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The lightweight Linux for massive server deployments CoreOS has raised a $12m funding round led by Google Ventures, bringint its total funding so far to $20m.

The company also launched Tectoni, a fully supported enterprise version of Kubernetes, a set of container management and orchestration tools originating in Google, which are currently in beta only. The new product aims to make it easier for enterprises to move their data centers to a distributed and container-based infrastructure.

CoreOS is a wafer-thin version of the free Linux operating system, which reduces the hardware needed to run applications which are running inside lightweight containers, instead of full-fat virtual machines, streamlinging the operation of data centers.

CoreOS has been close to hot startup Docker, which is a leader in putting apps into containers, which take an app, throw it into a standard virtual “box,” put this box on your own servers and load it to a cloud service - theoretically it will run in the exact same way that it went into the boxes.

alex polvi
Alex Polvi

Rocket strikes at the Dock

Docker and CoreOS fell out last year. A container on its own doesn’t really do very much, it needs to be overseen and managed. Docker wanted to sell this management technology as well.

CoreOS had an issue with what it saw as Docker getting a bit uppity, and had a public strop when it launched Rocket, a competitor to Docker. Suddenly, developers had two options for building containers.

Kubernetes has seen some uptake in both the CoreOS Rocket and Docker communities.

CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi (left) said: “With Kubernetes, we have a complete platform. It’s also the first purely commercial product that CoreOS has: The operating system and Rocket containers are both free; the company sells consulting and support services to make money. This whole Tectonic platform, though, will cost enterprise clients some cash. “

While Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platforms do support Kubernetes, the reigning cloud leader AWS uses its own products for managing containers.

This may be too early to say, but the fact that CoreOS is opening some doors for Google Cloud Platform could make CoreOS an attractive acquisition for Google.