Red Hat today advanced the state of DevOps in container environments by making available an open source Buildah utility in version 7.5 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) that makes it possible for developers create and modify Linux container images without a full container runtime or daemon being present.
The Buildah utility enable developers to create both Docker-formatted images as well as images that comply with the Open Container Initiative (OCI) format.
Steve Almy, principal product manager for RHEL, says that approach effectively eliminates the need to set up a dedicated host for building container applications, which significantly reduces the DevOps burden associated with supporting developers of containerized applications. Buildah allows IT teams to build and deploy containerized applications without needing a full container engine. That approach not only reduces the number of container engines on a system that might need to be managed, it also substantially reduces the overall attack surface, says Almy.
By reducing the complexity associated with building container applications, the rate at which containerized applications are developed should increase considerably, Almy adds.
The latest release of RHEL is aimed at making broad range of emerging DevOps technologies across multiple platforms more accessible. For example, RHEL 7 provides integration between the Red Hat Ansible IT automation framework and OpenSCAP, a collection of assessment, measurement and enforcement tools for establishing security baselines that was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Ansible Playbooks can ingest data from OpenSCAP security scans, which then can be used to automatically remediate a potential issue. RHEL also now supports Network-Bound Disk Encryption to automate the decryption of data volumes when required.
Red Hat also moved to tighten integration between RHEL and Microsoft platforms, including improved management and communication with Windows Server, more secure data transfers with Microsoft Azure, and performance improvements for complex Microsoft Active Directory implementations.
The latest version of RHEL also sports a simplified user interface and virtual data optimizer (VDO) software that reduces data storage costs by up to 83 percent. VDO is based on technology Red Hat gained by last year acquiring Permabit.
Almy says Red Hat is focused on making it easier for IT organizations to scale IT operations without having to hire expert engineers that are both hard to find and retain. The goal is to make it possible for the average IT administrator to manage a highly distributed IT environment. In fact, Almy notes that one of the things holding back hybrid cloud computing adoption is the lack of a consistent management framework spanning both on-premises and cloud computing environments.
Red Hat has already made it clear that Docker containers running on Kubernetes are core to its hybrid cloud strategy. The company’s entire Red Hat OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment runs on top of Kubernetes. The goal now is to make it easier for the IT operations teams charged with supporting those applications to stand up the underlying IT infrastructure environment, says Almy.
Naturally, Red Hat is not the only IT platform provider with similar ambitions. But the company has demonstrated a knack for rolling out DevOps innovations at a steady clip, either by developing them on its own, importing them from other open source projects or simply acquiring new capabilities in the form of Permabit or CoreOS, whenever required. The bigger challenge, however, may be educating the local IT staff on how best to employ all those new capabilities.