Red Hat OpenShift adds heterogenous clusters mixing x86, Arm

Tech preview is Azure-only for now, adding to previous AWS Arm adventures

Red Hat has delivered a tech preview of its OpenShift containerization platform that can drive clusters spanning both x86 and Arm silicon.

Version 4.10 of OpenShift, announced in March 2022, added the ability to run on Amazon Web Services Arm-powered Graviton CPUs. At the time, RedHat said the release was "only the start of our plans for OpenShift on Arm, in the coming releases you will see more and more of the add on features that run on x86 also being available for OpenShift on Arm."

The IBM subsidiary's next release, version 4.11, debuted earlier this week and added an agent-based installer, more supported deployment configurations including the ability to run in Nutanix environments, and a higher level of FedRAMP compliance.

And there's also that tech preview, which Red Hat states is needed because "Arm continues its impressive march to full adoption."

Red Hat's post acknowledges that not all the applications and services users rely on are available on Arm. While the company thinks that will sort itself out over time, "we also don't want to stall adoption in the short term."

Which is why Red Hat likes the idea of fully heterogeneous clusters that blend compute nodes of different architectures.

"With this feature you can run those Arm and x86 applications side by side in a single OpenShift cluster," the post declares.

But it doesn't say when this will be ready for production, or available beyond Microsoft's Azure cloud – which is currently the only place heterogenous clusters can run.

"You will be able to add Arm-based nodes to an existing OpenShift x86 cluster as a day 2 operation," the post states.

"Much more to come on this feature in future releases, but we thought you would appreciate a little early taster to really whet your appetite."

We do, Red Hat, we do! And not only because the prospect of heterogeneous clusters is fascinating – imagine Kubernetes directing containers to run on different architectures to take advantage of the features or price structure each offers.

Imagine, too, that IBM might eventually have an Arm offering on its own cloud, which makes sense seeing as OpenShift is Big Blue's platform of choice. ®

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