CoreOS is the shooting star among cloud operating systems

Support Models

CoreOS itself is absolutely free as an image, and using it is also free of charge. CoreOS consists entirely of components that are distributed under open source licenses. The company behind CoreOS also offers a commercial support model, with the name "CoreOS Managed Linux." Prices mainly reflect the service terms and the number of servers covered by the agreement. "Managed Linux" for up to 10 servers costs US$  100 per month; in addition to access to CoreUpdate, the contract also includes email help for installing and operating CoreOS.

If you go for "Premium Managed Linux" support instead, you get priority support by phone, but you also have to dig much deeper into your pockets: For up to 25 servers, the charge is US$  1,200 a month, and if you want to cover between 51 and 250 servers in a premium contract, you will pay US$  11,000 per month – anything but a trifling figure. A European branch does not exist as yet; if you live in Europe and you want support, you need to buy it in the US.


CoreOS is the shooting star of the cloud scene because, unlike legacy distributions, it was developed specifically for use in the cloud. Etcd and Fleet are two very useful tools that deserve a much stronger presence outside of CoreOS, and the built-in update mechanism is so smart that it raises the question of why no one had this idea before.

If you are looking for a decent operating system for your cloud, CoreOS should definitely be on your shortlist, especially if you are considering Docker as an alternative to full virtualization. But admins should be warned: If you are worried about swimming in untested waters, CoreOS is likely to frighten you  – if you decide to try out the distribution, you must be willing to throw long-cherished conventions overboard.

The Author

Martin Gerhard Loschwitz is the principal consultant with Hastexo, where he focuses on high-availability solutions. In his leisure time, he maintains the Linux Cluster stack for Debian GNU/Linux.

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