Microsoft Joins Other Industry Leaders To Create Project For Open Container Standards


Microsoft today joined Amazon Web Services, CoreOS, Docker, and others to create standards around container format and runtime. Docker is  donating its container format, runtime code and specifications to Project.

Microsoft provided the following statement regarding Open Container Project (OCP),

“We are excited to support this effort to bring the industry together to agree on a core standard for containers, which we feel will benefit all customers no matter what cloud provider they use,” said Jason Zander, CVP, Microsoft Azure. “Through our close work with Docker over the last year we have demonstrated our commitment to openness and welcome this opportunity to help create an open platform for customers.”

Read the full press release below.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jun 22, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — A broad coalition of industry leaders and users are joining forces to create the Open Container Project (OCP), chartered to establish common standards for software containers.

Housed under the Linux Foundation, the OCP’s mission is to enable users and companies to continue to innovate and develop container-based solutions, with confidence that their pre-existing development efforts will be protected and without industry fragmentation. As part of this initiative, Docker will donate the code for its software container format and its runtime, as well as the associated specifications. The leadership of the Application Container spec (“appc”) initiative, including founding member CoreOS, will also be bringing their technical leadership and support to OCP.

The container movement has gained immense popularity among users because of the promise of portability, agility and interoperability across a broad set of infrastructures and tools. The rapid proliferation of container-based solutions – supported and leveraged by an ecosystem of millions of developers, tens of thousands of enterprises, thousands of contributors and hundreds of technology companies – has inspired industry leaders to collaborate on an open, standard container format and runtime in order to preserve that portability and interoperability for users.

Managed under a vendor-neutral, open source, open governance model, the OCP will remain independent from any company or company-sponsored project. Interest in building open standards around containers has spread rapidly and the founders of the OCP include Amazon Web Services, Apcera, Cisco, CoreOS, Docker, EMC, Fujitsu Limited, Goldman Sachs, Google, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Joyent, Linux Foundation, Mesosphere, Microsoft, Pivotal, Rancher Labs, Red Hat and VMware.Others interested in supporting the Project can find more information at

Docker donates its de facto standard technology

As part of the new Project, Docker will donate both draft specifications and its existing code around an image format and container runtime to serve as cornerstone technologies under the governance of the OCP.

Over the past two years, Docker’s image format and container runtime have emerged as the de facto standard, with support across every major Linux distribution, Microsoft Windows, every major public cloud provider, all leading virtualization platforms and most major CPU architectures, including: x86, ARM, z and POWER System p. Containers based on Docker’s image format have been downloaded more than 500 million times in the past year alone and there are now more than 40,000 public projects based on the Docker format. With these technologies as a base for its initiatives, the OCP can have evolved standards and specifications that are rooted in practical usage, code that has been used broadly in production and the collective experience of a large community of users and developers.

The OCP will manage the transition of the technology from an “insider” standard into an open industry standard, providing for its continued evolution. The Docker project will continue to maintain the Docker client, all platform tooling and all Docker orchestration capabilities that are built on top of the donated technologies. Other projects and companies will also be able to build technologies on the OCP format and runtime.

“Containers are revolutionizing the computing industry and delivering on the dream of application portability,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “With the Open Container Project, Docker is ensuring that fragmentation won’t destroy the promise of containers. Users, vendors and technologists of all kinds will now be able to collaborate and innovate with the assurance that neutral open governance provides. We applaud Docker and the other founding members for having the will and foresight to get this done.”

The OCP image format will be backwards compatible with the Docker image format and appc and will include efforts to harmonize with other container efforts in the community.

The guiding principles around OCP standards are that they will:

not be bound to higher level constructs such as a particular client or orchestration stack
not be tightly associated with any particular commercial vendor or project and
be portable across a wide variety of operating systems, hardware, CPU architectures, public clouds, etc.

The Open Container Project: Goals for Standardization

The charter of the OCP is to establish a set of common, minimal standards around container technology. In establishing the goals for the OCP, the Project has taken into account standardization efforts that are already underway by other ecosystem members. The maintainers of Docker’s libcontainer project (a group that currently includes independent developers and individuals from Docker, Red Hat and Google) will become the lead maintainers for the OCP, joined by two prominent maintainers of appc. They will support open design and contribution based upon the guiding principles of the effort.

The OCP and its members will work together to build a standard that ensures container formats and runtime are based on a core set of values that includes openness, security, portability, composability, minimalism and backward compatibility. Within three months, the parties aim to complete creating the Project, migrating code and publishing a draft specification building on the technology donated by Docker. Further detail on the effort and a copy of the OCP’s charter can be found at

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