The Open Container Initiative Adds 11 Members, Releases Draft Charter

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At OSCON today in Portland, the Open Container Initiative, an industry initiative aimed at creating open industry standards around container formats and runtime, announced 11 new members, a working container specification, and a new draft charter that is open to comments from the container community.

The OCI is the new name for the Open Container Project, which was launched last month from Docker, Amazon, VMware, Google, Microsoft, Red Hat and several other companies. The name change was due to there already being a Linux Foundation project using the three letter acronym OCP.

New members announced today include AT&T, ClusterHQ, Datera, Kismatic, Kyup, Midokura, Nutanix, Oracle, Polyverse,, Sysdig, SUSE, Twitter and Verizon. These companies represent a broad cross section of participants in the container ecosystem.

The rapid proliferation of container-based solutions across tens of thousands of enterprises has brought industry leaders together on OCI to create a standard container format and runtime that ensures a high level of container portability and interoperability.

Tenko Nikolov, CEO of cloud host Kyup, said, “Improvements in container technologies in recent years already organically began the process of a new standard to be widely supported all around major cloud vendors, thus making it incredibly easy for tech professionals to run their web projects in the way that best fits their own needs, rather than those of the provider. We are especially enthusiastic about joining our efforts into developing this process even further with the OCI project and helping to accelerate its mission to give software engineers even more flexibility and freedom.”

Docker Enterprise Marketing VP David Messina said in an interview with The WHIR, that the choice to make the announcement at OSCON partly had to do with putting the specification in front of around 4,000 open-source developers for suggestions and scrutiny that would strengthen their work.

“The maintainers of the project have really hit the ground running to the point where they’ve already published the specification to GitHub, and soliciting comments from the community,” Messina said. “It’s at the point where it’s not just something they’re working on internally; they’re soliciting very active commentary from the open-source community.”

And the commitment to community collaboration is also seen in the organization’s draft charter, which Messina said is focused on creating a “light-weight governance model”. It includes two oversight boards: one for technical oversight to deal with technical issues that arise, and another around trademark and certification that will become more important as consumers start to look for “OCI compliant” solutions.

“[OCI compliance] means the end-user will know their workloads that are containerized will benefit from complete portability from one infrastructure to the next, knowing that that infrastructure is OCI certified, so I’d say that’s the key part of it,” Messina said.

“On the implementer side, it’s not so much the compliance that’s important for them per se, but that the entire industry knows that we’re working with one common standard so nothing has to be reworked. Everyone can focus on one, common solution.”

Messina notes that OCI members are doing today could be fundamentally important for the future of container technology. “The most clear parallel example is TCP/IP. We have the same expectations here for OCI that it will become the base foundation layer or building block for a whole evolutionary ecosystem…It’s certainly fair to say that 20 years from now we’ll still be benefiting from the collaboration happening here.”

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