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What's going on with containers? Here's a helpful glossary

The container ecosystem is constantly shifting. Open source tools spring up, new startups enter, and major releases of foundational projects introduce new technologies and concepts. Every month there seems to be a new acronym, and to anyone not deeply involved in the ecosystem it can be overwhelming to keep track of how even the most basic of container concepts relate to each other. So we’ve created a document to help others better understand how the major standards and components in the container ecosystem fit together.

Containers bring additional security, isolation, and simplified app delivery to the classic model. At CoreOS, we see container standards and components as a function of three major categories: cluster operations, node operations, and software delivery. Each of these categories has inputs and outputs that link it to the others.

  • Cluster operations is about a cluster of nodes, either virtual machines or physical machines, which together run applications that are packaged in container images. These nodes cooperate through a variety of scheduling, service discovery, and cluster-level APIs.
  • Node operations is everything that happens on a single node: reading user intention from cluster-level APIs, downloading container images, executing container images, and actively monitoring those container images. These processes only have the concept of what happens on a single machine, not the rest of the cluster.
  • Software delivery refers to the tools used to package, store, manage, and deploy container images.

Check out the Software Container Terminology Glossary for a comprehensive list of defined standards and components in each of the three categories above.


Software Container Terminology Glossary


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And if you'd like to see how CoreOS's enterprise-ready Kubernetes platform pulls all the pieces together, you can download Tectonic and deploy a cluster of up to 10 nodes for free. There's also the Tectonic Sandbox, a unique demo and experimentation environment that makes it easy to get started with non-production workloads right on your Linux, macOS, or Windows laptop – no cloud account needed.