Open Container Initiative Announces Distribution Specification Project

By April 9, 2018Press Release

OCI creates distribution specification to standardize container image distribution

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – April 9, 2018 ​– The Open Container Initiative (OCI), an open source community for creating open standards around containers, today announced the launch of the Distribution Specification project to standardize container image distribution based on the specification for the Docker Registry HTTP API V2 protocol, which supports the pushing and pulling of container images.

Having a solid, common distribution specification paired with conformance testing will ensure interoperability throughout the cloud native and container ecosystem. The Docker Registry HTTP API V2 protocol has become a defacto standard across implementations of container registries and will serve as the specification for the new distribution-spec OCI project.

“With the booming development in container and cloud native technologies, the community needs a reliable industry standard for distribution to allow for increased interoperability along with a neutral home to evolve the specification,” said Chris Aniszczyk, Executive Director of OCI. “OCI contributors and maintainers have been hard at work to collaboratively drive the adoption of specifications for the container standards community and will start the journey for container distribution.”

The release of this project is the result of extensive work from key maintainers Derek McGowan, Stephen Day and Vincent Batts, with backing from more than hundreds of OCI contributors and organizations committed to container standardization.

Comments from OCI Members

“Docker’s contribution of the Docker Registry V2 specification aligns with our history of making key open source projects available to the community,” said Michael Crosby, Docker engineer and maintainer and chairman of the OCI Technical Oversight Board (TOB). “As with the runtime and image specification, Docker’s registry protocol has become a defacto standard with over 40 billion images pulled using this protocol. We are excited by the support that the distribution spec project is getting from the members of the community and we know their backing of resources will fuel the growth of this collaborative project and evolve the specification to provide the underpinning of all container registries on the market.”

“Now that the OCI image and runtime specifications have reached v1.0, it is time to collaborate on developing the OCI specification for distributing those images” said Vincent Batts, principal software engineer, Office of the CTO, Red Hat. “Building on existing industry experience and contributions from the community, we look forward to a distribution standard to complement our ability to create and launch standard OCI images.”

“We are happy to see the community working together to define a container image distribution standard, and AWS is excited to participate actively in these discussions to represent our customers. While ECR supports the Docker Registry v2 today, we believe that working toward open standards will help maintain interoperability between specifications while supporting customers adopting containers and overall ecosystem growth,” said Deepak Singh, Director, Compute Services, AWS.

“As production use of containers increases, our customers need to rely on consistent distribution and provenance. Google Cloud is pleased to see the industry coalescing around the OCI specifications including the newest Distribution Specification. As these specifications continue to evolve, we look forward to evaluating them to determine how they can be applied to Google technology and better serve our customers,” said Sarah Novotny, Open Source Strategy Lead, Google Cloud.

“We believe that customers should not worry about choosing a container technology for its portability, which is the primary goal of establishing OCI – to create industry-wide container standards. Thanks to the OCI, customers can consume different container engines based upon different scenarios on Huawei Cloud. The standardization of container distribution will build a better ecosystem around containers, and make both Huawei and customers more confident about offering and having more choices on container technologies,” said Xiaoli Jiang, General Manager of Cloud Open Source Ecosystem, Huawei.

“IBM is proud to have been a founder, contributor and early adopter of OCI’s standardization work for our enterprise-grade Cloud Container Service,” said Todd Moore, VP of Open Technology, Digital Business Group at IBM. “The creation of the Distribution Specification project is the next logical step in standardizing open container technologies that offer the cloud native ecosystem a unified industry approach. Our clients trust IBM to help them ensure freedom of choice throughout their entire container management life-cycle.”

“With the distribution specification joining the Open Container Initiative all three core components of containers – runtime, image format and distribution – are on the path to standardization, ensuring continued interoperability across the ecosystem. The Azure Container Registry was implemented using the open source Docker Registry v2, which now serves as a foundation for the OCI distribution spec,” said Taylor Brown, Principal Lead Program Manager, Cloud and AI, Microsoft.

“The delivery of container images is an important aspect of the container ecosystem and flow. SUSE is glad that OCI is now driving the distribution standard, and we’re excited to help further extend the proposed specification alongside the rest of the OCI community” said Alan Clark, Director of Industry Initiatives, Emerging Standards and Open Source at SUSE.

“Defining common standards for containers is incredibly important for our enterprise customers, many of whom use them to move HPC workloads to the cloud so they can repeatedly deliver a consistent application or service implementation. The OCI distribution specification demonstrates a new level of maturity in the container ecosystem, and will help ensure interoperability and protect our customers’ technology investments,” said Rob Lalonde, Univa Vice President and General Manager, Navops.

 More information about the OCI Distribution Specification project can be found at https://github.com/opencontainers/distribution-spec.

About the Open Container Initiative (OCI)

The Open Container Initiative is an open governance structure for the express purpose of creating open industry standards around container formats and runtime. Projects associated to the Open Container Initiative can be found at https://github.com/opencontainers. Learn more about joining the OCI community here: https://www.opencontainers.org/community

The Open Container Initiative is a Collaborative Project at The Linux Foundation. Linux Foundation Collaborative Projects are independently funded software projects that harness the power of collaborative development to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. www.linuxfoundation.org

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