OpenContrail Containers Now on DockerHub

Yes, a most powerful of warriors – patience – offers a gift today: at last, new OpenContrail container images are on Docker Hub.

If you were paying attention, you know that OpenContrail software was recently containerized. The control and management components were packaged into 4 containers, and the vRouter’s kernel module deployment is container-enabled too.

This new canonical way to deploy OpenContrail was eagerly anticipated, simplifying the day-1 user experience. News of the package refactoring was revealed in a past blog that also covered integration with Kubernetes. The formal software containerization support in Juniper’s Contrail Networking followed this June in the release of version 4.0.

The support of networking containers as endpoints came a while ago however. Some of us have been using it in production and others have been musing with that support paired with Kubernetes; it’s been 2^9 days since my early demo of OpenContrail with Kubernetes and OpenShift (see the newer demo now).

That original open-sourced demo was in fact using Docker container images that Juniper uploaded to Docker Hub way back for version 2.20. After none of the subsequent releases made it to Docker Hub, you may have been wondering if those images were a one-hit wonder: nope. While the community is rolling a CI/CD pipeline for OpenContrail’s core elements, today’s posting of the version 4.0.1 images is an intermediate step until that fully codifies.

The containerization of the OpenContrail software itself, may understandably lead you to associate it with other container tools like CNI, Kubernetes, Mesos or OpenShift – all of which are supported – but it’s worth noting that the containerized deployment is also used with OpenStack Kolla. That being said, it’s exciting to imagine the possibility of deploying OpenContrail containers directly on top of container orchestration platforms, bringing their features to bear to manage an OpenContrail deployment. This is exactly what’s being planned with the help of Helm. In the meantime, it’s still click-click easy with the server manager GUI, and equally simple with Ansible, which also affords you the opportunity to deploy your SDN as code a la DevNetOps, perhaps upholding your application stack and DevOps; now there’s a dynamic duo!

The new Docker Hub images shouldn’t lower the barrier to entry, with any luck, they should remove it entirely. For example, if you’re working with Kubernetes, you’ve already done enough learning and lifting to get that going, and the hope is to keep you focused on that: until you want to dig into SDN, the OpenContrail networking and security features just work. To make that a reality, the download and installation of OpenContrail needs to be simple and steady, and then get out of your way. Hopefully that’s what you’ll find. If you do, please support the community by giving us some stars on Docker Hub, and tell others about your experience.


Recap of key resources: