlying OS but are otherwise fully isolated from one another with their own CPU, memory, disk and network allocations to work within – going a few steps further than the usual process separation in Unix-y OSes, but not completely down the per-app virtual machine route.

"For an end customer, containers deploy quickly and easily, there's no installation of software, and maintenance can be eased as you get your maintenance from the ISV and the runtime provider so you don't have to worry about trying to figure out which sets of updates you have to apply," explained Red Hat product manager Marty Wesley in a chat with The Reg.

Though various people have implemented containerization before, it has gained in popularity thanks to a startup called Docker, which recently slurped $15m in series-B funding.

"It is certainly amazing the speed they've come along," Wesley said. "I think it speaks to the benefits their technology is delivering. It shows that what they've come up with is innovative and incredibly useful – when you come out with something like that people latch onto it quickly."

Red Hat had previously announced support for Linux containers in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and platform-as-a-service OpenShift via Docker.

Now, this certification program will give software vendors and service providers a way to confidently deploy Docker apps across RHEL. Red Hat is working with several undisclosed companies along with NoSQL database specialist MongoDB to implement support, the company said.

Though the certification doesn't mention Docker in its title, Wesley told us: "Docker is the format we are supporting. We don't know where all of this container technology is going so we're leaving it open if something were to come up in the future."

Companies wishing to apply for the free certification should contact Red Hat. If accepted to the program, they will work with Red Hat product and technology engineers to make sure their app performs well, and will "provide feedback and contribute to the advancement of container strategies in general," Red Hat said. Certification will be available "mid-2014." ®

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