August 23, 2017

Aiming to bolster its case for deploying containers on a platform that is already widely used to support multiple type of application workloads in the enterprise, Red Hat has released an update to the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform that both scales now up to 10,000 nodes and includes embedded features for managing DevOps using Jenkins continuous integration (CI) tools. Also new to the platform are enhanced A/B testing automation through granular control of application routing configurations enabled by integrated routing and software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities.

In addition, Red Hat has enhanced the overall security the platform by adding registry enhancements that make it possible to both view image details and manage access to images. OpenShift Container Platform also provides integrated user authorization and roles-based access controls for Kubernetes that integrate with enterprise LDAP-systems, along with an ability to invoke security policies for container execution that limit who in the organization has permission to access any given container.

Joe Fernandes, senior director of product management for Red Hat, says the two cornerstones of the OpenShift Container Platform are Docker Container Runtime and the Kubernetes container orchestration framework. Version 3.3 adds support for both the latest version of Docker Container Runtime as well as the version 1.3 release of Kubernetes.

The reason IT organizations need OpenShift Container Platform is because containers eventually will run on both virtual machines and bare-metal servers; some of which might be deployed on premise or in a public cloud using either VMware, OpenStack or even the Microsoft Azure cloud. OpenShift Container Platform provides an extensible IT environment that makes managing a distributed container applications much simpler, says Fernandes.

That environment, however, is designed purposely to not be overly prescriptive in terms of how containers get deployed and managed. In contrast to more rigid platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments, Red Hat designed OpenShift in general to create a flexible platform that adapts easily to different levels of DevOps maturity, Fernandes says.

As containers and microservices become more widely employed across the enterprise, Red Hat is betting IT organizations will opt for an OpenShift platform strategy anchored on Red Hat Enterprise Linux that can be employed to manage both container and legacy applications.

Of course, Red Hat is not the only major IT vendor with container platform ambitions. In fact, thanks to arrival of containers, many IT organizations are now in the process of reevaluating their entire IT platform strategy. Legacy applications are not going away anytime soon. But many of them can now be embedded inside a container to make it simpler to port them to the same platform on which a new generation of microservices is running. Over time, IT organizations then have the luxury of deconstructing monolithic legacy applications into a set of microservices that can be invoked more easily and consumed by other applications. Each of the major IT vendors wants desperately to be at the center of this application platform convergence.

Naturally, it’s too early to forecast which vendors will ultimately dominate that convergence. It may be one of the major platform incumbents or some new entrant that has yet to make its presence fully known. The one thing that is clear is that containers in of themselves only represent the beginning of what promises to be a very extended IT journey.

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.