March 24, 2017

One of the things the IT community as a whole is just starting to appreciate is just how portable containers make just about everything and anything that runs on top of them.

Case in point is the Red Hat Mobile Application Platform, which now can be deployed on top of the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. As a result, Red Hat now can provide IT organizations with an instance of a mobile application development platform that can be deployed on-premises. The mobile application development platform is based on the FeedHenry mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) technology that Red Hat acquired in 2014.

Since RedHat acquired FeedHenry,  the company is encountering many organizations that simply are not comfortable with developing mobile applications in the cloud, says Chad Holmes, a senior solutions architect at Red Hat. Whether it’s for compliance reasons or fears that their intellectual property might be compromised, building mobile applications on-premises remains the preferred venue.

Now that there is an instance of the Red Hat MBaaS that runs on top of a container platform, Holmes says Red Hat can now provide those organizations with a modern mobile application development framework that can deploy on-premisea or invoke as a cloud service as they best see fit. In addition, Red Hat is making available technology previews of workforce management (WFM) modules based on the open-source FeedHenry RainCatcher community project. These JavaScript and Node.js-based modules are designed to accelerate the development of customized mobile workforce management applications that can be deployed on the OpenShift platforms.

Of course, where an application gets developed doesn’t necessarily dictate where it gets deployed. One of the best things about containers is they allow developers to package their applications in a way that allows them to be deployed almost anywhere. It’ll be interesting to see in the months ahead how many providers of cloud applications take advantage of containers to drive hybrid cloud strategies that they otherwise would not be able to implement cost-effectively.

Many cloud application service providers are trying to keep customers who are making so much use of their software that their annual subscription costs now exceed the cost of deploying an enterprise license themselves. Red Hat is betting that many of those cloud application service providers will start taking a harder look at a Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, as it provides the tooling they need to build, manage and deploy an application, regardless of where it happens to be running.

None of this portability benefit is lost on classic enterprise IT organizations. Many of them are starting to move entire legacy applications into containers that give them the ability to then move that application on to more modern IT infrastructure or into the cloud. In either case, that application instantly becomes available to a much broader range of developers using standard application programming interfaces (APIs).

In fact, application portability soon may be something no one thinks much about anymore. Instead, portability will be simply an IT given.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.