About the Author

Lee Calcote

Lee Calcote is an innovative product and technology leader, passionate about empowering engineers and enabling organizations. As Founder of Layer5, he is at the forefront of the cloud native movement. Open source, advanced and emerging technologies have been a consistent focus through Calcote’s time at SolarWinds, Seagate, Cisco and Schneider Electric. An advisor, author, and speaker, Calcote is active in the community as a Docker Captain, Cloud Native Ambassador and GSoC, GSoD, and LFX Mentor.


MeshMap is the world's only visual and collaborative designer for Kubernetes and all cloud native infrastructure.

Containers provide a lightweight and portable solution to package applications, making them easy to deploy across different environments. With Docker as the most popular container engine and image format, but not the only runtime or format, the need for a standardized format to store and distribute container images became apparent and is why the Open Container Initiative (OCI) image format comes into play.

The OCI was established as a community-driven initiative to create open standards for container formats and runtimes. Its goal is to promote interoperability and ensure that containers can be used across different platforms and runtime environments. One of the key components of the OCI initiative is the OCI image format, which has been widely adopted by container registries.

Why have container registries have embraced the OCI format? How does Meshery, a popular internal developer platform, leverage this format for pushing and pulling design patterns? By understanding the benefits of OCI format for container registries and Meshery's support for it, we can gain valuable insights into the advantages of using this standardized format.

Why Container Registries Use OCI Format

Container registries play a crucial role in the container ecosystem, serving as repositories for storing and distributing container images. These images are the building blocks of containerized applications, containing everything needed to run an application, from the code to the dependencies and configurations. In recent years, container registries have widely adopted the Open Container Initiative (OCI) format as the standard for packaging and distributing container images.

Benefits of OCI Format

The adoption of OCI format by container registries offers several compelling benefits. Firstly, the OCI format provides a standardized and vendor-neutral way to package and distribute container images. This standardization ensures that images created using one container runtime can be run using a different runtime without any compatibility issues. This portability not only enhances interoperability but also encourages collaboration and innovation within the container ecosystem.

Secondly, the OCI format promotes transparency and openness. It allows developers and users to inspect and understand the contents of a container image easily. By providing a clear structure for storing metadata and file system layers, the OCI format enables greater visibility into the image's composition, making it easier to identify potential security vulnerabilities or licensing issues.

Interoperability with Different Container Runtimes

Another key reason why container registries prefer the OCI format is its compatibility with various container runtimes. Since container runtimes are responsible for executing the container images, it is crucial to have a format that can work seamlessly across different runtime environments. The OCI format achieves this by defining a set of specifications that are implemented by various container runtimes like Docker, containerd, and CRI-O. This compatibility ensures that container images stored in OCI format can be executed on different runtimes, giving developers the flexibility to choose the runtime that best suits their needs.

Security and Trustworthiness

Security is a top concern for container registries, and the OCI format offers robust security features. By adhering to the OCI format, container registries can leverage the security mechanisms provided by OCI specifications. These mechanisms include content-addressable storage, which ensures that the integrity of the image is maintained throughout its lifecycle, and digital signatures, which enable image verification and establish trust between the registry and the consumers. The use of the OCI format adds an additional layer of trustworthiness to container images, assuring users that the images have not been tampered with and come from a trusted source.

How Meshery Design Patterns Utilize OCI Format

Introduction to Meshery

Meshery, an open-source service mesh management plane, has rapidly gained popularity among developers and operators for its ability to simplify and streamline the deployment, management, and observability of service meshes. One of the key features that sets Meshery apart is its utilization of the Open Container Initiative (OCI) format for pushing and pulling design patterns.

Advantages of Pushing and Pulling Design Patterns in OCI Format

Using the OCI format for design patterns offers several advantages for Meshery users. Firstly, it ensures that design patterns can be easily shared and reused across different container runtimes, regardless of the specific implementation details. This interoperability simplifies the process of deploying applications on various platforms, eliminating the need for time-consuming modifications and customizations.

Secondly, the OCI format enhances security and trustworthiness by providing a standardized and verifiable way to package and distribute design patterns. By utilizing cryptographic signing, developers can ensure the integrity and authenticity of the design patterns they push and pull from container registries. This prevents tampering and reduces the risk of running malicious or compromised design patterns, enhancing the overall security posture of applications deployed using Meshery.

Another advantage of the OCI format is its ability to encapsulate not only the application code but also the underlying dependencies and runtime environment. This self-contained nature simplifies the process of distributing and maintaining design patterns, as all the necessary components are bundled together. It also allows for more consistent and reproducible deployments, ensuring that the design pattern behaves consistently regardless of the environment in which it is deployed.

Meshery is a self-service engineering platform.

Where DevOps Collaborates

As a self-service engineering platform, Meshery enables collaborative design and operation of cloud and cloud native infrastructure.

## Meshery's Support for OCI Format

Meshery fully embraces the use of OCI format for pushing and pulling design patterns. It provides a seamless integration with container registries that support OCI, enabling users to easily discover, share, and deploy design patterns. Meshery's user-friendly interface allows developers and operators to browse the available design patterns, inspect their metadata, and quickly deploy them to their service mesh environments.

Furthermore, Meshery's support for OCI format extends beyond just deploying design patterns. It also provides tools and capabilities to manage the lifecycle of these patterns, including versioning, updating, and deprecating. This ensures that users can easily keep track of the design patterns they utilize and stay up to date with the latest releases and improvements.


In conclusion, the adoption of OCI format by container registries and its integration within Meshery's design pattern management brings numerous benefits to the world of collaborative application infrastructure management. The use of OCI format ensures compatibility across different container runtimes, enhances security and trustworthiness, and simplifies the distribution and management of design patterns. With Meshery's support for OCI format, developers and operators can leverage these advantages to streamline and optimize their service mesh environments, ultimately improving the efficiency and reliability of their applications.

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Layer5, the cloud native management company

An empowerer of engineers, Layer5 helps you extract more value from your infrastructure. Creator and maintainer of cloud native standards. Maker of Meshery, the cloud native manager.