CentOS Virtualization for edgeLinux.

CentOS Virtualization and Bare-Metal Containerization in edgeLinux by antsle

Here at Antsle we’ve been constantly on the lookout for you guys. We’ve continuously been thinking about the best way to continue making the private cloud and on-prem virtualized infrastructure simple and accessible to anyone. We now feel that using CentOS virtualization and bare-metal containerization is the right way for Antsle from now on.

The History of Antsle and edgeLinux

When we started in 2016, we were looking at SmartOS as the underlying base for our edgeLinux. At the time, we called it antsleOS. Before the first units went out to the field we switched to Gentoo for several good reasons. First, we wanted to have a real Linux kernel to share in our antsle bare-metal containers (ABC). Second, Gentoo felt like a great solution because we could tweak it the way we wanted. It allowed us to make it a minimal system that is not designed to directly run any workload, but instead just provide the virtualization and containerization. Everything else ran inside antlets (either VMs or bare-metal containers). Third, custom-compilation to get the last bit of performance out of our hardware was enticing at the time. All of this helped us to solve the 10 main pain points of virtualization.

The Case for CentOS Virtualization

We’ve been chugging along with our Gentoo-based edgeLinux (formerly antsleOS) for over three years. During that time, we ran into a few things that made us think that we could provide a better solution:

  • Entirely community-driven, lack of commercial backing
  • Portage package manager has a relatively small community, as well as some drawbacks for binary repos.
  • Dependency management in portage created substantial hassle, and delayed our ability to get important updates delivered to you.
  • Many of you are familiar with the mainstream distros, but not so much with Gentoo.

These things led to issues with some of you, and made our job, especially in support, quite difficult. We investigated alternatives, and found that we’re already using many components of the Red Hat ecosystem, such as QEMU/KVM and libvirt. And so CentOS – also backed by Red Hat – seemed like a natural option. So the idea of CentOS virtualization as the base for our new edgeLinux 2.0 was born.

CentOS Virtualization & Bare-Metal Containers

We did a lot of research and feasibility studies.

I’m excited to announce that we made great progress, and porting edgeLinux to a CentOS base, coming from Gentoo, is almost complete. We feel this exciting new development will have many benefits for you as an antsle / edgeLinux user:

  • Critical patches available way sooner, and better tested
  • Far better support for specific hardware and drivers
  • More straightforward edgeLinux updates
  • Improved availability of experts
  • Increased software quality

in short: More time for your apps and your business, less time for managing the hypervisor and supporting edgeLinux software.

The only noteworthy downside is that custom-compiles are not available under CentOS virtualization. We feel that is a price worth paying for the advantages mentioned above. If you need a custom compiled edgeLinux, please reach out to us at [email protected], and we’ll find a solution for you.

What to Expect

So, here’s the essence.

edgeLinux 2.0 is in the pipeline, and it is based on CentOS, and it can be installed on top of any CentOS installation. We’ve started on a blank slate and completely rebuilt edgeLinux in a clean and lean way, baking in all the lessons learned over the years. The beta will be out in early December, and we aim to make it generally available in January. Finally: CentOS virtualization at its best.

Get in Touch

I’d love to get your opinion and feedback on this, please tell me in the comments what you think.

Please also give me a thumbs up if you like this article because it really means a lot to me.


Bernie Blume

Founder and CEO, antsle


One more thing 
While migrating to CentOS, we’ve also been working to port edgeLinux and antMan to ARM. This is super exciting since it’s opening up whole new worlds for edgeLinux. More news coming with regards to that, please stay tuned.

Bernie Blume