CoreOS Linux Released as 'World's First OS as a Service'
By Barry Levine / Mobile Tech Today. Updated June 30, 2014.
A Linux distribution that updates itself. That's the idea behind the new commercial Linux product from CoreOS, called CoreOS Managed Linux.
The service will begin at $100 a month for up to 10 servers, and, as co-founder and CEO Alex Polvi told news media, enterprise users should think of the new service "as the last migration they will ever need." As with other open-source companies that provide additions and services around open-source software, the CoreOS fee is intended to cover fixes, updates and tech support, not the free core software. CoreOS runs from the cloud or can be managed on-premises.
The company described CoreOS Managed Linux as "the world's first OS as a service," with patches delivered as an ongoing stream of updates. The OS is intended to use 40 percent less RAM than most Linux server installation, and is designed for very large scale deployments.
The software supplied by CoreOS will be renewed through a streaming service that will not require IT departments to schedule downloading and implementation of update packages. A CoreUpdate dashboard allows administrators to determine which parts will be updated in this fashion. If there are issues, admins can utilize a rollback feature.
CoreOS, a built-from-scratch OS designed for massive server deployments, uses the newly popular Docker virtualized containers for all applications. A partition approach allows the existing OS version to continue running in one area, while another version is being updated.
Docker CTO and founder Solomon Hykes said that CoreOS "is providing an innovative approach to running Docker on an exceptionally lightweight, easy-to-update, minimal OS."
Earlier this month, Docker 1.0 was released. It's the first release version of the open-source container project, which allows multiple applications to run on one server without virtual machines. Traditional virtual machines virtualize everything, from processor to storage, while containers share OS kernels and don't have to deal with handling hardware virtualization.
On its Web site, Core OS described the dashboard as providing "a window into how many machines are online, what versions they are running and the overall health of your clusters." Upstream CoreOS channels are available for assignment as groups of machines as a default.
On Monday, CoreOS also announced it had completed an $8 million Series A funding.
"This is a big day for us," Polvi said in a statement, given the announcement of both the funding and the Managed Service.
In its announcement, CoreOS cited analyst Mike Abbott from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which led the Series A funding round.
"The technology behind CoreOS is game-changing," he said. "CoreOS is solving infrastructure problems that have plagued the space for years with an operating system that not only automatically updates and patches servers with the latest software, but also provides less downtime, furthering the security and resilience of Internet architecture."