Docker to donate containerd to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Mar 15 2017

Today, Docker announced its intention to donate the containerd project to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Back in December 2016, Docker spun out its core container runtime functionality into a standalone component, incorporating it into a separate project called containerd, and announced we would be donating it to a neutral foundation early this year. Today we took a major step forward towards delivering on our commitment to the community by following the Cloud Native Computing Foundation process and presenting a proposal to the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) for containerd to become a CNCF project. Given the consensus we have been building with the community, we are hopeful to get a positive affirmation from the TOC before CloudNativeCon/KubeCon later this month.  

Over the past 4 years, the adoption of containers with Docker has triggered an unprecedented wave of innovation in our industry: we believe that donating containerd to the CNCF will unlock a whole new phase of innovation and growth across the entire container ecosystem. containerd is designed as an independent component that can be embedded in a higher level system, to provide core container capabilities. Since our December announcement, we have focused efforts on identifying the right home for containerd, and making progress in implementing it and building consensus in the community.


Why is the CNCF the right place for containerd?

  1. Given that containerd has been the heart of the Docker platform since April 2016 when it was included in Docker 1.11, it is already deployed on millions of machines; we wanted it to continue its development under the governance of an organization where a focus on containerization is  front and center.
  2. Docker with containerd is already a key foundation for Kubernetes, which was the original project donated to the CNCF; Kubernetes 1.5 runs with Docker 1.10.3 to 1.12.3. Moving forward, we and key stakeholders from the Kubernetes project believe that containerd 1.0 can be a great core container runtime for Kubernetes.
  3. Strong alignment with other CNCF projects (in addition to Kubernetes): containerd exposes an API using gRPC and exposes metrics in the Prometheus format. Both projects are part of CNCF already.

Technical progress and building consensus

In the past few months, the containerd team has been active implementing Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the containerd roadmap. You can find details about progress in containerd weekly development reports posted in the Github project.

At the end of February, Docker hosted the containerd summit with more than 50 members of the community from companies including Alibaba, AWS, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Rancher, Red Hat and VMware. The group gathered to learn more about containerd, get more information on containerd’s progress and discuss its design. You can watch some of the presentations in the containerd summit recap blog post: Deep Dive Into Containerd By Michael Crosby, Stephen Day, Derek McGowan And Mickael Laventure (Docker), Driving Containerd Operations With GRPC By Phil Estes (IBM) and Containerd And CRI By Tim Hockin (Google).

Tim Hockin from Google gave the best summary of the containerd summit.

There is still a lot of work to finish implementing the containerd 1.0 roadmap, our target being June 2017. If you want to contribute to containerd, or embed it in your container system, you can find the project on GitHub. If you want to learn more about containerd progress, or discuss its design, join us in Berlin in March at CloudNativeCon/KubeCon 2017 (more details to follow) or Austin for DockerCon Day 4 Thursday April 20th, the Docker Internals Summit morning session will be the next containerd summit.

The Summit is a small collaborative event for container runtime and system experts who are actively maintaining, contributing or generally involved in the design and development of containerd and/or related projects. Simply submit a PR to add discussion topics to the agenda. If you have not signed up to attend the summit you can do so in this form.

Today we followed the CNCF process and presented a proposal to the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) for containerd to become a CNCF project. If the CNCF TOC votes to accept our donation, we are excited for containerd to become part of the CNCF community!

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