August 18, 2017

Red Hat expanded its reach into the realm of managed services this week with the launch of Red Hat OpenShift Online, an instance of the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform delivered as a cloud service managed by Red Hat.

Sathish Balakrishnan, director of OpenShift Online, says that as organizations start to transform into digital businesses that employ cloud-native applications, many of them are preferring to divert more of their resources into developing applications rather than managing the underlying infrastructure on which those applications are built and deployed. To facilitate that shift, Red Hat has expanded its number of managed services offerings to provide options for deploying applications on-premises and in the cloud.

Historically, only about a quarter of organizations have opted to rely on managed services instead of an internal IT operations teams. But over the last year, vendors that build platforms have begun aggressively selling a managed service experience they provide. That has implications not only for internal IT organizations but also IT service providers that specialize in managed services. Some of those IT services providers will choose to continue to develop their own platforms for delivering managed services, while others will find reselling a managed service provided by a vendor the path of least resistance.

Capabilities provided within Red Hat OpenShift Online include:

  • One-click and “Git push” command deployment capabilities
  • Automatic application scaling
  • A source-to-image (S2I) framework to build reproducible container images
  • Built-in integration with integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Eclipse, Red Hat JBoss Developer Studio and Titanium Studio, and
  • Red Hat OpenShift Application Services based on the Red Hat JBoss Middleware portfolio.

To make matters better, its managed service more appealing Red Hat is offering Red Hat OpenShift Online in two forms. There’s a free service that comes with 1GB of memory and 1GB storage for unrestricted use. The paid OpenShift Pro service makes additional resources available for $25 per month per gigabyte of memory or storage and includes free basic support for a limited amount of time. Balakrishnan says the goal of the free services is to encourage developers to build and deploy proof-of-concept applications that can then scale to the point where they require OpenShift Pro.

Balakrishnan says Red Hat expects to see a lot of hybrid managed services scenarios. Some customers may opt to have Red Hat manage OpenShift Container Platform on-premises, while making use of an unmanaged version in the cloud to develop applications. Conversely, other organizations may opt to extend an on-premises instance of OpenShift Container Platform by having Red Hat manage an instance in the cloud that they use to distribute applications across a broad geographic area. Each customer is going to prefer a different combination of managed and unmanaged services, says Balakrishnan.

In the meantime, there’s a lot of debate these days over the merits of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) versus container-as-a-service (CaaS) environments. Balakrishnan says Red Hat effectively rendered that debate moot when it embedded the Kubernetes container orchestration engine in OpenShift to provide an environment that can support both legacy and cloud-native applications. In fact, Balakkrishnan says most organization don’t really care what the underlying platform is as long as they can quickly build and deploy 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.