Cloud-native host operating systems

Container orchestration systems, typically running on a couple of machines, require a local operating system that is responsible for managing a single machine.

Those local operating systems are usually called host operating system and the main requirement is that they support a container runtime. These days this means almost always Docker with increasing demand for rkt and runc. The container runtime can either be provided natively as the case with CoreOS Linux or Red Hat Atomic Linux or as a post-hoc.

The following matrix provides an overview of what host operating system can be used with which container orchestration system:

Container orchestration system vs host operating system matrix. Source:

Some Notes …

Note 1: I didn’t include Nomad in the matrix since it provides a generic Linux binary for installation. Also, I didn’t include Triton DataCenter with its OpenSolaris-based SmartOS host operating system since a place in the matrix doesn’t make sense.

Note 2: once Windows becomes a first-class, production-grade host operating system, I will include it here as well.

Note 3: the sources used for above matrix were the following:

Note 4: a couple of potential candidates for container orchestration systems I didn’t include were Shipyard (looks sorta hibernating to me), Panamax (I believe discontinued), and ContainerShip (not sure about its future but seems like a single-person effort).

If you have other or more up-to-date information I appreciate it if you leave a comment here and I’ll update the matrix.