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Hitching a ride on a flatcar: a community project update

Hitching a ride on a flatcar: a community project update

Presented at Cloud Native Rejekts EU 2022 in Valencia, Spain, with Thilo Fromm.

Over two years ago, we introduced the Flatcar project to the Cloud Native Rejekts community in San Diego. A lightweight Linux built specifically for running container workloads, Flatcar builds on the incredibly successful foundation laid by CoreOS Container Linux for enabling security and manageability of container-based distributed systems at scale.

A lot has happened in the meantime, including the end-of-life of the original CoreOS, rapid growth in the Flatcar user community, and not least the acquisition by Microsoft of Kinvolk, the company behind Flatcar.

In this talk, we will hear directly from both the product and engineering managers responsible for the Flatcar project, about the past, present and future of this foundational project that is still highly relevant to many in the cloud native community.


Andy Randall

May 14, 2022

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  1. Hitching a ride on a flatcar: a community project update

    Cloud Native Rejekts | Valencia, Spain | 14 May 2022
  2. Thilo Engineering Manager, Microsoft @ThiloFM Andy Principal Product Manager, Microsoft

  3. @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022

  4. flatcar /ˈflatkɑː/ noun: a minimal, lightweight foundation for containers @ThiloFM

    @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022
  5. Automated, streamlined updates Minimal distro for containers Secure, immutable file

    system Declarative provisioning Operational simplicity for security and manageability at scale @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022
  6. “Flatcar allows us to start thinking about our bare metal

    nodes like they’re cloud instances, we can think of them as more ephemeral. It’s really hard to explain, but once you’ve experienced what it’s like to run immutable infrastructure, you never want to go back.” – Nicole Hubbard, Principal Engineer, Equinix Metal
  7. 2013 2017 2018 2014 2015 2016 2019 2020 2021 2009

    ・・・ ChromeOS CoreOS Flatcar @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022
  8. @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022

  9. 2013 2017 2018 2014 2015 2016 2019 2020 2021 2009

    ・・・ ChromeOS CoreOS Flatcar CoreOS EOL @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022
  10. Flatcar Container Linux has a sizeable community of users on

    Azure, as well as other clouds, and on-premises. We know the CoreOS community has been on a winding journey over the years—we want to assure the Flatcar community that Microsoft and the Kinvolk team will continue to collaborate with the larger Flatcar community on the evolution of Flatcar Container Linux. Microsoft is committed to Flatcar Container Linux community development and will invest in working with the Flatcar community to create a growth path forward together. @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022
  11. From Vendor-led to Community-driven Open up builds ease path for

    new contributors Public team chat (Matrix) Monthly community calls Public release planning calls Security alerts Continued significant investment @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022
  12. Project Highlights Modernised core packages, including kernel 4.19 → 5.15

    Retired edge channel, rkt Simplified SDK and build automation LTS channel GPU support FIPS mode @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022 Active upstream engagement (K8s, Gentoo, Fedora CoreOS, …) Cluster API Ignition v3 (with back-compatibility) Cgroups v2 (+ v1 option for back-compatibility) ARM64 (Ampere, Graviton, Azure) EKS worker nodes
  13. Some Stats ❏ >300 bugs fixed ❏ >250 packages upgraded

    ❏ 35 major releases ❏ 550 contributor interactions last quarter @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022
  14. Flourishing Ecosystem @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022

  15. Endpoints contacting public update server (excludes private update servers and

    those not using automatic updates) @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022 Growing User Community 47% annual growth Cloud Native Rejekts 2019
  16. What do folks love about Flatcar? @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022

  17. Looking ahead ❏ Systemd-sysext - Torcx replacement, more container runtimes,

    & more ❏ Supply chain security, TPM2.0 ❏ Slack channel ❏ Growing set of vendors, maintainers, supporters ❏ Neutral governance, foundation home https://github.com/orgs/flatcar-linux/projects/7/views/9 @ThiloFM @andrew_randall @flatcar #REJEKTS2022 Your ideas, enthusiasm, & energy are welcome!
  18. The Community’s Container Linux

  19. Thank you www.flatcar.org