Red Hat Details Container Strategy

During its Red Hat Summit 2018 conference, Red Hat filled in some of the gaps in its container strategy in the wake of acquiring CoreOS at the beginning of this year.

Over the next few months, the distribution of Kubernetes that CoreOS created, Tectonic, will be melded with the distribution of Kubernetes that Red Hat embedded within its OpenShift platform-as-service (PaaS) environment. Additionally, the Operators software developed by CoreOS to make it easier to manage Kubernetes clusters will be extended to OpenShift. The Red Hat PaaS will also be made available on Container Linux, the lightweight distribution of Linux developed by CoreOS, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Red Hat also revealed that the Atomic distribution of Linux that it developed will be melded with Container Linux.

Red Hat committed to sharing a full road map for integrating the two Kubernetes portfolios by the end of the year, including ongoing support for the Quay container registry created by CoreOs. All existing Tectonic customers eventually will become OpenShift customers. Red Hat also says a containerized version of the Red Hat Fuse application server, formally known as JBoss, will become available on OpenShift as well.

Red Hat also showed a technology preview of its Cloud-Native Virtualization utility for converting legacy applications running on hypervisors such as VMware into an instance of a Kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) that then can be embedded into a container. It’s not clear how many IT organizations will take advantage of the capability when it’s easier to encapsulate existing workloads in a Docker container that can be deployed anywhere. But Matt Hick, senior vice president of engineering for Red Hat, says there may be instances in which a workload is tightly coupled to a hypervisor application programming interface (API) that requires the presence of a specific type of hypervisor.

Red Hat also committed to supporting the Apache OpenWhisk serverless computing framework being developed under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Red Hat plans to make that serverless framework available on-premises as well as on any number of cloud computing services.

Finally, Red Hat is also making it easier to build applications. An instance of the Che cloud development platform based on the integrated development environment (IDE) that is now available for deployment on-premises.

Red Hat is clearly pursuing an OpenShift-everywhere strategy enabled by Kubernetes that includes cloud services from Microsoft all the way down to bare-metal servers running in a local data center.

While Red Hat is making a major commitment to Kubernetes to drive a hybrid cloud computing strategy, the company is not suggesting that every application workload be transformed into a set of distributed microservices. There is still a need to deploy monolithic applications as well as less granular services. But the one thing all those workloads should have in common from a Red Hat perspective is a common underlying PaaS environment based on Kubernetes.

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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