Weave didn’t start the fire, but anyway…here’s Ignite

Weave Ignite

Kubernetes experts Weaveworks celebrated their fifth birthday by presenting an alpha version of Weave Ignite, a new open source project to manage Firecracker VMs in a similar manner to Docker images.

Firecracker is a tool developed at AWS that promises lightweight virtual environments, surpassing traditional virtual machines in terms of security, speed and workload isolation. It is realised as a virtual machine monitor implementation using a KVM for creating and managing so-called microVMs.

Ignite is meant to add ease of use to that, by making the microVMs “look like Docker containers”. So yay if you’re familiar with those. According to the documentation, users should be able to pick any image that is compliant with the image format specified by the Open Container Initiative and execute it as “a real VM with dedicated kernel and /sbin/init as PID 1”.

The default kernel used is Linux 4.19, though others can be specified via a –kernel flag. Once started up, networking is set up automatically, similar to the way Docker containers are handled on a host. Beyond the speed and isolation, Weaveworks sees the appeal of its new project in the way it allows VMs to be managed via Git, an approach the company has been pushing for system management under the GitOps monicker for a while.

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The use-cases the project page points out are clearly aligned to that, mentioning the management of an “app ready” stack from Git, quickly setting up a number of VMs for testing and similar tasks, and running legacy apps in lightweight VMs.

A word of warning if you’re cautious about military related projects: Ignite is an open source rewrite of a project Kubernetes SIG Cluster Lifecycle lead Lucas Käldström worked on together with a colleague as part of his Military Service in Finland. It was inspired by the security and resource consumption concerns that are common in this field. 

The connection to Weaveworks came about through Käldström’s engagement in the Kubernetes community and contracting work of his tech company. Käldström is also the developer behind the Kubernetes on ARM project.

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