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Google gets a helping hand from Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat

Cloud rivals come together to develop a technology to help organizations manage their computerized work in the cloud

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IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat and other IT vendors are lending a hand to Google to help build software that enterprises could use to manage their computerized workloads in the cloud.

The companies will work to refine software developed by Google that manages computer jobs that run on hosted cloud services offered by Google, IBM, Microsoft and others. The cloud market is highly lucrative -- IT analyst firm IDC estimates that total worldwide cloud spending, for both public and private clouds, was around US$56 billion in 2013 and will grow to around $135 billion by 2017.

The software, called Kubernetes, "can make systems much more productive and also helps make more efficient infrastructure," said Craig McLuckie, Google senior product manager.

Other participants in the project include Docker, CoreOS, Mesophere and SaltStack, according to the notice Google posted Thursday.

Google developed a similar cloud technology, Omega, to run its largest services, such as search and Gmail. The company created Kubernetes to help enterprises manage workloads in a similar fashion, but on a smaller scale.

The company released the first draft of the software in June.

Using the Docker virtualization technology for Linux, Kubernetes provides a way to easily move computer workloads from one Docker-based cloud service to another, giving organizations more choices for which cloud service provider they can use, McLuckie said.

The participating companies are all working to ensure the management software works within their own cloud services and software, McLuckie said. They will also contribute to readying Kubernetes for use in production environments.

"[Microsoft's cloud service] Azure has always focused on offering the most options for customers, whether they be open or proprietary," said Corey Sanders, a Microsoft group manager for Azure. Contributing to Kubernetes continues that strategy of offering choices, Sanders said.

Microsoft will focus on developing code that will allow Kubernetes and Docker to run as fast as possible in Azure and elsewhere, Sanders said.

Microsoft is also contributing to LibSwarm, a library of code that provides connectivity for Docker.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com



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