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Mesosphere half-year pledge: Fresh DC/OS open source baking

'Exciting changes' for Microsoft's favourite cloud container fabric

By Gavin Clarke, 20 Oct 2016

Mesosphere will open-source new features in its container and cluster management fabric as a leg-up to startups - "Y-Combinator" types.

Ben Hindman, Mesos’s creator, told The Reg that DC/OS 1.9, due by year’s end, would be “almost completely” open - with version 1.10 next year 80 per cent so.

“Every single review cycle we are determining what we want to build in the open and as proprietary,” Hindman said.

Hindman wouldn’t say what new features are coming or what would be open.

He did hint, however, at “exciting” changes in 1.9 that make it easier to build software using native frameworks on top of DC/OS.

Overall direction is multi-region and multi-cloud and running diverse workloads – DC/OS has seen particularly strong adoption in data and analytics.

Hindman’s pledge to throw open new features come after his Mesosphere company opened substantial elements of its DCOS – note, no slash mark - six months ago, in April.

Among those elements the CLI, installation and packaging, and features in networking that included cluster internal load balancing, IP semantics for containers, and the built-in DNS mechanism.

They represented about 20 per cent of Mesosphere’s DCOS that were proprietary.

DCOS and thus DC/OS are founded on Mesos, which Hindman stated in 2009 and donated to ASF in 2010 to become Apache Mesos.

Hindman told The Reg of the continued embrace of open source: “The rule of thumb we are following is if we are introduce this [new feature], would we handicap one of the Y Combinator companies, who have $200,00 dollars in bank from and will spend 99 per cent of that on personal and on AWS?

“The litmus test we use is if this is going to prohibit a Y Combinator company from running our software. If it does, we think long and hard. As it sits today we haven’t done that.”

And it's not just Y Combinator companies. The technology that found fame at Twitter, Apple PayPal and Netflix is gaining a foothold in Microsoft’s customers, Hindman claimed.

Microsoft in April injected DC/OS into its Azure Container Service and joined the open-source DC/OS project, with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and nine others.

Hindman says he expects similar, Microsoft-style custom to flow from the HPE partnership.

Mesosphere will hold bits back, features more value-add features considered enterprise-y – a standard model in open source.

These might include integration with Microsoft’s Active Directory or LDAP, not such a hot requirement for a startup with just a handful of staff.

April’s big open-source code drop had removed critical hurdles to firms downloading and using DC/OS.

Devs had had to download and write their own packaging scripts and figure out their own networking components.

Mesos – the code available under the ASF project – wasn’t enough to get people started, so Mesos in its DC/OS incarnation wasn’t getting in to contention.

Now? “More organisations have been able to play with the software ahead of time,” Hindman said. ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing