Red Hat makes its case to be THE container company

Looking to establish itself as the leader in the nascent container technology market, Red Hat has enabled one of its flagship products to support containers fully and released a new container management platform, too.

Containers are a hot topic at the Red Hat Summit taking place this week in Boston, the same week the container industry is meeting in San Francisco for Dockercon, a conference dedicated to the operating system-level virtualization.

Despite the hype about containers, no clear industry leader has emerged for container management. With the announcement of OpenShift Enterprise 3 and the Atomic Enterprise Platform both of which support containers as first-class citizens Executive Vice President Paul Cormier says Red Hat is looking to become THE container company. "I think with these new products we just took the lead," he said.

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The newly-released Version 3 of OpenShift has been redesigned from its core to support containers, says Asheh Badani, general manager of the OpenShift product. It combines Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with Docker-formatted container support and the Google Kubernetes container management software as a packaged system.

As a platform-as-a-service (PaaS), OpenShift is meant to be a platform on which organizations can build applications. Developers write code for new apps and then OpenShift takes care of deploying the underlying infrastructure that's needed to launch them. With Version 3, applications in OpenShift will be deployed in containers. OpenShift can run in a private cloud, in Amazon Web Service's public cloud or it can be hosted by Red Hat.

The company also launched the preview of a product named Atomic Enterprise Platform, which is a pared-down version of OpenShift that is solely a container-management platform. It also uses the open source Kubernetes container clustering and orchestration tools. Atomic is meant for organizations that are comfortable managing their own apps infrastructure, but would like to deploy those apps in containers.

Cormier says one key to both OpenShift 3 and Atomic is that they have the certified Red Hat operating system RHEL as their base, which gives containers the same security and management features that are in RHEL.

Another initiative Red Hat executives discussed this week is certified registries of container images. This will allow Red Hat to host a series of containers that have preloaded applications in them. Red Hat will also allow organizations to create their own registries of container images. This is important, Badani says, because with so many applications in containers, it's difficult to determine which can be trusted. Red Hat wants to help users certify that applications are legitimate through these registries.


Brandon Butler

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