VMware has just officially announced Photon OS 1.0. This follows on from the RC (Release Candidate) announcement back in late April. For those of you who are not familiar with Photon OS, this is a minimal Linux container host (in the form of a Virtual Machine), optimized to run on VMware products such as ESXi. It can run containers which adhere to Docker, rkt, and the Pivotal Garden container specifications.
One of the main considerations with Photon OS 1.0 is security. The 1.0 release has been put through a whole variety of vulnerability scanning tools and assessments. In fact, Photon OS 1.0 been invited to receive VMware’s first-ever Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) Best Practices Badge from the Linux Foundation. The badge is based on the badges available on various GitHub projects. These badges typically relate to basic open source development practices, change control, quality, and security. Having the CII badge shows our customers that the developers of Photon OS 1.0 care about these fundamentals.
Photon OS 1.0 has been fully optimized for vSphere. So much so that the kernel boot times are now at ~200ms. Photon OS also keeps the disk and memory footprints very small; 1.0 sits at a 384MB memory footprint and 396MB disk footprint (with a minimal installation). However even though the footprint may be small, customers have the ability to install additional features and tooling though a variety of methods. In this post, I described the additional tooling one would need for deploying Kubernetes on top of Photon Controller using Photon OS.
Just in case you are thinking that this doesn’t have any relevance to you since you are not doing anything in the container space just yet, note that this release will not only underpin the upcoming vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) and Photon Controller products from the Cloud Native Apps team, but the long term goal is to have Photon OS underpin many of the VMware software appliances using this single platform. This includes the vCenter Server appliance. The Cloud Native Apps team is already working with other teams across the company to develop migration strategies to move all appliances to Photon OS.
Now is the time to download Photon OS 1.0, deploy it in your environment, and familiarize yourself with it as much as possible. Part 1 of this post can help you get started. You’re going to see a lot more of it soon.