Red Hat Wraps OpenStack In Containers

Red Hat is no stranger to Linux containers, considering the work its engineers have done in creating the OpenShift application development and management platform.

As The Next Platform has noted over the past couple of years, Red Hat has rapidly expanded the capabilities within OpenShift for developing and deploying Docker containers and managing them with the open source Kubernetes orchestrator, culminating with OpenShift 3.0, which was based on Kubernetes and Docker containers. It has continued to enhance the platform since. Most recently, Red Hat in September launched OpenShift Container Platform 3.6, which added upgraded security features and more consistency across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. A month later, the company introduced Red Hat Container Native Storage 3.6 to support containerized applications and infrastructure in OpenShift clusters.

At the OpenStack Summit this week in Sydney, Australia, Red Hat rolled up and rolled out the latest version of its OpenStack Platform distribution for cloudy infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environments, which among a variety of improvements includes the containerization of OpenStack services based on Kubernetes.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 – which is aimed at private and public cloud infrastructures – will containerize most of the OpenStack services while at the same time offering a containerized Technology Preview of some networking and storage services. The new distribution and the container capabilities are part of a larger effort to help enterprises modernize their infrastructures as the industry embraces such emerging technologies as the cloud and analytics and to “better support the next generation of applications that take advantage of multiple hardware architectures, Linux container technologies and cloud computing,” Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of OpenStack at Red Hat, said in a statement.

Using containers in OpenStack isn’t new. As we noted in The Next Platform, online auction giant eBay as far back as 2015 embraced Kubernetes and containers within its OpenStack platform for managing its cloud infrastructure. The OpenStack project also has its own efforts around containers underway through such projects as Kolla and Magnum. Now Red Hat wants to put container and Kubernetes into capabilities into its own OpenStack distribution. Using containers can help enterprise more easily scale their infrastructures – and OpenStack services – while easing management complexity, according to company officials.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12, which is based on the “Pike” release, also comes with improved security features and composable infrastructure support, better integration with the OpenDaylight network virtualization platform, and more capabilities in Red Hat’s Distributed Continuous Integration (DCI) technology that the company first introduced into its OpenStack distribution five years ago to automate deployment, testing and customer feedback loop.

Composable infrastructures, which we have discussed at length in the past, are designed to give enterprises and other organizations a way to make components within systems and clusters more programmable, similar to software. Hyperscalers have been pushing the idea for years, and top-tier vendors like Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) are looking to gain leadership in the space through its Synergy initiative.

Red Hat first introduced composable capabilities in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 by enabling users to create customized profiles for individual services and processes to address their particular needs. In OpenStack Platform 11, the company included features that made the tasks for deploying and upgrading Red Hat OpenStack Platform more adaptable. In OpenStack Platform 12, extends the composability capabilities with composable networks. Unlike with previous versions, where users had to choose a predefined network topology, the new offering enables customers to define the network topology they need and create any number of networks they want, including the L3 spine-and-leaf topology. The goal is to be able to make it easier to customize their OpenStack deployments. In another nod toward composability, the new version supports the Distributed Management Task Force’s new “Redfish” API spec for composable infrastructures, which means customer infrastructures can interoperate with other solutions – such as Intel’s Rack Scale Design – that use the Redfish API.

Improved security features include an automated infrastructure enrollment service, which automates the lifecycle management for security certificates. In addition, components of the platform, such as OpenStack Block Storage and bare-metal provisioning include updated capabilities around volume encryption support and disk partitioning, and customers will have access to Red Hat’s new security guide in the customer portal to help with understanding and implementing security features.

Red Hat also is working to integrate the OpenDaylight software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) into its OpenStack platform. Version 12 is extending a technology preview of OpenDaylight. In addition, Red Hat’s DCI technology, which is used to help Red Hat engineers as they improve the platform, now includes actionable logs that are automatically delivered to the company’s quality engineering teams, which reduces the amount of time needed to identify, patch and introduce fixes.

Version 12 will be available in the near future through Red Hat’s customer portal and as a component of Red Hat’s Cloud Infrastructure and Cloud Suite offerings.

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