Today, Red Hat announced that OpenShift Dedicated will be launched on the Google Cloud Platform. This is in a bid to combine Red Hat’s enterprise expertise with Google’s container-optimised infrastructure, data analytics, and machine learning services.

OpenShift Dedicated

OpenShift is a Red Hat’s open source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). It allows developers to develop, host, and scale applications in a cloud environment. OpenShift Dedicated is a service where Red Hat manages your OpenShift cluster. It was launched in December 2015. Red Hat acts as the service provider, managing OpenShift Dedicated and offering support. It is built on the same code base as Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. They work with Amazon Web Services, and now with Google Cloud Platform. It is available for users with a Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform subscription.

The other part of the work is a collaboration with Google on the Kubernetes open source project. Red Hat is the second leading corporate contributor to Kubernetes, which underpins OpenShift. The collaboration with Google is to help advance the project, focusing on enhancing scalability, multi-tenancy, and high availability.

We spoke to Red Hat’s Director of Product Strategy, Brian Gracely, about the partnership.

What is the reason for using other cloud platforms with OpenShift Dedicated?

OpenShift by itself is just a piece of application software. You can get the software, and run it in your own data centre or a managed one. You run it yourself, and put apps on top of it.
OpenShift Dedicated – RedHat runs for you. It is a managed service that has been offered for a number of years, where customers who maybe like the software and like what it does, but see no business sense in running it: they’d have to learn how to use the platform.

OpenShift Dedicated was run on top of Amazon Web Services. We abstracted the underlying cloud platform. So you can get service anywhere there is a AWS data centre. However, all of the interaction is with RedHat (billing, support, et cetera). That continues, but now the cloud platform can be Google Cloud Platform too. Red Hat is not in the business of wanting to compete with the cloud providers. Instead we take advantage of existing options around the globe. Now we want to be closer to higher level services, for examples ones where you need a good amount of scale… that are data intense, analytics intense etc.

Larger footprints

We are still working with AWS, but expanding as the market has expanded. This is to give customers choice between platforms. Some of it is geographic – like one footprint might be better than another. We want to offer the option to swap – also the option to jump on new services. For example an automotive company might want a new way to build in-car entertainment, and have the option to lever different services from different clouds. 

Customers are just beginning to grasp the concept that services in public domain are easy to get to. OpenShift provides a consistent level of abstraction. Red Hat manages it for the most part, and companies and developers can just focus on applications, and the feedback we are getting as that this is what a lot of companies want.

What kind of companies do think will benefit the most from the partnership?

We’ve consistently seen that customers who have adopted OpenShift Dedicated have a mix of applications – and it aligns well with current portfolios. We see a lot of customers who do a small number of new microservices and the initial value for them is moving over existing applications that they have. We’re seeing middleware and web applications moved, to take advantage of the automation and scaling built into the platform. They are beginning to understand how to better use containers.

Overhead of learning new platforms

However for customers who want to move large existing applications – it takes time, they might not have in house resources, not be efficient in continuous integration, and so on. A lot of refactoring might need to happen. What we hear from them over and over again is, we could do with some help in how to operate the platform. This is the value of OpenShift Dedicated. I like to think of it as a SAS [software as a service] offering.

Keeping up with tech

Why integrate with Google Cloud Platform? Look at things like machine learning and AI, big data, analytics: this allows customers to take advantage of their offerings.

The biggest thing we see with customers right now, is they are going through certain transitions. They see startups doing things, and there is pressure to question what they are doing, for example whether mobile is going to affect interactions. Then for the tech team, there is so much technology to choose from for different problems that need solving. How do you make sure technology doesn’t overwhelm the business? They have that challenge going on. So they are trying to figure out the mix of – things that need to go faster, the pace of technological change and what technology to choose, and if it does change, they don’t want to be locked in to that technology.

Open source helps with that, but there tend to be lots of projects going on. Red Hat deals with the chaos, makes sense of it, and enables people to swap things in and out. We are trying to manage a certain amount of risk for them.

What do you hope to see with OpenShift Dedicated and cloud platforms?

Where we’re going in general around OpenShift is – right now the way “Dedicated” works in any cloud is a very consistent service. You get a standard set of capabilities. Where we want to go – you’re going to see more and more integration, to be tighter with public cloud providers like Amazon and Google. Ultimately, the whole premise of Dedicated is that you shouldn’t have to think about the underlying things that are happening. It should be as easy as “I want to access this service, please make it as simple as possible”. So we are trying to have as broad a footprint as possible.

The other half is our work with Kubernetes. You don’t need to see the plumbing or “how the sausage is made” – you will continue to see this abstraction as we have tighter integrations and a simple, easy to consume set of services.

What will be included?

OpenShift Dedicated on Google Cloud Platform includes:

  • Single-tenant isolation and a resource pool of 100GB SSD-based persistent storage, 48TB network iops, and nine nodes to deploy container-based applications.
  • Administrative and security controls, enabling customers to customize and more securely access their cloud environments using VPN and Google Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) functions.
  • Access to Red Hat JBoss Middleware container-optimized services, integration and business process capabilities from applications developed and deployed on OpenShift.
  • Availability across all six worldwide Google regions.
  • Integration with Google Cloud services, including Google Cloud PubSub, Google Big Query, and Google Cloud Big Table.

Additional Resources

More about OpenShift Dedicated on Google CloudPlatform.

Google’s blog about its cloud and container collaboration with Red Hat on OpenShift Dedicated.

More about the OpenShift container offerings.