Michael Crosby

containerd Graduates Within the CNCF

Michael Crosby

We are happy to announce that as of today, containerd, an industry-standard runtime for building container solutions, graduates within the CNCF. The successful graduation demonstrates containerd has achieved the maturity, stability and community acceptance required for broad ecosystem adoption. containerd has already been deployed in tens of millions of production systems today, making it the most widely adopted runtime and an essential upstream component of the Docker platform. containerd was donated to the CNCF as a top-level project because of its strong alignment with Kubernetes, gRPC and Prometheus and is the fifth project to make it to this tier. Built to address the needs of modern container platforms like Docker Enterprise and orchestration systems like Kubernetes, containerd ensures users have a consistent dev to ops experience.

From Docker’s initial announcement that it was spinning out its core runtime to its donation to the CNCF in March 2017, the containerd project has experienced significant growth and progress over the last two years. The primary goal of Docker’s donation was to foster further innovation in the container ecosystem by providing a core container runtime that could be leveraged by container system vendors and orchestration projects such as Kubernetes, Swarm, etc. An important design principle for containerd was to have first-class support for Kubernetes without being exclusively tethered to it, opening the door for many use cases for containers such as developer desktop, CI/CD, single node deployments, edge and IoT.

For Docker, containerd is the runtime component of Docker Engine, which makes it available to mainstream developers without having to change their workflow; whether they use it from a laptop in Docker Desktop, a production Kubernetes cluster in Docker Enterprise, a mainframe where traditional applications are modernized with containers, or edge IoT devices for IoT scenarios. Regardless of which system they are using, developers and operators benefit from the application workflow portability that Docker Engine provides, enabling them to build and run containers using the same trusted codebase everywhere.

Community Contribution

Within both the Docker and Kubernetes communities, there has been a significant increase in contributions from independents and CNCF member companies including Docker, Google, Alibaba, NTT, IBM, Microsoft, AWS and ZTE. containerd’s focus on clean design and quality has attracted new contributions while the CNCF has provided a neutral home to instill confidence that contributions are accepted based on merit. The project has welcomed four new maintainers and eight reviewers since joining CNCF, allowing the project to scale as contributions have increased without compromising on quality or review time.

Evolution of containerd

The contributors and maintainers have been working to add key functionality to containerd since the initial donation, which provided users a seamless container experience including transferring container images, container execution and supervision. containerd 1.0 was released less than a year later providing users with a supported low level API along with cross-platform support, reliable resource management and an easy-to-use client interface. This was followed by containerd 1.1 which brought support for Kubernetes’ CRI built into containerd. As the user base expanded and the community grew, demand for a wider range of runtimes led to containerd stabilizing the low level runtime API in containerd 1.2, enabling support for VM runtimes like Kata, Firecracker, and Hyper-V. The upcoming 1.3 release will bring a supported Windows runtime.

Looking into the future, we anticipate even wider adoption as the core container runtime for any architecture and infrastructure. Follow the project and get involved.

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