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Red Hat OpenShift 4 opens its doors to more Kubernetes goodness

Buddies up with Microsoft to stir a bit of Azure into the mix

The Red Hatters continued flinging out new products today with the announcement of OpenShift 4, ushering in automation, autoscaling and, er, Azure Functions.

OpenShift 4 is the company's latest update to its enterprise Kubernetes platform and, while usually found on-premises giving customers that whole cloud experience without actually having to do the public cloud thing, is also all about hybrid and that buzzword du jour, multicloud.

The product purports to unify the cloud experience by flinging updates across Kubernetes deployments everywhere, ushering in what the company modestly refers to as the "next era of the Kubernetes standard" with a view to consolidate best practices in the container orchestration tech.

Naturally, it's all powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and RHEL CoreOS.

Azure Hat?

What may raise an eyebrow is Kubernetes-based Event-driven Autoscaling (KEDA), with Microsoft stealing a little of Red Hat's thunder at its Build conference this week, although the Windows giant was careful not use the number "4" in relation to OpenShift.

The two companies worked together on the project, aimed at getting serverless, event-driven containers on Kubernetes in public, private or on-premises environments. This includes Microsoft's Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) and, yes, OpenShift. This, in turn, means that Azure Functions are now enabled in OpenShift (as a Developer Preview).

Microsoft fans might point to existing technology such as Azure Stack and its ilk. However, Redmond is keen to promote its collaborative chops. Azure PM Gabe Monroy told us in an interview that going to 500 or so on-premises Kubernetes was something for which Microsoft's buddies at Red Hat were better suited.

Monroy described OpenShift as "far and away the leader" when it came to on-premises Kubernetes before praising the soon-to-be-IBM-owned outfit: "Red Hat has been at the centre of the Kubernetes revolution."

And Monroy, after all, gets to work with one of the creators of Kubernetes, Brendan Burns.

That's not to say it's all about the on-premises world. Microsoft and Red Hat have also emitted to general availability the imaginatively named "Azure Red Hat OpenShift", aimed at providing a Kubernetes bridge between the traditional data centre and hybrid cloud.

Jointly supported by both companies, but turning up on a customer's Azure bill, the tech will make it easier to move applications from on-premises to the public cloud via a consistent OpenShift interface and also make it faster to hook Azure services up to on-premises OpenShift deployments.

OpenShift 4

KEDA and Azure ambitions aside, OpenShift 4 also comprises Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces, which include the tools and dependencies needed to code, build, test, run and debug containerized applications in a web-based IDE. Red Hat reckons Workspaces are a better bet than VMs on a developer workstation.

OpenShift Service Mesh also puts in an appearance – comprising Istio, Jaeger and Kiali – and another developer preview is included, in the form of Knative, a platform for dealing with serverless or Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) workloads.

Rounding out the product is Operator-enabled Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage (OCS), a cloud-agnostic backend providing persistent storage for cloud-native applications needing features such as encryption.

Those seeking Red Hat's latest take on the on-premises, multi or hybrid cloud Kubernetes experience can head into OpenShift 4 from the end of May. ®

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