OpenStack Foundation backs 'virtualized containers', for security's sake

'Kata Containers' blends every-container-gets-a-kernel tech from Intel and hyper.sh

Kata containers
Kata containers: every container is fully isolated with its own kernel

The OpenStack Foundation has made good on its promise to start helping complementary projects by adopting every-container-gets-its-own-kernel projects run by Intel and hyper.sh.

The new project, known as “Kata Containers”, will combine Intel's Clear Containers and Hyper runV and give each container a kernel in order to enhance separation and therefore security.

The OpenStack Foundation (OSF) told The Register it's backing the effort because container security isn't optimal in multitennant environments. As many of OpenStack's largest and most prominent users run substantial clouds, the organisation felt it appropriate to help get Kata Containers off the ground.

The project will, however, have its own brand and governance independent of the OSF. That separation was chosen because the Foundation doesn't want secure containers for multitennant environments to be perceived as tied to OpenStack, or to cloud operators.

Containers photo via Shutterstock

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When The Register last assessed Clear Containers we couldn't help but think that a container with its own kernel is really just a virtual machine by another name. The OSF isn't helping matters by calling Kata Containers “virtualized containers” in its launch statement. Nor does the organisation shy away from the fact that each Kata container gets “only the bits of a VM that you ned for security and isolation.”

OSF's also asserted that Kata containers' underpinnings are so light, they'll feel just like containers and be faster than containers running in full VMs. Vendors and projects that support containers in VMs have often told The Register exactly the same thing!

Kata containers inherit their contributors ability to play nice with Kubernetes and Docker, which will just see them as vanilla containers.

The OSF said the project will first work on an Agent, Runtime, Proxy, Shim, Kernel and packaging of QEMU 2.9. ®

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