Red Hat Extends Microsoft Alliance into Container Realm

Looking to extend an existing hybrid cloud computing alliance into the realm of containers, Red Hat and Microsoft this week announced integration between instances of Windows servers hosting containers and the Red Hat OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.

In addition, the SQL Server for Linux will be made available on both Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the two companies announced.

Finally, Red Hat also committed to making Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated, an instance of the company’s PaaS environment that is delivered as a managed service, available on the Microsoft Azure cloud.

These moves follow Microsoft’s announcement earlier this week to make Microsoft .Net Core, an application development framework, available as a container on OpenShift. That capability is significant because it means both new and legacy .Net applications now can be hosted on OpenShift.

Mike Ferris, vice president of cloud strategy for Red Hat, says customers have been making it clear they expect the collaboration and integration agreement to drive hybrid cloud computing the two companies forged in 2015 to extend to include any development activity involving containers. In fact, Ferris notes, the portability of containers is enabling IT organizations to unify the management of multiple clouds via the OpenShift PaaS environment.

Of course, it’s still not possible to move a container running Linux to Windows Server. But Ferris says IT organizations can manage Windows Server hosting containers in the same way RHEL servers are managed via OpenShift. In addition, Ferris says because OpenShift is built on top of the Kubernetes container orchestration engine, IT organizations have the option to deploy OpenShift in the cloud or on-premises as they see fit.

Given the inherently portable nature of Kubernetes, many IT organizations are starting to view the open-source container orchestration engine as means to unify the management of multiple clouds. The trouble with cloud computing today is that each cloud computing platform is a silo that requires IT organizations to acquire and master separate tools to manage it. As Kubernetes starts to proliferate across those clouds, it’s feasible to start unifying the management of multiple stacks of infrastructure residing on either a public or private cloud.

It may take a while for that unification to come about. Ferris notes that Red Hat customers will also be able to leverage management tools such as CloudForms and the open-source Ansible IT automation framework to advance that goal. Via the Microsoft partnership, Red Hat is also approaching a point where it doesn’t much care where an application runs, as long as it can be managed by one of its frameworks. Not too long ago, that level of détente between Red Hat and Microsoft would have been thought of as inconceivable.

Red Hat naturally is not the only IT vendor with similar cloud computing ambitions. But Red Hat has definitely assembled the technology arsenal required to turn its vision of hybrid cloud computing into an everyday IT reality.

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.

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