Rkt container runtime leaves the launchpad

CoreOS blasts off for planet production in the microservices nebula

CoreOS has decided that rkt, its open source container, is fit for production purposes and therefore ready to fly as version 1.0.

Rkt is an alternative to Docker's file format and runtime that, as we wrote at its launch, tries to knock off Docker's rough edges with special attention to security while making it possible to run containers inside very small packages.

CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi outlined that vision back in December 2014, gained support from Intel in August and is this week told The Register he thinks the dream's now been realised.

“We have done a ton of work to refine and get the product working really well and tested,” he said, citing “stability on APIs and operating interfaces” as the key things to get right because they mean apps won't go looking for things that aren't there and fall over as a result.

Polvi thinks there's enough developer and enterprise enthusiasm for containers in general that an alternative runtime will be welcome – a bet he's not alone in making given there's also an open container project and VMware's having a waft with Project Photon. He also thinks that there are still battles to be won in container-land: Kubernetes has just about become the standard for orchestration but he thinks other pieces of the stack are up for grabs.

Even if rkt doesn't dominate, CoreOS hopes to coin it with tools like the monitoring, networking and container registry code it's concocted.

Containers remain a hot technology, because they're enabling the world's largest technology companies to operate more comfortably at extraordinary scale and they hint at productivity improvements for anyone that codes and deploys applications. The cost of those gains is trust in an extraordinary degree of complexity tamed by automation. What could possibly go wrong with that? Polvi thinks not much and that once businesses less exotic than today's container crowd put the technology to work they'll quickly appreciate the benefits, whether they use rkt or the alternatives. ®

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