Those who understand the value of securing a competitive advantage by leveraging modern tools to make the software development process more efficient are always looking for innovative solutions and don’t hesitate to integrate them into their workflow if the benefits they offer are attractive enough.
Promising to empower developers to innovate and ship faster, RedHat OpenShift is one of the leading tools for developing and deploying modern applications across diverse environments, and this article introduces the concepts behind it.
The goal of OpenShift is to simplify many of the tiresome and error-prone tasks associated with application development, such as deploying applications and managing day-to-day operations. To achieve this goal, OpenShift provides an integrated application platform that allows developers to focus on writing their best code, and it empowers IT operations by providing superior control, visibility, and management.
OpenShift was first released by Red Hat in 2011 after the company acquired Makara, which was a startup focused on providing a cloud platform for Java and PHP applications on both public and private clouds. However, it wasn’t until the release of OpenShift 3.0 when the Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering from Red Hat took its current shape, adopting Docker as its container technology and Kubernetes as its container orchestration technology.
Now, we can say that OpenShift is a PaaS that works around Docker-formatted containers managed with the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration platform. Before we take a closer look at some of its features and capabilities, let’s provide a brief overview of Docker and Kubernetes so that it becomes clear how the individual pieces fit together into an interlocking, coherent, and consistent whole.
As you may already know, Docker is one of the most popular container technologies for Linux. It enables developers to distribute applications with all dependencies in a portable format for images that run across all systems.
Docker was first released in 2013, and it has since then been widely adopted by developers large and small. With Docker, developers can make more efficient use of system resources, ship software faster, and deal with fewer security issues.
These and other reasons are why Red Hat decided to build OpenShift built around Docker containers. However, there’s only so much one can do with a single Docker container, which is where Kubernetes comes in.
Kubernetes is an open-source solution for container orchestration. It provides the ability to easily go beyond a single container, taking care of load balancing, mounting, and so on. Kubernetes bundles containers into logical units so that applications can be easily managed and scaled on demand.
Although the Kubernetes was released in 2014, its popularity is not limited to the early users. The latest Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) survey revealed that the vast majority (78%) of companies that are using containers in production manage them with the help of Kubernetes.
Features of OpenShift
OpenShift has come a long way since the release of its first version, and it can now offer a large array of benefits and exciting features. Here are five features you should know about:
- Web console: To make application development and deployment as simple as possible, OpenShift includes a web-based developer interface with a responsive user interface design. This interface can be accessed from any modern web browser and used to effortlessly manage applications and related resources.
- Command-line tools: In addition to the web-based developer interface, OpenShift also provides a set of command-line tools. These tools are available and you can download them directly from the web interface. These tools can be used to create and manage OpenShift applications and projects from a terminal. Windows, macOS, and Linux are supported, and a step-by-step tutorial for each platform is available online.
- IDE support: In the spirit of open-source software, OpenShift strives to give developers as much freedom to choose their workflow as possible, integrating with Visual Studio, Eclipse, and JBoss Developer Studio.
- Application templates: Included in OpenShift are pre-created quick start application templates, whose purpose is to allow developers to get started with a simple click, regardless of whether they wish to develop an application using Java, Python, PHP, or any other language.
- Continuous integration: Also known simply as CI, continuous integration is all about frequent merging of code changes into a central repository, and OpenShift makes it easy because it includes Jenkins, the leading open source automation server. Jenkins is easy to set up, and it supports hundreds of plugins and third-party integrations.
OpenShift is available in three flavors, all of which are powered by the same open-source core component, called OKD:
- OpenShift Container Platform: Until June 2016, OpenShift Container Platform was known as OpenShift Enterprise, which is how some OpenShift users still refer to it. This PaaS is intended for organizations that want full control over their on-premises or public cloud environment.
- OpenShift Dedicated: Some organizations may prefer the convenience of a fully managed solution, and that’s where OpenShift Dedicated fits in, offering the ability to run a single-tenant OpenShift environment on a public cloud.
- OpenShift Online: Developers and teams who build applications in the public cloud can use OpenShift Online to effortlessly build, deploy, and scale containerized apps from any web browser, using their tools of choice.
There’s also OpenShift.io, also known as Red Hat CodeReady Toolchain, a free, end-to-end, cloud-native development environment delivered as a Developer Preview SaaS solution with OpenShift Online. With OpenShift.io, it’s possible to plan, build, and deploy cloud-native applications with ease.
These days, organizations are expected to deliver applications and features an astounding rate across increasingly diverse IT environments. OpenShift provides significant value to organizations of all sizes by enabling developers and IT operations to work more efficiently and deliver more timely and bullet-proof applications and feature