OpenStack Zun Debuts New Approach to Cloud Containers

BARCELONA – OpenStack loves containers, or so it seems. At the OpenStack Summit here today I learned of yet another new OpenStack container effort. The new effort is called Zun and it’s being led by the Hongbin Lu of Huawei Technologies.

The basic promise of Zun is to fill the gap from where the first OpenStack container project called Magnum ends. Lu explained that Magnum is reallyOpenStack Zun just a system for deploying a container orchestration system, like Kubernetes, Mesos or Swarm. Magnum provides provisioning as well as scaling capabilities. Magnum also has security feature and serves as a certificate authority and can also generate OpenStack Keystone users.

The overall mission statement of Magnum has changed recently too. Lu said that originally the goal of Magnum was to be a containers service. The official mission statement originally was to provide a set of services for management of application containers in a multi-tenant cloud environment.

Magnum has now been changed and is a Container Infrastructure Management service with the new mission to provide a set of services for provisioning, scaling and managing Container Orchestration Engines (COEs).

Zun in contrast is an abstraction for container life-cycle management with a simple API across different container technologies. Lu explained that Zun provides a sandboxing approach that enables a container.

It’s an interesting idea though it’s all very confusing. In one way, Zun kinda/sorta feels like the old Nova-Docker API, though Lu said that it’s not.

It’s also something that can already be done with Ubuntu’s LXD, which is also an open-source effort that works well with OpenStack. That said, there are organization that won’t run LXD just because they don’t care for Ubuntu, and for them, I suspect Zun (might) one day provide a viable alternative.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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