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CenturyLink Promotes Open-Source PaaS; Cloud Server Sales Roll in Faster Than Forecast

July 20 brings two more signs of enterprise cloud migration. The first, and more concrete: Research firm Dell’Oro Group declared in its “Server 5-Year Forecast,” released today, that cloud data centers will generate all the growth in server shipments by this year, and reach 50 percent of the market by 2017, a year sooner than expected. 

Sarneh Boujelbene, director at Dell’Oro, was quoted attributing the uptake to “a declining skepticism of the Cloud among enterprise accounts, and the willingness of Cloud vendors to hear their customers’ concerns,  mainly related to security and resiliency, and to provide platforms to meet their needs.”  Further, the report notes that the “basic definition” of a server is in play, as software servers shrink from virtual machines to smaller, more densely packed (and granularly billed) executable units.

One of those smaller “server” units is a Docker container, which encapsulates everything needed to run an app — code, runtime, system tools, system libraries — except OS.  Docker containers run above a Docker abstraction layer on a Linux or — surprise ! — a Microsoft OS.  Several containers may run one application.

Docker is a solution to the problem of differences between development and production environments, which can cause apps to fail or behave in unexpected ways once deployed.  And as Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Linux writer,  puts it on ZDNet, “Docker gets far more apps running on the same old servers, and makes it easy to package and ship programs from one environment to the next.”  

Docker is also open-source. 

Which brings us to the other cloud migration sign, namely CenturyLink’s announcement of three open-source projects, two of which involve Docker.   Hearing the huge buzz surrounding Docker containerization, CenturyLink’s platform people have responded by creating and offering the open-source community new Docker development tools.  These are:

Lorry.io, a tool for creating, composing and validating Docker Compose files, which in turn allow developers to define an application’s containers, components and configurations in one file, and then run with one command.

ImageLayers.io, a visualization tool for Docker images. (A container is one instance of a Docker image.) With this tool, developers see how each command in a Dockerfile contributes to the final, layered image, and can compare multiple Docker images side by side.

CTL’s third new tool was a Chef provisioning driver for vSphere, VMware’s cloud.  Chef is a configurataion management tool for automatically provisioning and configuring new virtual machines.

The goal here is promoting use of CenturyLink’s platform-as-a-service among developers.


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