Over the last few weeks, we’ve written a lot about why Red Hat OpenShift is strategically aligned to Kubernetes, as well as why we believe that OpenShift is the most Enterprise-Ready Kubernetes offering in the marketplace today. With the investment that Red Hat has made over the past several years, along with the rapid growth of the Kubernetes community, we believe that our customers have the foundation in place to create new efficiencies in their business and expand their efforts to drive digital transformations within their marketplaces.
While Kubernetes is at the top of the list of cool projects these days (1000+ contributors!), we wouldn’t be seeing the levels of customer adoption of OpenShift if we only delivered Enterprise-Ready Kubernetes. The reality for most Enterprise companies is that new, greenfield applications are currently a very small percentage of their overall application portfolio. Often times they have 100:1 or 1000:1 ratio of existing applications to new applications. New applications will help them interact with customers in new ways, but the priority of those applications is still fairly low compared to the business value that can be created by modernizing other portions of their application portfolio.
Rethinking our Application Portfolio
Lots of companies throw around the phase “eat our own dog food”, and the really classy ones use “drink our own champagne”. In the IT industry, it is expected that technology vendors will use their own technologies internally, especially if they want real experience in, “What lessons did you learn that we can avoid?” conversations with early-adopter customers. This is checklist material for any technical evaluation.
A better evaluation criteria is whether or not a company is realigning their technology roadmap and business model to the types of transformations that they are asking their customer to undertake as well. Are they figuring out how to align offerings in a way that can address the same types of internal realignments that customers are going through?
Let’s look at how Red Hat has been evolving the application-centric aspects of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform to align to the challenges of evolving software development and deployability.
Pipelines: The Application Supply Chain
For many of our customers, the core problem they are living with is, “We need to build and update software faster.” This is for all types of software – from new applications to existing applications to packaged software that needs to integrate within their business. And they need to do it in a cost-effective manner.
In order to solve this problem, there is typically a recognition that it will require a mix of people + cultural changes that are identified as “DevOps” (examples: here, here, here), and technology changes that embrace frequent changes and automation of common tasks (testing, deployments, etc.). While it’s not unusual for customers to already have some form of testing system in place, we frequently see them recognize that Continuous Integration (CI) pipelines are a scalable application that could benefit from the functionality embedded in OpenShift (on-demand resources, scale-out resources, etc.). This is why we have embedded CI pipelines (e.g. Jenkins) into OpenShift to improve the application build/test/deploy process. Pipelines will help companies better manage the scalability needs of CI, as well as provide greater visibility of builds to DevOps teams and tighter integration to OpenShift for deploying applications across the lifecycle.
Containerized Application Services – The Building Blocks of Modern Middleware
As we’ve seen over the past decade with server virtualization or public cloud, the migration of applications from one platform to another (e.g. bare metal to virtual-machines) creates a broad set of changes for many groups in IT – developers, operations, networking, storage, security, compliance, etc. Not only do they need to understand the new packaging models, but critical elements like performance, availability, and disaster planning. The rapid growth in the use of Linux containers has brought about similar levels of change for many groups in IT. Knowing this would happen, Red Hat challenged our application portfolio teams to be well prepared for these changes.
While that transformation has been ongoing, we’re excited that 100% of the Red Hat portfolio is now containerized and optimized to run as native services on Red Hat OpenShift. More details are available here. By enabling the middleware, mobile and API services to be native to the OpenShift platform, it makes it much easier for us to offer the broadest mix of cloud-native (stateless) and existing (stateful) services in the industry. It also makes it much simpler for Red Hat to integrate container-native storage services into the platform as well.
SPOILER – This very cool (open) Service Broker API capability is also coming in 2017!
One Platform – Many Services – Any Cloud
Far too often we find that the changes needed to migrate to a more agile, DevOps environment get stuck in a chicken-or-egg dilemma between not having the right technology and not being organized to adapt to rapid change. By making the technology side of the equation consistent and container-centric for the entire Red Hat portfolio, Red Hat has eliminated a large portion of the choices that companies must face.
One platform (OpenShift), many languages (Linux-compatible or .NET), many services (Pipelines, Middleware, Microservices, Mobile, APIs), across any cloud (VMware, OpenStack, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud).