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Why Verizon, AT&T, and Twitter are supporting this hot technology

July 22, 2015, 5:00 PM UTC
Containers are stacked in the yard of a shipment company, outside the Bangkok port on Saturday, June 23, 2012. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Bangkok Port Import Export
Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

You can tell when a business technology really starts catching on in the mainstream when high profile companies are willing to associate their names with it.

Last month a group of more than 20 heavyweights including Goldman Sachs (GSJ), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and IBM (IBM) pledged support to a new foundation focused on creating an industry wide standard around a fast rising data center technology called a container.

On Wednesday, the Open Container Initiative (formerly known as the Open Container Project) said that 14 more companies—including AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), Oracle (ORCL), and Twitter (TWTR) —have pledged support.

Businesses are paying close attention to containers for their ability to cut data center costs. Developers are also excited because they can use containers to create sophisticated software like what ride-sharing company Uber uses to connect multiple databases and servers.

The San Francisco-based startup Docker, which raised $95 million in April, has been the poster child for container technology and has been helping popularize it over the past year. The company has contributed its core container technology to the Open Container Initiative so that it can be used as a foundation for members working to create an industry-wide standard.

The announcement about new companies joining the consortium comes just a day after the Linux Foundation unveiled a rival container-focused group, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The Linux Foundation also oversees the Open Container Initiative in addition to the new Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

While the two groups specialize in container technology, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is more focused on standardizing the technology for managing containers in a company’s infrastructure. Google (GOOG) is a heavy backer of that foundation and has contributed its core container-management technology called Kubernetes to that project.

The Open Container Initiative is focused more on creating a standard around the container. Curiously, Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN) have both pledged support to the Open Container Initiative, but not to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in which Google’s technology is a core component of.

Before the news of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation came out, Docker’s vice president of marketing, David Messina, explained to Fortune why the Open Container Initiative was not interested in standardizing the technology that manages containers, also known as orchestration technology.

“[There’s] a lot of innovation in that area,” said Messina referring to the technologies like Google’s Kubernetes service. “It isn’t necessarily ready for a standard per se.”

The new Cloud Native Computing Foundation seems to have stepped into standardizing container-management technology, and it has Google’s home-grown Kubernetes technology as a reference point. The new foundation also seems to have caused somewhat of scuffle between Docker and Google, although Docker is now a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. It will be interesting to see whether other companies donate their own container management technology to that organization.

Docker, for example, has been been building more orchestration features in its core product to make its product more attractive to potential users.

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