Davoud Teimouri – Virtualization and Data Center

VMware Photon OS – Best OS for Kubernetes and Container Host

During virtualization revolution, IT administrators was be able to use single physical host as virtualization host and providing compute resource for multiple services. Now IT world is going forward and companies moving their services to Cloud-Native Application or Container. Compared known Virtualization and OS Level Virtualization, using less storage capacity is the biggest benefit of OS Level Virtualization or Containerization. Most known Hypervisors are not made for OS Level Virtualization and Containerization needs Container Host. Container Host can be a known Operating System such as Linux distributions. There are some OS has specially made for Containerization such as VMware Photon OS.

At this post, we are looking to benefits of using VMware Photon OS in Cloud-Native Application infrastructure.

Which OS is Suitable for Cloud-Native Application Infrastructure?

In known virtualization, as an example, ESXi has small footprint and ESXi is installable on small disks such as low capacity USB disks. Using Operating System with small footprint is one of priorities for Containerization as well.

The most suitable OSes for Containerization are as follows:

Why VMware Photon OS is The Best?

First of all, let’s review history of Photon OS and then review its features and capabilities.

Introduction to Photon OS

Photon OS, is an open-source minimalist Linux operating system from VMware that is optimized for cloud computing platforms, VMware vSphere deployments, and applications native to the cloud.

Photon OS is a Linux container host optimized for vSphere and cloud-computing platforms such as Amazon Elastic Compute and Google Compute Engine. As a lightweight and extensible operating system, Photon OS works with the most common container formats, including Docker, Rocket, and Garden. Photon OS includes a yum-compatible, package-based lifecycle management system called tdnf.

When used with development tools and environments such as VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation, and production runtime environments (vSphere), Photon OS lets you seamlessly migrate container-based applications from development to production. With a small footprint and fast boot and run times, Photon OS is optimized for cloud computing and cloud applications.

VMware Photon OS

Lightweight Container Host

Photon OS delivers just enough of a Linux operating system to efficiently run containers on VMware vSphere, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.

Secure By Default

Using the recommendations of the Kernel Self-Protection Project (KSPP), the Photon OS Linux Kernel is secure from the start. Packages are built with hardened security flags and can be easily updated and verified.

Real Time Kernel Support

Photon OS provides a performant stack for deployments like Virtual Radio Access Network application that demand real time capabilities and ultra-low latency response.

Long Time Support

Photon OS 1.0 is still maintained and receiving security updates, but I couldn’t find any clear information about lifetime. Anyway, I think that VMware and communities did the best for development and support.

Support Cost

Till now, there is no need to registration, subscription or pay for support.

Available Formats For Download

VMware Photon OS is available as the below formats:

Download Formats

FormatDescription
ISO ImageContains everything needed to install either the minimal or full installation of Photon OS. The bootable ISO has a manual installer or can be used with PXE/kickstart environments for automated installations.
OVAPre-installed minimal environment, customized for VMware hypervisor environments. These customizations include a highly sanitized and optimized kernel to give improved boot and runtime performance for containers and Linux applications. Since an OVA is a complete virtual machine definition, we’ve made available a Photon OS OVA that has virtual hardware version 11; this will allow for compatibility with several versions of VMware platforms or allow for the latest and greatest virtual hardware enhancements.
Amazon AMIPre-packaged and tested version of Photon OS made ready to deploy in your Amazon EC2 cloud environment. Previously, we’d published documentation on how to create an Amazon compatible instance, but, now we’ve done the work for you.
Google GCE ImagePre-packaged and tested Google GCE image that is ready to deploy in your Google Compute Engine Environment, with all modifications and package requirements for running Photon OS in GCE.
Azure VHDPre-packaged and tested Azure HD image that is ready to deploy in your Microsoft Azure Cloud, with all modifications and package requirements for running Photon OS in Azure.
Raspberry Pi ImagePre-packaged and tested Raspberry Pi Image (Version 3.0 onwards) on ARM64 architecture.

Next Post

In the next post, we will review deeper and install Kubernetes on VMware Photon OS.

https://vmware.github.io/photon/

https://github.com/vmware/photon/wiki/Security-Advisories

https://vmware.github.io/photon/docs/

See Also

VMware Cloud Native Application | Photon Platform

[Review]: What is Container Linux?

Operating-system-level virtualization

Operating System Level Virtualization (Part 2) – Implementations Comparison

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