LinuxCon and ContainerCon, events focused on Linux, containers and open source software, wrapped up this week in Toronto. Here's a round-up of the announcements and insights related to cloud computing that emerged from the meeting.

LinuxCon and ContainerCon are co-located events. That made for an interesting combination this year because Linux is an established technology, which is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. In contrast, containers remain a new and emerging enterprise technology. (Yes, containers themselves are much older, but it has only been in the past three years, with the launch of Docker, that containers are becoming a big deal commercially.)

The two events thus paired discussion of a very entrenched platform, Linux, with one that is still very much in development. But open source, the coding and licensing model behind both Linux and container platforms like Docker, tied everything together.

Here's a summary of major news and insights from the event that matter for the cloud...

Product announcements

LinuxCon and ContainerCon were relatively light on product announcements this year -- a fact that developers will probably find refreshing, since it meant the conversation centered mostly on technology itself.

A couple of cloud-related announcements did cross the wire from the meeting, however. They included:

  • MemSQL and Diamanti announced a partnership that will make MemSQL's automated testing platform available as a container appliance, simplifying deployment in the cloud.
  • The Open Container Initiative (OCI), which is seeking to build industry standards for containers, announced several new members. The members are startups and this is not revolutionary news, but it's a sign of the OCI's continuing march toward (hopefully) standardizing the way containers are designed, deployed and run. That is important for the adoption of containerized infrastructure in public and private clouds.

Insights on the Cloud

Beyond product and partner announcements, LinxuCon and ContainerCon also helped shed light on what's coming next in the open source containerized cloud. There were two key takeaways:

  • Open source is now entrenched in the cloud. That was the message driven home by Wim Coekaerts, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Open Source, in a keynote about how Microsoft uses open source in its cloud offerings, which include Azure. When even Microsoft is embracing open source in the cloud, it's a sure sign that open source is here to stay.
  • Persistent data storage remains a challenge for containers, but there are lots of potential solutions. Several sessions at ContainerCon addressed persistent data strategies for containers. No one has yet introduced a totally seamless data storage solution for containerized infrastructure, which will be necessary to replace all virtual machine workloads with containers. But with so many companies and projects working on this issue, it seems only a matter of time before someone solves it.

The bottom line: Container technology built on Docker may not yet be a hugely important part of enterprise cloud infrastructure. But it is on the way, pushed by the momentum of the open source software ecosystem more generally. Now is the time to start thinking about what containers will do for your cloud.