In the world of containers the open source Kubernetes orchestration framework created by Google (GOOG) has emerged as the dominant framework for managing containers such as Docker and Rocket. Now Google is gearing up to extend the reach of Kubernetes to virtual machines.

At an OpenStack Silicon Valley event this week, Craig McLuckie, group product manager for Google Compute Engine, outlined how via a Magnum project Google plans to extend Kubernetes to virtual machines to create a common orchestration layer for both containers and virtual machines. There’s also a separate project involving Google and Mirantis, a provider of an OpenStack distribution, under which Kubernetes is being integrated with the OpenStack Application Catalog known as Murano.

As part of that effort, Google also plans to map containers to the OpenStack cloud management framework and provide better integration between Kubernetes and the Neutron network virtualization software that is a core element of the OpenStack framework, McLuckie said.

Given all the developer frenzy surrounding Docker containers, managing them is quickly becoming a pressing issue for solution providers and their customers. While most container usage remains in the realm of application development running on public clouds, it’s only a matter of time now before applications based on containers wind up in production environments. The debate these days is whether those applications will wind up running on bare metal servers or be deployed on top of existing virtual machines or even in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. The case for the latter two options is based largely on security concerns and that the management frameworks for containers are even less mature than the container technology itself.

While Google clearly is trying to alleviate those concerns by aligning itself more closely with OpenStack, the OpenStack management platform itself continues to have its own issues with scalability and interoperability. As a result, the number of IT organizations actually running OpenStack is still fairly limited.

Put it all together and it’s clear IT organizations soon are going to be looking to solution providers for advice on how to best go about incorporating containers into their environments. The problem is the management technologies surrounding containers, with one possible exception, are still relatively immature. For that reason, it’s not uncommon to see IT operations teams defaulting to using VMware (VMW) to manage containers in production environments. After all, VMware, from an IT operations perspective, is a known quantity.

Naturally, that might not always be the case. But for now at least, both Kubernetes and OpenStack have a ways to go before they can effectively challenge VMware—or, for that matter Microsoft—when it comes to supremacy in the data center.