In a move that further consolidates the enterprise Linux market, Red Hat has entered an agreement to acquire CoreOS Inc., makers of the formerly eponymous tiny Linux distribution geared toward containers. CoreOS Inc. also offers the Quay container registry, a Kubernetes distribution known as Tectonic and maintains the etcd key-value store that is core to the operation of the Kubernetes open source container orchestration software.
Red Hat will pay approximately $250 million for CoreOS, and expects to close the deal by the end of the month.
This move will bring all 130 CoreOS employees under the Red Hat tent. The move could be surprising for Linux watchers, as the two companies had competing efforts to offer slimmed down, container-focused Linux distributions. The real story probably has more to do with Kubernetes, however: Red Hat placed Tectonic and Kubernetes at the front of all of its lists of reasons and questions about the proposed acquisition. In the press release announcing this acquisition, Red Hat specifically called out CoreOS as an innovator in Kubernetes and container-native solutions.
CoreOS, the company, was founded to pursue a vision of a smaller Linux distribution for use in virtual machines and with containers. Since that founding in 2013, the company has pushed towards container management and enabling the transition to microservices. Along the way, the company also created its own container engine known as rkt, which was donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), and was a fundamental component to the Open Container Initiative (OCI) standard.
Today, the original view of a tiny Linux has been mostly subsumed by Alpine Linux, while CoreOS has pivoted to focus heavily on Tectonic and Kubernetes as a whole.
At the Amazon re:Invent conference in 2015, CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi said, “We want to ensure businesses have the ability to scale their applications in containers by using Kubernetes on AWS. The combination of Kubernetes, CoreOS, and AWS is another step forward in helping companies reach hyperscale.”
CoreOS eventually renamed its operating system to Container Linux. “Container Linux,” said Polvi speaking in 2016, “has this capability around automatic management and updates and patches. We call this self-driving infrastructure; this concept that Container Linux is always up to date with the latest upstream features.”
— brianredbeard (@brianredbeard) January 30, 2018