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Red Hat teams up with Microsoft in hybrid cloud, container push

Building on a strategic alliance first announced in 2015, the two software companies are working together on Red Hat OpenShift on Azure to reduce the complexity of managing containers in a hybrid cloud environment

Red Hat has teamed up with Microsoft to let developers run container-based applications on the Azure cloud and on-premise through its OpenShift container application platform.

The partnership, which builds on a strategic alliance first announced in November 2015, comes at a time when interest in using containerised applications is growing. According to Gartner, a technology analyst firm, more than half of global organisations are expected to run such applications in production environments by 2020, up from just 20% today.

The two companies said they will jointly engineer and manage Red Hat OpenShift on Azure to reduce the complexity of managing containers for enterprises. The offering will be a fully-managed service with support from both companies that covers containerised applications, operating systems and infrastructure.

Through OpenShift on Azure, developers can also access Azure services like Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Machine Learning, move applications between on-premise environments and Azure, and connect between Azure and on-premise OpenShift clusters with hybrid networking.

At the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco today, Paul Cormier, the company’s president for products and technologies, underscored the move towards hybrid IT which Red Hat’s partnership with Microsoft is aimed at.

“Very few organisations are able to fully silo their IT operations into a solely on-premises or public cloud footprint; instead, it’s a hybrid mixture of these environments that presents a path toward digital transformation,” he said.

In fact, Cormier said during a media briefing that everything Red Hat has been doing in recent years has been to support its hybrid cloud vision. “We’re in the hybrid cloud management business,” he said.

Managing cloud-native applications

For Azure customers, Red Hat said it is enabling the hybrid cloud with full support for its OpenShift Container Platform on-premise and on the Azure Stack, offering a consistent foundation for developing, deploying and managing cloud-native applications on Microsoft infrastructure.

It added that this will let customers tap the power of the Azure public cloud with the flexibility and control of OpenShift on-premise on the Azure Stack, along with multi-architecture container management that spans both Windows Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux containers.

OpenShift on Azure will also support Windows containers alongside Red Hat Enterprise Linux containers through a uniform orchestration platform. Microsoft’s SQL Server is also expected to be available as a Red Hat certified container that can be deployed on OpenShift on Azure.

Read more about enterprise open source

Besides Microsoft, Red Hat is working with IBM to make middleware products such as IBM WebSphere available as certified Red Hat containers, underscoring moves by large enterprise technology companies to embrace Red Hat’s versions of open source technologies, Cormier said.

On plans to ink similar partnerships with other public cloud providers, Cormier said Red Hat has been engaging the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google, and that there will be more of such deals to come.

In May 2017, Red Hat deepened its ties with AWS by enabling enterprises to use the latter’s public cloud services such as Amazon Aurora, Redshift and Athena on its OpenShift platform.

Both parties said then that they would align their development and release cycles, so enterprises can take advantage of new AWS services in areas such as networking and storage capabilities for applications powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux on AWS.

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