Red Hat today made generally available an update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) that adds full support for the Podman tool. Podman is used for managing containers and pods on Kubernetes clusters within continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) systems as well as other operating environments.
Designed for containers that comply with the Open Container Initiative (OCI) specification, Podman makes it possible for IT teams to manage the entire container ecosystem from a command-line interface (CLI) which is typically favored by DevOps teams.
At the same time, version 8.5 of RHEL adds default container image signature verification, which, in addition to verifying the integrity of container images at installation, also confirms that images are pulled from the Red Hat Container Registry and have not been tampered with since they were originally signed.
Red Hat is also making it possible to create container images faster using a rootless instance of the union mount file system implementation for Linux, dubbed OverlayFS, and tighter integration with cgroup2 for better overall resource utilization by isolating processes.
In addition, RHEL 8.5 adds tighter integration with Red Hat Insights, a cloud-based predictive analytics platform service that can discover vulnerability and compliance issues in addition to offering remediation advice.
Red Hat has also made it easier to manage Microsoft SQL Server databases, virtual private networks (VPNs) and Postfix mail servers. Red Hat is also now supporting the OpenJDK 17 and .NET Core 6 frameworks for building applications along with enhancements to its Image Builder tool that enable RHEL images to be deployed more easily on edge computing platforms.
Finally, The Red Hat Enterprise Linux web console has been enhanced to make it possible to manage live kernel patching operations and manage overall performance.
Siddharth Nagar, a senior member of the RHEL product management team, says the line between what container management functions will be handled by platforms such as Kubernetes and which will be handled by operating systems is starting to blur. In many cases, IT teams are building applications using containers without using any orchestration platform, so integration with Podman provides an alternative approach for IT teams to manage the container environment, he notes.
In either case, as the number of containers deployed in IT environments continues to increase, Nagar says there will need to be increased reliance on automation at all levels of the IT stack to make up for the ongoing shortage of IT skills.
Ultimately, containers will force organizations to more widely embrace IT automation as IT environments become more dynamic. It’s not uncommon for containers to now only run for a few seconds. That pace of change makes it extremely difficult for IT teams to manage modern application environments, especially using largely monolithic processes that were originally designed to support legacy monolithic applications.
In the meantime, even the most advanced DevOps teams will need to revisit development and deployment processes as the percentage of cloud-native applications based on containers running in production environments continues to steadily increase.