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Why Open Shift Is the New OpenStack for Red Hat
Sep 09, 2018

Back in the day, Red Hat saw a million-dollar opportunity in OpenStack. It went full steam in making sure that OpenStack is tightly integrated with its enterprise operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Fast forward to 2018, and the company has shifted its focus to the Kubernetes-based container platform, Open Shift. At the recently held annual user conference, the company highlighted the progress it is making with Open Shift.

After multiple false starts, Red Hat Open Shift Container Platform finally took off. It is transforming into a viable PaaS offering for enterprises. When it comes to containers, the company is gaining mindshare and market share.

Here are a few reasons why Red Hat is on the right track with its strategy.

Active contribution to the Kubernetes project

After Google, Red Hat is the second most significant contributor to the Kubernetes project. According to Stackalytics, an analytics engine that tracks the engagement on Github, Red Hat’s contribution is at 14!%, which only next to Google with 39!% of commits.

Clayton Coleman, the Lead Engineer for Open Shift, is one of the top individual contributors of Kubernetes. He helped shape up some of the core building blocks of the open source container management platform.

Red Hat is actively involved in defining the critical enterprise capabilities of Kubernetes such as cluster federation, OpenStack cloud provider and service catalog.

Though Red Hat is criticized for forking Kubernetes, it is making significant contributions to the project. Some of the enhancements to Open Shift will be eventually made available to the upstream Kubernetes, which will benefit the community.

CoreOS acquisition and expansion

Once considered arch-rival to RHEL, the makers of Container Linux are now a part of Red Hat. This acquisition is helping the company in accelerating the adoption of its enterprise PaaS.

Thanks to Red Hat, the operator framework that was created by CoreOS is now getting the attention it deserved. Eventually, Kubernetes operators will become the preferred mechanism to deploy complex workloads such as highly available databases.

If Red Hat supports CoreOS team in continuing the innovation, we can expect many exciting tools from them. It will also be interesting to see how Red Hat deals with Tectonic, the managed Kubernetes offering and Quay, the most popular container registry.

Overall, this acquisition enabled Red Hat in gaining credibility from the community, and in expanding its product portfolio.

Partnership with Microsoft and IBM

Red Hat has consciously stayed away from the temptation of running a public cloud. Instead, it is putting its energy on turning Open Shift the best hybrid PaaS platform. The recent deals with Microsoft and IBM helped the company get a leg up on Pivotal, a VMware-spinoff that sells Cloud Foundry PaaS.

Microsoft and Red Hat are going to deliver a managed Open Shift platform on Azure. The same will be eventually made available on Azure Stack, Microsoft’s private cloud platform. Red Hat Open Shift on Microsoft Azure will consistently support Windows containers alongside Red Hat Enterprise Linux containers. Mainstream Azure Services such as cosmos DB and Azure ML will show up in the Open Shift service catalog. This partnership goes a long way in enabling enterprises to modernize their traditional applications. This is a strategic move for both Microsoft and Red Hat.

Apart from Microsoft, Red Hat is also partnering with IBM. It is integrating Open Shift with IBM Cloud and IBM Cloud Private to make its PaaS available on both public cloud and private cloud.

Red Hat may also partner with Amazon to bring its managed PaaS to AWS. These partnerships will help the company in outsmarting the only other vendor selling enterprise PaaS, Pivotal.  

Integrating OpenStack and Open Shift

Even though the momentum has slowed down, OpenStack is not dead yet. Red Hat is selling the combination of OpenStack and Open Shift as the best technology stack to run enterprise applications.  

Red Hat is stacking up its virtualization layer, RHEV, OS in the form of RHEL, IaaS based on Red Hat Enterprise OpenStack and the PaaS layer powered by Open Shift as the ultimate stack for digital transformation.

Red Hat claims that some of the large enterprise customers such as Banco Multiva, Genesys and UKCloud are running the integrated stack.  

Ultimately, Red Hat’s bet on Kubernetes starts to pay off. It has successfully pivoted itself from being an infrastructure provider to an end-to-end platform company.

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