July 24, 2017

Making good on a previous commitment to build a container-as-a-service (CaaS) environment, SUSE, a unit of Micro Focus, has combined its SUSE MicroOS operating system, the Kubernetes container orchestration platform and open-source SALT automation tools into a single CaaS platform.

Raj Meel, global product and solution marketing manager at SUSE, says the goal is to make it simpler for IT operations teams to stand up a complete CaaS environment. As part of that effort, the SUSE CaaS environment provides capabilities to manage a local registry, build container images, patch container images and pull trusted images from the SUSE Registry.

Meel says increased usage of containers is driving more adoption of lightweight distributions of Linux than ever. The container includes most everything needed to run an application workload. As a result, there’s no need to run a large operating system underneath the container. That approach serves to reduce the operating system management requirements imposed on the IT operations team, while also substantially reducing the size of the attack surface that needs to be defended.

The decision regarding which CaaS environment to use tends to be significantly influenced by developers, says Meel, but it’s ultimately up to an IT operations team to make the final decision. In fact, he notes there are instances when an IT organization may opt to deploy both a CaaS and a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. SUSE plans to make available a PaaS environment based on the open-source Cloud Foundry project running on the OpenStack cloud management framework as well. That implementation of Cloud Foundry is based on an instance curated by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), which has taken an equity position in SUSE parent company Micro Focus. SUSE became part of Micro Focus when it acquired Attachmate, which previously had acquired the assets of Novell. Since then, Micro Focus has established SUSE as a subsidiary company. With the rise of containers and lightweight distributions of Linux, SUSE clearly sees an opportunity to once again challenge rivals such as Red Hat for Linux supremacy.

Usually, the decision to deploy a CaaS or a PaaS comes down to the sophistication of the IT operations team. While neither Kubernetes nor Cloud Foundry are simple to deploy, developers tend to be more willing to at least stand up a Kubernetes cluster on their own. The good news is that BOSH and Kubo tools that make deploying Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes platforms easier are being advanced by the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Meel says SUSE is under no illusions about how long it might take enterprise IT organizations to transition to a CaaS or even a PaaS environment as part of an extended DevOps journey. But as that transition occurs it’s apparent that SUSE, in partnership with both HPE and Huawei—is determined to reassert itself. The degree to which it can achieve that goal remains to be seen. But at a time when there is so much transition occurring within enterprise IT environments, more organizations appear to be willing to re-evaluate all their options.

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.