Head in the Clouds: SaaS, PaaS, and Cloud Strategy

May 5 2017   8:30AM GMT

Red Hat OpenShift.io puts the entirety of app development into your browser

Joel Shore Joel Shore Profile: Joel Shore

Tags:
Application development
containers
Linux
Red Hat Enterprise Linux

The Red Hat Summit in Boston this week drew more than 5,000 developers, according to Paul Cormier, president of Red Hat’s products and technologies business. That’s impressive for a major software company that literally started out as a flea-market operation.

“It’s so much fun to watch this all roll out,” Cormier says. “I’ve been at Red Hat for 16 years and was employee #120.” And how did Red Get its start? Cormier says company founder Robert Young began by “downloading Linux off the ‘net, burning it to CDs, and selling it out of the trunk of his car at flea markets.” This is an outfit that’s come a long way, with a pervasiveness that extends into almost every home. At one time, there were seemingly dozens of free, open-source Linux distros in the early days, but it’s the one company that created tools, platforms, and enterprise-class support that is the premier survivor.

Two key announcements made at the Red Hat Summit were OpenShift.io, a complete development environment accessed through the browser, and the Red Hat Container Health Index, a method for scoring containers for several factors, including version currency and security. Other announcements were a tightening of Red Hat’s relationship with Amazon Web Services and an on-premises containerized API management platform, which I reported on last week.

OpenShift.io is a new, comprehensive, end-to-end development, test, and deploy environment in a browser. There’s nothing to install on developers’ local desktops, on-premises, or in a business’s private cloud. Everything needed to design, build, and deploy is available through the browser.

“I’ve said this until I was blue in the face — a container is Linux, it’s just Linux carved up in a different way.”
— Paul Cormier, president, Red Hat products and technologies

“Now that we’ve finally put Dev and Ops together, we’re making the tooling more intelligent and more intuitive for developers to be even more productive,” Cormier says. “The OpenShift.io stuff uses artificial intelligence from all the things we’ve learned over the last 15 years to guide developers through building their application and recommend what might be a better path to go than the path they’re on.” With nothing to install, Cormier says developers can begin building from day one, avoiding the weeks and months it can sometimes take to procure and spin up development resources and infrastructures.

Another major announcement was the Red Hat Container Health Index, a service that grades the containerization performance and security of Red Hat’s own products and the products of certified ISVs. It’s not a one-time examination of containers, but rather a way to track ongoing container health volatility, letting you know that container considered fully secure a month ago, earning an “A” rating is now vulnerable, dropping to a grade of D or F.

“I’ve said this until I was blue in the face — a container is Linux, it’s just Linux carved up in a different way,” Cormier says. “Container tools help you package just the pieces of the user space OS that you need with the application.” When people were playing with containers and yet betting their business on them, they pulled containers from everywhere. Now, customers want a commercial-grade system.

“What we’ve done is containerize all of our products into a RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) container. We can scan the pieces of the OS that are included and tell if there are known security vulnerabilities, bugs, or if there’s a new version available. We’ve built that into our back-end systems that we use to build all our products,” Cormier says.

Red Hat will now make those tools available to ISV partners to test their own containers. All results will be available through a portal. “If you’re going to be a container provider in the commercial world, this is what you have to do.”

Do you use Red Hat development tools and platforms? What do you think of the company’s announcements this week and how do you plan to leverage these technologies in your upcoming projects? Share your thoughts with us; we’d like to hear from you.

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