April 28, 2017

As part of a concerted effort to become a major driver in the shift toward containers, Red Hat has added support for the latest instance of Kubernetes container orchestration engine and the ability to provision container storage dynamically to the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

Joe Fernandes, senior director for product management for OpenShift at Red Hat, says updates to his company’s products and services is keeping pace with the evolution of container technologies. Version 3.4 of the platform comes on the heels of an update rolled out last fall.

Fernandes also notes that the range of applications in which containers are being employed also is expanding. Because of that, Red Hat is seeing developers now using containers to build both stateful and stateless applications, which creates the need to access container-native storage in the form of Red Hat Gluster software, says Fernandes.

At the same time, Kubernetes 1.4 support also makes it much simpler to manage multiple container projects sharing the same cluster, he says.

Collectively, Fernandes notes, container technologies are increasing the rate at which IT organizations are realizing the need to embrace modern DevOps processes enabled by continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) platforms. Application functions are being delivered in a more granular method using containers, and existing approaches to application lifecycle management simply are not able to keep pace, he says.

Of course, many IT organizations are wrestling with the challenge of how best to absorb the rate of change to IT environments enabled by containers. In the age of digital business, there’s more pressure on IT organizations to be even more agile. Unfortunately, most organizations have not implemented the tools and processes capable of keeping up with the rate at which developers now are building—and regularly updating—applications.

Red Hat views the rise of containers as an opportunity to usurp the dominance of both VMware and Microsoft in the data center. Microsoft has gotten off to a slow start in responding to demand for container platforms. VMware, however, has embraced containers more aggressively. But VMware realizes container adoption is being driven largely by developers who are more familiar with open-source code than they are virtual machine technologies, and that’s an issue for VMware.

It’s too early to say the degree to which containers will shift the balance of power across the enterprise. As developers take on more responsibility for applications, the influence of traditional IT operations teams appears to be declining inside the data center. Developers are demanding access to IT infrastructure that they can manage on their own without any intervention from an IT operations team required. At the same time, IT organizations need to have a well-defined set of IT operations processes in place to both manage applications at scale and meet compliance requirements. Striking a balance between those goals and requirements is at the heart of the never-ending DevOps debate.

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.