Red Hat takes on the hybrid cloud with its latest OpenShift Kubernetes distro

IT's future belongs to containers and Kubernetes, and Red Hat thinks its latest OpenShift Kubernetes distro will take you there.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

A popular belief in today's business circles is that every company is now a tech company. Red Hat -- the powerhouse Linux and cloud business -- agrees. Nearly every industry, including healthcare, logistics, retail, financial services, government, education, and more, needs faster, more widespread access to essential applications and services. For Red Hat's leadership, that means the container and Kubernetes-powered open hybrid cloud

To make that happen, Red Hat is improving its latest Kubernetes distro,  Red Hat OpenShift. Red Hat OpenShift 4.4 has been rebased on December 2019's Kubernetes 1.17

In particular, this release makes more out of Kubernetes Operators. These are application-specific controllers that extend the Kubernetes application programming interface (API). It's used to create, configure, and manage instances of complex stateful applications. This takes the "human knowledge" of managing a Kubernetes application and builds it into software, thus making typically challenging Kubernetes stateful workloads, such as databases, much easier to deploy and maintain.

OpenShift 4.4 also introduces a developer-centric view of platform metrics and monitoring for application workloads, monitoring integration for operators, cost management for assessing the resources and costs used for specific applications across the hybrid cloud, and much more. 

Looking ahead, this release also gives developers a sneak peek of OpenShift virtualization. This new KubeVirt feature is available as a Technology Preview. KubeVirt enables organizations to develop, deploy, and manage virtual machines (VM) applications alongside containers and serverless. 

Instead of jury-rigging VM-based legacy technology stacks into Kubernetes Red Hat brings VM-based traditional application stacks into its OpenShift Kubernetes fold. The result should be much smoother IT deployment and management experience for DevOps and system administrators. 

To help you manage all this across a hybrid cloud, Red Hat's also introducing a new management solution. Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes as a Technology Preview. This provides a single, simplified control point for the monitoring and deployment of OpenShift clusters at scale, offering policy-driven governance and application lifecycle management. With it, you can manage your Kubernetes clusters no matter if they're all on-premise or scattered over data centers and multiple clouds. 

This is a "from the ground-up" container management program. It's not built on legacy management tools. This platform, Red Hat states, "provides organizations with the tools and unified visibility they need to address the complexities of managing in the cloud-native era."

All this new OpenShift goodness will be available, Red Hat reminds us, across hybrid and multi-cloud footprints, including:

  • Every major public cloud provider in Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and many specialized cloud providers. 
  • Managed solutions through OpenShift Dedicated, Azure Red Hat OpenShift, and IBM Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes Service, enabling organizations to gain the benefits of enterprise Kubernetes without the burden of infrastructure management.
  • Support for multiple computing architectures, including x86, IBM Power, and mainframes.

Beyond all the OpenShift improvements, Red Hat is also making: 

  • Enhancements to Red Hat Insights, Red Hat's proactive security and risk management-as-a-service offering, which makes it easier for IT teams to detect, diagnose, and remediate potential problems before they impact production systems or end-users. Insights is not an add-on, as it is available across every supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscription by default.
  • Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform also helps to address the complexities of expanding network demand and infrastructure footprints by automating time-consuming manual tasks, helping IT teams to more effectively meet customer and end-user needs beyond service uptime.

Taken all together, Red Hat's new president and CEO, Paul Cormier, said: "Perhaps more than ever before, the unique needs of every organization are in sharp focus - some need to scale operations immediately to meet relentless services demand while others seek to strengthen and maintain core IT operations. Rather than only provide technologies to address one need or the other, Red Hat provides a flexible, fully open set of solutions to our customers, meeting them where they are with what they need."

Customers agree. Red Hat revenue was up 18% in the last quarter. Much of that growth is coming from IBM and Red Hat's combined cloud businesses. So far, IBM should be really happy with its $34-billion Red Hat investment. 

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