Docker Extracts and Donates containerd to Community Project
January 04, 2017

Docker is spinning out containerd (Con-tay-ner-D), a core component of Docker Engine, and donating it to a new community project.

While Docker Engine is a complete container platform for end-users and includes the Docker API, Docker commands and services, containerd is a component that provides the industry with an open, stable and extensible base for building non-Docker products and container solutions. Cloud providers Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Service (AWS), Google, IBM and Microsoft have committed to providing maintainers and contributors to the project.

The capabilities of containerd include methods for transferring container images, container execution and supervision, low-level local storage and network interfaces, across both Linux and Windows. containerd fully leverages the Open Container Initiative’s (OCI) runtime, image format specifications and OCI reference implementation (runC) and will pursue OCI certification when it is available. Users can start contributing to the containerd project today and collaboration and contribution will be done in the open with strong support from third-party maintainers.

“This is the result of months of close collaboration and input from thought leaders in the Docker community,” said Solomon Hykes, founder, CTO and Chief Product Officer at Docker. “containerd will unlock a whole new phase of innovation and growth across the entire ecosystem, which in turn will benefit every Docker developer and customer. Docker’s focus has always been on solving users’ problems first and then spinning out the plumbing projects that address those challenges along the way. We are excited by the support that the containerd project is getting from the leaders in the industry and we know their backing of resources will fuel the growth of this collaborative project.”

Docker’s donation of containerd aligns with its history of making key open source plumbing projects available to the community. This effort began in 2014 when the company open sourced libcontainer. Over the past two years, Docker has continued along this path by making libnetwork, notary, runC (donated to the OCI), HyperKit, VPNkit, Datakit, swarmkit and Infrakit available to the community as well. containerd’s charter is for a limited feature scope that stabilizes over time with the explicit goal of being used by Docker and extensible to all container systems and leading orchestrators. The result will be a “boring” infrastructure plumbing component shared across systems, allowing Docker and those in the container ecosystem to drive user-facing innovations.The project will follow a community-defined release process that emphasizes quality over new features and will be branded separately from Docker.

"Technology organizations are increasingly looking to containers as the route to rapid application development and deployment across multiple environments at scale for their future growth, and compatibility across the ecosystem is a key consideration,” said Fintan Ryan, industry analyst with RedMonk. “In donating containerd to the container ecosystem, Docker is providing standardized core components for the wider community to build upon. This standardized core gives developers reassurance in their technology choice by ensuring a stable and compatible experience across any infrastructure."

The containerd repository is open today and ready for comment and contribution.

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