Red Hat is advancing its OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for application development with a new release that adds lifecycle management to its existing Docker containers and Kubernetes orchestration support, along with an updated version of its Atomic host platform.
The move follows the announcement of a partnership between Red Hat and Microsoft that will see Red Hat products and services available natively on the Azure public cloud, including the new OpenShift.
Available from the end of November, OpenShift Enterprise 3.1 is the latest version of Red Hat's application platform designed to run on both public and private cloud infrastructure and which brings together technologies such as Red Hat's Linux and its JBoss Enterprise Application Server.
Red Hat also offers a version of OpenShift available as a service hosted using Amazon Web Services, known as OpenShift Online.
The previous release of OpenShift Enterprise introduced support for Docker and Kubernetes to enable users to build and run applications in containers, and 3.1 extends this with application lifecycle management for containers, which includes things such as support for the Jenkins continuous integration platform.
It also provides developers with new capabilities from the JBoss middleware portfolio, including the JBoss Fuse enterprise service bus (ESB), JBoss Data Grid in-memory distributed database, and JBoss BRMS (Business Rules Management System), while developers can now access OpenShift from an Eclipse environment using a new plug-in.
Underpinning all this at the infrastructure layer is the Red Hat Atomic Enterprise platform, which the firm announced at the Red Hat summit in June. This is based on Atomic, its stripped-down Linux optimised for running containers, with the added ability to manage, orchestrate and deploy clusters of Atomic hosts and containers.
Atomic Enterprise also bundles networking and storage plug-ins, registry services for managing shared container images, and security tools.
As well as OpenShift 3.1 being built on top of Atomic Enterprise, Red Hat is planning to offer it as a separate product next year, although it will initially be available as a public preview from the end of November.
"Atomic is becoming the brand for a family of capabilities at the infrastructure layer for running containers, things like Linux, Docker Kubernetes, networking capabilities, container storage, logins. All of these we provide as the foundation for OpenShift and we're also going to offer it as a standalone solution for those who want to build their own container solution without the PaaS," said Joe Fernandes, Red Hat's senior director of product management.
The move means that OpenShift Enterprise 3.1 is like a layer cake, with the base Atomic OS at the bottom, on top of which Atomic Enterprise platform adds the infrastructure pieces, while OpenShift adds the middleware and app lifecycle tools.
While OpenShift Enterprise 3.1 is designed for customers to deploy themselves, the partnership announced between Red Hat and Microsoft last week should see OpenShift Enterprise 3.1 running atop the Azure cloud platform.
The two firms detailed that the portfolio of Red Hat solutions will be available on Microsoft Azure sometime in the coming weeks, enabling Azure users to take advantage of the full value of Red Hat's application platform, including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat JBoss Web Server, Red Hat Gluster Storage and OpenShift.
This is interesting, given that when Red Hat announced commercial availability of OpenShift Online running on AWS back in 2013, it said that Microsoft's Azure platform was its main rival, referring to Azure's own PaaS capabilities.
However, things move quickly in the IT industry, and Microsoft's new-found love for open source shows that vendors now accept that customers are typically operating a heterogeneous mix of technologies and are demanding a better level of interoperability.
"Today, it is incredibly likely that where you once found ‘Red Hat shops' and ‘Microsoft shops,' you'll find heterogeneous environments that include solutions from both companies. We heard from customers and partners that they wanted our solutions to work together - with consistent APIs, frameworks, management, and platforms," said Paul Cormier, Red Hat president for products and technologies, writing about the partnership on the firm's blog.
Both firms stressed the importance of being able to span hybrid environments, with Red Hat's CloudForms tool set to gain the ability to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux on both Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure, while System Center already has this capability.
"As customers move to a microservices architecture, I see a consistent enterprise platform and APIs for certified applications and container portability across physical, virtual, and private and public clouds becoming that much more important," Cormier said.
"Customers will want to be able to choose Microsoft Windows for Windows containers, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and OpenShift for certified Red Hat Enterprise Linux containers unified by the common .NET framework," he added.
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