In 2006, VMware released a breakthrough technology named dynamic resource scheduling (DRS), which allowed its virtual machine management software to automatically reallocate virtual machines among different applications based on their load.
A startup founded by some of the VMware team members that helped create the said feature, which was backed by the former CTO of VMware who oversaw the project, is now attempting to bring that same technology natively to application containers.
ContainerX has recently been launched and aims to make a splash at the upcoming DockerCon EU conference in Spain – the semi-annual gathering of all things containers. ContainerX is a year old and has raised $2.7 million, including from backers Steve Herrod of General Catalyst, who is the former VMware CTO, and Jerry Chen of Greylock Partners, also a former VMware exec.
Container hype is running high. Developers have flocked to the technology for more easily packaging applications and running them across various disparate environments. But Karin Kamity, CEO of ContainerX and formerly of NetApp and Citrix, says tools that allow IT operations professionals to manage those containers are still lacking.
According to the company’s leaders, the basic idea of ContainerX is that it aggregates infrastructure resources that containers can be deployed on top of. One of the novel things about the platform is that it is hardware agnostic, meaning that it can control physical bare metal machines, virtualised environments, or even public cloud infrastructure; containers can be launched atop any of those environments while using ContainerX.
Another key to ContainerX is that is allows IT admins to centrally allocate “pools” of containerized resources for individual development teams in an enterprise. This is key, Kamity says, because it creates isolation among the various container pools. That means that if there is a “rogue” container – one that drains compute or network resources – it will not impact other pools of containers.
Kamity is hoping that ContainerX can turn into a central platform for IT ops professionals to manage all of their container workloads – sort of like a vSphere for containers. It will have competition though. Many of the virtual machine management vendors – like VMware, Red Hat and even Amazon Web Services – have rolled out support for containers in their existing management tools. There’s also a whole host of other startups attempting to make similar container management platforms, led by Docker, the company that has been credited with much of the innovation in this budding market thus far.