Microsoft buys Flatcar Container Linux creator Kinvolk

Microsoft has acquired Kinvolk and plans to bring the team to Azure to work on Azure Kubernetes Service, Azure Arc and other hybrid container platform capabilities.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Kinvolk

Microsoft has acquired Kinvolk GmbH, the creator and distributor of Flatcar Container Linux, for an undisclosed amount, officials announced on April 29. Flatcar Container Linux is a Linux distribution designed for container workloads, which Kinvolk says has high security and low maintenance overhead.

Microsoft's Brendan Burns, Corporate Vice President of Azure Compute, said the Kinvolk team will join Azure and contribute to the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Arc management platform and "future projects that will expand Azure's hybrid container platform capabilities." He added that the Kinvolk team will continue with their existing open-source projects, including the evolution of Flatcar Container Linux.

Burns said that Flatcar Container Linux already has a sizeable community of users on Azure, along with other clouds, and on-premises.

Kinvolk also did some early work with CoreOS (the company, not Microsoft's Windows Core OS platform), as well as the Lokomotive and Inspektor Gadget projects. Lokomotive is a self-hosted Kubernetes distribution for bare-metal and cloud platforms that can run as a full-stack Kubernetes cluster on top of Flatcar Container Linux or another Kubernetes offering. Inspektor Gadget is set of debugging and inspection tools.

Kinvolk was founded in Berlin in 2015. It launched Flatcar Container Linux in 2018.

Microsoft is no stranger to open source these days. More than half of the workloads on Azure are Linux-based. And Microsoft even has its own Linux distribution called CBL-Mariner, which is a lightweight Linux distro that Microsoft uses for its own first-party Azure services and edge appliances.

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