To coincide with the first day of KubeCon North America , we are excited to share that we are expanding the family of Flatcar Container Linux distributions, with Flatcar Container Linux Pro and Long-Term Support (LTS) editions, as well as cloud marketplace availability of Flatcar in Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud.

With hundreds of millions of usage hours across in the last six months alone, Flatcar has built upon its CoreOS heritage to establish itself as the Kubernetes community’s favorite container-optimized Linux distribution. The new commercially-supported Pro and LTS offerings complement free versions of Flatcar in Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform Marketplaces, expanding the options available to users seeking a secure, automatically updating operating system optimized for containers running in the cloud.

“When we launched Flatcar, we had no idea that it would become as popular as it did,” said Chris Kühl, chief executive officer at Kinvolk. “We just knew that it was the right model for deploying containers, and it seems that the community agreed. Now, as enterprise users are asking for capabilities beyond the needs of the original open source community, it just made sense to expand our offerings to support those customers as well.”

Flatcar Container Linux Pro: Optimized for Cloud

Flatcar Container Linux Pro is a marketplace-delivered, cloud-optimized version of Flatcar, initially available for Microsoft Azure with releases planned for AWS and Google Cloud Platform.

The exact set of features will depend on the target cloud platform. As an example, Flatcar Container Linux Pro for Azure, available today in Azure Marketplace , includes the following.

  • An Azure-tuned kernel (initially based on the 5.4 Linux release), with all the configuration options, patches and modules required for optimized performance on Azure, as specified by the Microsoft Azure Linux team.
  • Support for Azure Accelerated Networking, thanks to included single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV).
  • Built-in drivers for all Azure GPU-enabled instances, enabling access to accelerated graphics hardware for workloads such as machine learning. (Planned availability end of this week.)
  • HyperV telemetry, enabling reporting of boot-time and other issues through the hypervisor for ease of troubleshooting and support. (Planned availability early December.)
  • Optional Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) encryption modules, to enable organizations to meet regulatory security compliance requirements. (Planned availability in December.)

In addition, Flatcar Container Linux Pro comes with commercial support from Kinvolk .

Flatcar Container Linux LTS: Enterprise Stability and Compliance

To meet the needs of customers who prioritize platform security and long-term stability, the new Flatcar Container Linux Long-Term Support (LTS) edition offers a guaranteed minimum 18 month support life-cycle. This compares with a typical two month refresh cadence for the community Stable channel, and even more frequent Alpha and Beta channel updates.

Each Flatcar LTS release will be based on an LTS upstream kernel, and will be kept up-to-date with critical patch fixes including for security vulnerabilities, but will not receive new Flatcar features or major component version updates, ensuring maximum stability for applications while simplifying operations and maintaining security compliance.

In addition to its extended support life-cycle, Flatcar Container Linux LTS includes enhanced functionality from the Pro edition, including support for FIPS.

Flatcar (free version) available in Azure, AWS and GCP Marketplaces

Until now, while Kinvolk has distributed images for all major cloud platforms, users had to manually deploy those images into their accounts. Now, with support for all three major cloud marketplaces — Azure , AWS , and Google Cloud — finding and deploying Flatcar Container Linux could not be easier.

And, as always, Flatcar is free.

Learn more at KubeCon

Several Kinvolk colleagues will be presenting on the topic of Linux for container environments at KubeCon this week.

We hope to see you at one of these sessions, or in the #kubecon-hallway !

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