VMware Doubles Down on Docker Integration with Project Bonneville

by Sean Michael Kerner

VMware brings Docker deeper into ESX with newly announced AppCatalyst and Project Bonneville.

VMware has been publicly supportive of Docker container technology since at least VMworld 2014, when the company announced a partnership with Docker Inc.

VMware advanced its Docker efforts in April with Project Lightwave and Photon in April. Now VMware is going a level deeper with Project Bonneville and AppCatalyst in a bid to build cloud-native applications.

Jared Rosoff, Sr. Director of Product Management at VMware, explained to ServerWatch that App Catalyst is a developer-centric hypervisor and will ship with both Docker and Vagrant integration. AppCatalyst will be free but not open source, as it includes proprietary VMware technology.

Rosoff noted Dockerthat AppCatyst is set to compete with other free alternative desktop hypervisors such as Oracle's VirtualBox, which is open source.

Project Bonneville Does Deep Docker Integration

Project Bonneville is a deep integration of the Docker engine along with the VMware ESX hypervisor.

"To a developer, Bonneville looks just like regular Docker; the difference is that when you start a container with the  Bonneville runtime it actually encapsulates the container into a hypervisor," Rosoff explained. "So every container is isolated with the same guarantees of normal virtual machine isolation."

The idea of running Docker inside of a VM is not a new one. What Bonneville does differently however lies in how it optimizes the process.

Rosoff explained that prior to Bonneville a developer could create a VM that is a Linux host, that is running Docker, and then the developer puts containers into this environment. The challenge with this usage scenario is that when creating the VM the user has reserved some amount of host capacity.

"So before you even run any containers, you have already reserved a bunch of capacity in the data center, that is basically sitting idle in the data center waiting for a container to run," Rosoff said. "Bonneville fixes that problem."

With Bonneville instead of needing to first allocate host capacity for Docker, Bonneville only takes resources when a container is actually starting on a host.

"So now you can have a virtual Docker host that can actually be much larger in its aggregate capacity than any individual physical host," Rosoff said.

Tackling the Issue of Multi-Tenancy

Bonneville also helps to address the issue of multi-tenancy in a more robust way. Rosoff said that with Bonneville, every container is isolated as a VM. It doesn't matter whether the applications are run by the same administrator or a different organization even, each container is isolated.

"So you get a much stronger and deeper security isolation with this model than you would if you were just running Docker alone on a Linux kernel," Rosoff said.

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Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on Monday Jun 22nd 2015
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