November 23, 2017

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce the amount of time developers spend managing local infrastructure resources, Red Hat this week announced it is acquiring Codenvy, a provider of a workspaces software for application development teams.

Codenvy makes use of Docker containers and the open-source Che integrated development environment (IDE) to create an environment where developers can more easily develop and share code. That code can then be packaged up in a Docker container format or handed off to another continuous integration engine that repackages it for deployment on a legacy platform.

Harry Mower, senior director for developer programs at Red Hat, says Red Hat plans to fold the Codenvy platform into Red Hat.io, a cloud-based application development platform dubbed Red Hat OpenShift.io, that Red Hat has made available in a preview mode. That application development platform is optimized for building cloud-native applications based on microservices that Red Hat hopes would be deployed on the company’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.

The end goal, says Mower, is to accelerate the rate at which new applications can be built and deployed. Of course, that creates significant challenges for IT operations teams. The Red Hat OpenShift PaaS is intended to resolve that issue by providing a higher level of abstraction above all the lower level IT infrastructure that IT operations teams would otherwise need to manage on their own.

Codenvy CEO Tyler Jewell says one of the problems with achieving that goal is that developers waste a lot of time managing their own local environments. The problem is that those local environments rarely accurately reflect the production environment where their code will run. Codenvy helps resolve that problem by making it simpler for developers to invoke scaffolding via a cloud service to create a Docker runtime capable of supporting multiple programming languages that can run anywhere without the developer ever having to manually create Docker files.

A complement to that effort is an open-source Language Server Protocol being jointly developed by Codenvy, Red Hat and Microsoft that defines a JSON-based data exchange protocol that can support multiple programming languages and IDEs. That effort, in turn, plays into a larger effort Red Hat strategy to eliminate the need for IT organizations to ever directly interact with lower-level Docker container technologies. At the core of that strategy is an OpenShift PaaS augmented by a Red Hat Ansible IT automation framework that collectively provides a higher level of abstraction for managing DevOps environments.

The degree to which Red Hat can successfully execute that strategy heavily depends on the willingness of IT organizations to give up stitching together lower-level components in favor of a more prescriptive approach to managing IT defined by Red Hat. Historically, most IT organizations have either resisted such approaches or simply didn’t have the will required to drive that level of change inside their organizations. But as microservices enabled by containers become a more mainstream approach for packaging applications, Red Hat is betting that many more IT organizations will soon see a lot less value in managing underlying IT infrastructure components when they could be devoting that time and energy to building and deploying a lot more applications.

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.