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Red Hat Shifts PaaS Online
With over one million apps already running on it, Red Hat is now finally ready to declare its OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) online offering to be officially released and generally available.
Red Hat first announced OpenShift back in May of 2011. With OpenShift Online, users can build server applications on the platform that can then be deployed on Red Hat's online service. Red Hat has also since expanded the effort with an on-premises OpenShift Enterprise edition.
Over the last two years of development for the OpenShift Online service, Red Hat has learned a number of key lessons as to how PaaS should be consumed and deployed.
Ashesh Badani, GM of the Cloud Business Unit at Red Hat, explained to ServerWatch that one of the biggest lessons Red Hat has learned involves service levels. He noted that as a company Red Hat has always been in the business of providing production-grade enterprise software that is then deployed and managed by its customers.
"What has been a big learning experience is that we have had to develop operational experience over the last two years," Badani said. "Our uptime levels have been pretty phenomenal and we hope to continue to improve."
The other big lesson learned has been in terms of leveraging Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as the foundation for deploying OpenShift online. Red Hat's PaaS deployment includes the use of SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux) as well as c-groups for sophisticated control of the multi-tenant online environment.
Over the last two years Red Hat's cartridge system for OpenShift has also evolved. The cartridge system is the key building block for deploying applications. With the GA release of OpenShift Online, Red Hat is rolling out version 2 of its OpenShift Cartridge API, which provides more flexibility than the initial version.
"Initially we set up OpenShift with our ideas on what people wanted to use and provided them with diversity on choice of languages," Badani said. "We rapidly discovered that people value the ability to extend the platform whether it's new data stores or other languages or extensions to applications."
That's the goal behind the new cartridge specification -- namely to make it easier for users of the OpenShift PaaS to add new capabilities to the platform.
One of the other major shifts over the last two years for Red Hat has been on the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) side. In 2011, Red Hat's core IaaS focus did not include the open source OpenStack platform. Red Hat has since shifted gears and is now the leading code contributor to OpenStack and is set to launch its OpenStack Enterprise platform later this year.
Badani said that Red Hat has a lot of customers interested in running OpenShift on OpenStack. Among those customers are service providers that are embracing OpenStack and that will need to be able to do billing and chargeback if they are to run OpenShift on top of it as a service.
Badani noted that Red Hat is gearing up from both an engineering and support perspective to help enable OpenShift at scale on OpenStack.
Moving forward, Badani stressed that Red Hat will continue to work on making it easier for users as well as developers to use and deploy OpenShift.
"As we go deeper into enterprise deployments and adoption, there are some requirements that have come up around monitoring, administration, user and access controls," Badani said. "We'll be addressing all those areas."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.
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