Kata Containers Project Launches

December 6, 2017

Kata Containers aims to unite the security advantages of virtual machines (VMs) with the speed and manageability of container technologies. The project is designed to be hardware agnostic and compatible with the Open Container Initiative (OCI) specification, as well as the container runtime interface (CRI) for Kubernetes. Kata Containers offers the ability to run container management tools directly on bare metal without sacrificing workload isolation. When compared to running containers on virtualized infrastructure (which is the standard practice today), benefits include increased performance, faster boot time and cost efficiencies.

Intel is contributing Intel Clear Containers technology, and Hyper is contributing runV technology to initiate the project. In addition to contributions from Intel and Hyper, the following companies are supporting the project at launch: 99cloud, AWcloud, Canonical, China Mobile, City Network, CoreOS, Dell/EMC, EasyStack, Fiberhome, Google, Huawei,, Mirantis, NetApp, Red Hat, SUSE, Tencent, Ucloud, UnitedStack and ZTE.

Imad Sousou, vice president and general manager, Open Source Technology Center, Intel said, “Intel is proud to be a part of a project that expands on the vision of security and efficiency established with Clear Containers. Kata Containers combines the security and isolation advantages of existing virtual machines (VMs) with the deployment speed of containers. The project’s runtime and tools look to standardize this approach and help make it easier to realize these benefits across stacks and platforms.”

James Kulina, COO, Hyper added,  “Hyper is proud and excited to contribute runV, our virtualized container runtime technology, as the foundation of the new Kata Containers project. Hyper’s vision from the start has always been to combine the best of virtualization and containerization, in delivering the security of VMs with the speed of containers. We see Kata Containers, as a potential basis for new on-demand container-native services spanning public/private cloud, serverless, and edge computing use cases and look forward to working with the community.”, China’s largest eCommerce platform by revenue, currently offers a container service powered by runV, the technology from that will form the basis for Kata Containers. The service exposes an easy-to-use, Docker-like workflow, so developers who know Docker are able to jump in and deploy apps immediately.

“With virtualized containers, the basis for Kata Containers technology, we are able to provide a container service for our customers to deploy applications in a simple, fast, secure and cost-effective manner,” said Lijing Guo, general manager of JD Cloud Product Management at “Development speed is 3x to traditional IaaS, but with 50 percent cost reduction. We look forward to seeing a community form around this technology to drive it forward.”

The Kata Containers project will initially comprise six components, including the Agent, Runtime, Proxy, Shim, Kernel and packaging of QEMU 2.9. It is designed to be architecture agnostic, run on multiple hypervisors and be compatible with the OCI specification for Docker containers and CRI for Kubernetes.

By combining two of the most well-integrated virtualized container open source code bases and moving the project to open governance, the Kata Containers community will focus on attracting contributors, supporting diverse hardware architectures and driving technology adoption. Contributors can expect to work upstream across multiple infrastructure and container orchestration communities, including Kubernetes, Docker, OCI, CRI, CNI, QEMU, KVM, HyperV and OpenStack.

Called Kata Containers, the new project suggests the Greek word, Καταπίστευμα (“ka-ta-PI-stev-ma”) that translates as “trust something to someone.” The word Kata in Japanese also means a detailed choreographed pattern of movements performed by individuals.

Kata Containers at the OpenStack Foundation

Kata Containers is a container infrastructure project managed by OpenStack Foundation, the home of open infrastructure. While OpenStack users may benefit from the new technology, Kata Containers is an independent project with its own technical governance and contributor base. The Kata Containers community expects to collaborate and target all popular infrastructure providers and container orchestration frameworks in addition to OpenStack-powered clouds.

The OpenStack Foundation provides access to a diverse, global community of 82,000+ members across 187 countries, with the ability to leverage shared administrative and scalable resources, including community management, event management, and dev/test infrastructure.

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