Red Hat brings Microsoft .NET Apps to its OpenShift cloud

In a surprising move, Red Hat will enable users to run .NET applications and SQL Server on its OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service cloud.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Talk about unlikely combinations. Red Hat, the leading enterprise Linux company, announced on March 5th that it's bringing Microsoft .NET and SQL Server capabilities to its OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service cloud. What's even more surprising is that Red Hat is doing this without Microsoft's help.

Here's how Red Hat and Uhuru are bringing .NET and SQL Server to OpenShift.

Instead, Red Hat is doing this by collaborating with Uhuru Software to bring Microsoft .NET and SQL Server capabilities to OpenShift. This is being done as an open-source, community-driven effort in OpenShift Origin. Origin is the upstream community project behind Red Hat's commercial OpenShift Online service and OpenShift Enterprise product.

Uhuru was founded just over two years ago by veteran ex-Microsoft executives: former vice president Jawad Khaki and former general manager Jawaid Ekram. They are self-proclaimed experts in bringing Windows to Open Source PaaS.

According to Uhuru, "OpenShift users can now use the same tools they love for managing their Linux apps with .NET. Likewise, Windows users can now take advantage of the powerful OpenShift environment for rapidly deploying, managing, and scaling their applications without sacrificing compatibility or functionality of the .NET platform they know.

This OpenShift integration software for Windows is open source and it's being integrated into Origin.

Uhuru claims to have done a thorough implementation of the OpenShift environment on Windows and used native C# code wherever possible for maximum reliability and compatibility. Thus, its Windows Server instances are a fully functional OpenShift node managed via SSH — just like Linux nodes.

The company also claims to have built cartridges for .NET and Microsoft SQL Server .NET applications benefit from the auto-scaling capabilities of OpenShift and can easily ramp up capacity by provisioning additional gears just as any other OpenShift app. Communication between the OpenShift broker and Windows node are done by using a Ruby-based client.

This isn't the first time Uhuru has brought .NET functionality to a PaaS. In 2011, the company started offering .Net Services for Cloud Foundry, which allowed developers to move existing .Net apps to the VMware cloud with no modifications

Red Hat is blending .NET and SQL Server into its cloud offerings because its customers have been asking for them. The company states that: "We deeply believe in customer choice. We also embrace the innovation that comes from our open-source communities and our partner ecosystem. With a host of .NET applications already deployed throughout enterprises, integrating Microsoft environments for application workloads can provide OpenShift users with the most complete developer experience. That’s why we were excited to have Uhuru collaborate with the OpenShift Origin community on this effort as the first step. This will then enable us to bring this capability to our Online and Enterprise customers in the future."

Thus, by adding .NET and Microsoft SQL Server to the list of available OpenShift platforms, Red Hat and Uhuru are enabling developers to create .NET applications using familiar OpenShift work-flows. With Uhuru, OpenShift can deliver a PaaS solution for .NET that is native to Windows while still enabling the secure, multi-tenant architecture that users have come to expect from our platform.

The end result, the partners claim, is that whether you’re "running an environment based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or Microsoft Windows, this new .NET on OpenShift solution will enable DevOps to provide a standardized application environment with consistent administration capabilities across both by abstracting away the underlying infrastructure. This means developers can easily write an application using a .NET front-end that is on Windows with a MySQL back-end on RHEL, all through the OpenShift self-service interface."

This is not a production project yet. If you’re interested in contributing to this effort, you can check the project out on the Uhuru Software OpenShfit GitHub. This code will also soon be merged into Origin along with additional documentation and videos. Microsoft .NET and SQL Server capabilities on OpenShift are also available for technical preview for customers that want a closer look. To check this out, e-mail openshiftdotnet@redhat.com for more information.

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