Red Hat Extends Scope of Podman Container Tool for IT Admins

Red Hat today added a systems roles capability to its Podman tool for developing, managing and running containers on Linux platforms. This capability aims to make it simpler for administrators to automatically configure pre-integrated workloads and instances of Microsoft SQL and Microsoft Active Directory without employing a command line interface (CLI).

Podman can now also be employed to track container creation events either manually or as part of an automated workflow. It can also now provide custom container health checks to enable IT administrators to automatically remediate and mitigate issues whenever a container might need to be replaced.

Scott McBrien, principal technical marketing manager for Red Hat, said the addition of a systems role capability is part of an ongoing effort to provide IT teams with an alternative to Docker that doesn’t require as much DevOps expertise to successfully configure an IT environment.

System roles leverage playbooks created using the open source Ansible automation framework to declaratively configure workloads. That approach makes it possible for the average IT administrator to configure container workloads without any programming skills required. IT teams, as a result, are more likely to embrace cloud-native applications because the platforms they run on will no longer be viewed as snowflakes that require a dedicated DevOps team to programmatically manage, he noted.

This update to Podman is being provided via 9.2 update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) that is generally available now and will also be supported in 8.8 version of RHEL trailing the release of RHEL 9.2.

Other updates to RHEL include the ability to add specific security policies to Red Hat’s Image Builder tool for creating operating system images for various IT environments and the ability to create standard RHEL blueprints that can be easily shared between IT teams.

In addition, the web console that Red Hat provides IT administrators has been updated to enable automatic encrypted disk unlocking on root filesystems using network-bound disk encryption (NBDE) to protect data at rest. Via the console, IT administrators can now also apply frequently used combinations of system-wide cryptography policies to meet compliance requirements.

Red Hat has also added support for 64k page sizes for processors based on Arm architecture. In addition, Red Hat has extended support options for its minor releases that would otherwise require an upgrade. The company said for select minor releases, customers can elect Extended Update Support (EUS) for up to two years as well as add Enhanced Extended Update Support (EEUS). This lets a customer stay on a selected minor release for up to four years above and beyond the levels of support available from a standard RHEL release cycle, according to Red Hat.

It’s not clear how much traction Podman is gaining, but as a tool that is readily available to IT administrators, it can streamline the management of a container environment. There are simply not enough DevOps engineers available to programmatically configure container environments, so Red Hat is making a concerted effort to provide IT administrators with the tools they require to support these environments, noted McBrien.

One way or another, DevOps teams will need to find ways to work alongside IT administrators. Given the right set of tools, IT admins can play a significant role in managing container environments. The challenge becomes defining which tasks can be handled by an IT administrator to free up DevOps teams to take on more complicated processes that require more advanced programming expertise.

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.

Mike Vizard has 1497 posts and counting. See all posts by Mike Vizard