Will OpenShift 4 be a game-changer?

The hybrid cloud message rang loud and clear at Red Hat Summit 2019, with executives from the open source bigwig touting its wares to help enterprises run their workloads on-premise and on the cloud.

The key to Red Hat’s hybrid cloud play lies in OpenShift, its container platform based on Kubernetes, which lets developers provision containers, along with self-service provisioning of IT resources and automation capabilities.

Already being used by over 1,000 customers worldwide, including notable Asia-Pacific companies like Australia’s ANZ Bank and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, OpenShift received another shot in the arm this week with Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS, an embedded version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux acquired from Red Hat’s buyout of CoreOS last year.

While Red Hat has been integrating CoreOS capabilities into OpenShift since last year, including the ability to automate Kubernetes cluster upgrades over the air, the latest CoreOS enhancement in OpenShift 4 will provide more choices for enterprises to deploy enterprise-grade Kubernetes by offering a lightweight, fully immutable, container-optimised Linux distro.

For some years now, Red Hat has been doing some interesting work around Operators, a method of packaging, managing and deploying software as Kubernetes applications. With OpenShift 4, Red Hat has introduced Operator certification to deliver a trusted ecosystem of enterprise applications with consistent packaging, deployment and lifecycle management across all OpenShift footprints.

OpenShift 4 also comes with OperatorHub, where enterprises can try out Operators, or Kubernetes applications, at various maturity levels. Red Hat said this will help to “foster iterative software development and deployment as developers get self-service access to popular components like databases, message queues or tracing in a managed-service fashion on the platform”.

To ease application development processes, OpenShift 4 will include a developer preview of Knative for building serverless applications. By providing autoscaling, in-cluster builds and event frameworks for developing cloud-native applications on Kubernetes, Knative enables developers to focus on writing code by hiding complex parts of building, deploying and managing applications.

Also on the serverless front, Red Hat partnered with Microsoft to allow developers to tap Azure’s serverless functions in OpenShift through their joint Keda (Kubernetes-based event-driven autoscaling) initiative. This is expected to drive greater use of serverless computing and increase Microsoft’s visibility among developers in the growing function-as-a-service market.

A key hallmark of OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux is portability across different environments, whether it’s on the public cloud, on-premise or hybrid cloud. In the coming months, OpenShift 4 will debut on major public cloud services including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, as well as private cloud technologies like OpenStack, virtualisation platforms and bare-metal servers.

Whether OpenShift 4 will be a game-changer amid growing competition between Kubernetes distributions remains to be seen. But going by the feedback from industry watchers, Red Hat appears to be headed in the right direction.

Noting that Red Hat’s approach to enterprise Kubernetes is well-aligned with enterprise requirements, Jay Lyman, principal analyst for cloud native and DevOps at 451 Research, said OpenShift continues to be a top Kubernetes product in the market that simplifies central administration of Kubernetes clusters, environments and users.

To Al Gillen, IDC’s group vice president for software development and open source, OpenShift 4 offers the portability enterprises are asking for “in a package that brings substantive improvements in automating deployment and simplifying operation, which ultimately makes innovation easier.”

Will Red Hat OpenShift 4 be a game-changer? Tell us more in the comments!

Red Hat commissioned TechTarget APAC to cover Red Hat Summit 2019 in Boston. The above content was not reviewed or influenced prior to publication.

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