CoreOS, a Y Combinator alum, has received investment from Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital for its new Linux-based operating system designed to run like Google would run its own cloud infrastructure. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but CEO and Co-Founder Alex Polvi said the amount is in the $1 million to $5 million range.
Polvi who sold Cloudkick to Rackspace in 2010, said the funding will help it show customers the differences and advantages that come with its operating system that he says is like Southwest Airlines of Linux versus Red Hat, which he compares more to old-school United Airlines. With the backing of such high-powered venture capitalists, Polvi said they will offer professional services to provide an easy, “click-through,” set up.
CoreOS is lightweight, built for large-scale deployments. It borrows from Google Chrome OS, specifically in terms of its distributed management of thousands of servers. It allows for a customer to boot up clusters of servers out of the box, compared to Ubuntu and Red Hat and Debian which were originally developed several years ago for smaller deployments. In those days, customers were deploying just a few servers and did not require the scaling that more customers need now. Today’s complexity means that it can be a fire drill to patch thousands of servers. With CoreOS, the infrastructure updates automatically, much like a Chrome browser updates without the user needing to worry about it.
The technology employs Docker, the Linux container that is becoming increasingly popular with developers for deploying apps to a cloud infrastructure. Docker allows application data to sync with the OS running on the cloud infrastructure. That means a developer can work directly from their desktop environment and use Docker to automatically sync updates.
“The OS is small and lightweight so the administrator has less to worry about,” Polvi said, “it allows for quick patching. There is a minimal coverage area to go after. You only deploy what you need to.”
He added that CoreOS is also read-only, making it consistent across a fleet of servers for portability and updates.
CoreOs is designed with Google as its model, which makes it a different type of technology than most IT managers are used to using. Donnie Berkholz, a RedMonk analyst, said to me at LinuxCon that the change in the way people work will be one of CoreOs greatest challenges.
Polvi agrees with Berkholz but is confident about the company’s direction, especially with the backing of venture capital groups like Andreessen and Sequoia.