Red Hat this week announced the general availability of the latest update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) that, among other things, embeds tools for building containerized applications.
Scott McCarty, technical product manager for the container subsystem team at Red Hat, says RHEL 8.2 provides access to technology previews of containerized versions of Buildah, a tool for building container images that comply with the Open Container Image (OCI) specification, and Skopeo, a tool that facilitates the movement of container images.
At the same time, Red Hat is adding Udica, a tool that makes it easier to create customized, container-centric SELinux security policies that reduce the risk that a process might “break out” of a container.
RHEL 8.2 also introduces enhancements to the Red Hat Universal Base Image, which now supports OpenJDK and .NET 3.0, in addition to making it easier to access source code associated with a given image via a single command.
The additional container tools are part of a concerted effort to include more tools for building and managing applications in the core operating system. For example, RHEL 8.2 also adds additional management and monitoring capabilities via updates to Red Hat Insights, which is provided to make it easier to define and monitor policies created by the IT organization, as well as reduce any drift from baselines initially defined by the IT team.
McCarty says Red Hat is pursuing a more modular approach to enabling organizations to build and deploy containers. For example, there is no need to include tools for building containerized applications on instances of Linux where containers run. That approach reduces the overall size of the container platform in the server environment by replacing Docker containers with a lighter-weight CRI-O container engine optimized for Kubernetes clusters, he notes.
The overall rate of transition away from Docker has been relatively slow, but now that RHEL 8 has made CRI-O its default runtime for containers, the pace of that transition is expected to increase as organizations continue to migrate from RHEL 7. The rate at which that transition may occur, however, may be slowed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is forcing organizations to re-evaluate their overall IT strategies. It’s not so much a question of if organizations will migrate to CRI-O as much as it is when.
In the meantime, tools for building containers that are themselves deployed as containers should make it easier to incorporate these tools within the context of existing DevOps workflows. Developers should be able to deploy them on any preferred platform for building applications.
Those containerized applications, of course, are core to a Red Hat strategy that is squarely focused on RHEL being a foundation for Red Hat OpenShift, the application development and deployment platform based on Kubernetes that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. Of course, without the tools to build those containerized applications being readily accessible, it may be difficult for Red Hat to realize its ultimate hybrid cloud computing ambitions.