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Eric Wright

Intel Clear-ing things up: A Clear Linux Primer

linuxWhen it comes to the world of Linux, many find it confusing to find out which is the right version that they should be choosing for their particular application platform. What we really have to hone in on is the use-case and decide from the real requirements, whether a particular flavor of Linux is appropriate or not. Application designers are often driven by the ability to have access to baked in libraries for their development platform. Operations teams are looking for ease of administration and resiliency. This is where we see lots of options opened up.

Clear Linux: New Ideas from Intel

Led by the team at Intel, Clear Linux is targeting some very specific challenges in the data center today and especially in cloud platforms where image size and the speed of updating at scale is becoming top of mind to people across the IT organization.

"The Clear Linux Project for Intel Architecture is a distribution built for various Cloud use cases. We want to showcase the best of Intel Architecture technology, from low-level kernel features to complex applications that span across the entire OS stack. We're putting emphasis on Power and Performance optimizations throughout the operating system as a whole." (

The idea of producing a stateless operation system environment has been one that attracts the eyes of many developers and admins alike. This new flavor of Linux has a lot of what meets the needs on both sides of the DevOps fence.

Updates for the Clear Linux platform can be done using real-time updates to the active environment, much like how network routers and switches have their configurations updated on the fly. The other option is to run updates, snapshot the baseline, then reboot to the updated image. This gives a simple way to roll back for safety.

Containers and More!

Another key feature of the Clear Linux project is to bring security to the container ecosystem, thus far the largest challenge outside of networking at scale, and this is where Intel has a distinct advantage. Intel virtualization (VT-x) has been the standard that drove massive adoption of virtualization for hypervisors such as VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.

The goal here is to increase the ability to virtualize hardware CPU up to the container platforms with security to ensure that root system access down to the hardware is no longer something that the IT security teams have to worry about. This has been one of the big concerns with containers on bare-metal, and low-level access to the container runtimes.

We have seen some really interesting work come from Intel around CoreOS already, so this is just another notch on the container ecosystem success column that tells us how important solving these challenges will become.

Find out more at the Clear Linux project page and you can also see a really cool blog on the Clear Linux containers at the Kismatic blog.

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