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Google reveals the Chromium OS it uses to run its own containers

Dumps Debian as preferred OS for running Docker and Kubernetes

By Simon Sharwood, 16 May 2016

Google's decided the Chromium OS is its preferred operating system for running containers in its own cloud. And why wouldn't it – the company says it uses it for its own services.

The Alphabet subsidiary offers a thing called “Container-VM” that it is at pains to point out is not a garden variety operating system you'd ever contemplate downloading and using in your own bit barn. Container-VM is instead dedicated to running Docker and Kubernetes inside Google's cloud.

The Debian-based version of Container-VM has been around for a while, billed as a “container-optimised OS”.

Now Google has announced a new version of Container-VM “based on the open source Chromium OS project, allowing us greater control over the build management, security compliance, and customizations for GCP.”

The new Container-VM was built “primarily for running Google services on GCP”.

We therefore have here an OS built by Google to run Google itself, and now available to you if you want to run containers on Google, which is of course a leading user of containers and creates billions of them every week.

It's not unusual for a cloud provider to offer tight integration between their preferred operating systems and their clouds. Amazon Linux is designed to work very well in Amazon Web Services. Oracle wants you to take it as Red all the way up and down its stack. We also know that Windows 2016 Server's container-friendly Nano Server has powered Azure since 2016.

So Google's not ahead of the pack here. But it does now have a rather stronger container story to tell. ®

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