OpenShift in a world of KaaS
Lex van Sonderen, CEO of Proteon, explains how OpenShift as a Service can take you closer to the finish line and put container victory within reach.
History of containers
Way back in 2005, web applications were hosted on virtual machines for the first time. Amazon Web Services was born in 2006 and the cloud revolution began. At first, the setup, management and maintenance of servers was complex – until one company decided to do things differently. This company had thousands of servers and could not spend two hours maintaining each server every month. What company are we talking about? – Google.
In order to make maintenance a reality, Google needed to change the way they controlled their applications. Their applications needed to be easy to manage, and have auto recovery and auto-scaling characteristics. In short, they needed to become shepherds rather than pet owners; herding their cattle instead of grooming their pets. And so they developed Kubernetes.
Kubernetes enables developers to set up and manage applications easier and faster, ease the burden on the IT department, and handle resource consumption more efficiently.
With KaaS solutions, a common perception is that you can start right away and not worry about operational challenges
Kubernetes is the future of hosting. Until now, hosting was system-centric, but Kubernetes makes hosting application-centric. Therefore, application owners no longer have to worry about technology, uptime and deployments. Instead, application owners can focus on resource consumption and cost and more importantly, innovation.
Kubernetes as a Service
We love Kubernetes, but when we started working with it four years ago (when it was first open-sourced by Google), we soon discovered that it was very hard to set up. First off, you need to build everything yourself which is time-consuming and expensive. As Kubernetes does not support reproducible builds, it takes months (or even years) to build your own infrastructure.
Developers also need a lot of knowledge to orchestrate a cluster and run day-to-day operations. Repairing issues within Kubernetes requires years of experience and knowledge, whether of DevOps, Docker, or Kubernetes itself. And even if you manage to survive the setup and run stage, a consistent operations and developer experience is far off.
The main cloud providers noticed these difficulties and started offering Kubernetes as a Service (KaaS). With KaaS solutions, a common perception is that you can start right away and not worry about operational challenges. Although the first part is true – KaaS helps accelerate the adoption process of Kubernetes – you still have many operational challenges to worry about. KaaS on its own lacks security, deployment pipelines, user management and monitoring. Plus, another big disadvantage is vendor lock-in. Many providers only let you enjoy Kubernetes on their cloud and application services.
In short, they needed to become shepherds rather than pet owners; herding their cattle instead of grooming their pets
So, what is the solution?
Red Hat’s OpenShift aims to solve these developer challenges. OpenShift is a container platform with built-in Docker registry, Source to Image, build and deployment configuration, image stream, routes, Software Defined Network, autoscaling, auto recovery, and more. It takes away the complexity of container operations and gives time back to developers to build applications that actually help the business.
As the leading enterprise distributor of Kubernetes, OpenShift is optimised for continuous application development and multi-tenant deployment. Add a bunch of developer and operational tools and you can suddenly lean back while OpenShift takes care of your infrastructure and application management and maintenance.
This table summarises the main differences between OpenShift and KaaS:
|OpenShift||Kubernetes as a Service|
|Deploy on any VM, cloud or even on-premises||Tied to the cloud environment of the vendor|
|Work with the tools you want to use and create a consistent developer and operations experience.||Consume and manage Kubernetes as demanded by the underlying platform of the vendor|
|Red Hat Linux Enterprise is included and supported as the Operating System||You need to buy and manage your Operating System separately|
|Routing capabilities are provided by OpenShift and can be managed by the users depending on their roles||As a KaaS customer you need to handle your own routing|
|Logging is installed and configured automatically when installing OpenShift||Just plain Kubernetes lets users decide how they want to handle logging|
|Integrated toolstack for developer self-service, like a Jenkins Pipeline||If developers want to use Jenkins and Kubernetes they need to set-up, install and configure this themselves|
|All features of OpenShift come with Role Based Access. The customer can control access inside the OpenShift platform||Kubernetes lacks a feature that allows you to define roles. If you want it, you have to take care of it yourself.|
|Red Hat’s security tools are integrated in Openshift. SELinux and OpenSCAP are used to manage and secure your applications||As a KaaS provider, you have to choose, set up and manage your own security|
|OpenShift offers support for all the elements of the platform. From the Operating System to the services layers||Public cloud providers only offer support for the underlying Kubernetes infrastructure they provision|
The final solution: OpenShift as a Service
OpenShift is the most advanced container solution available at the moment. It takes you closer to the finish line and puts container victory within reach. There are just two problems that you have to solve: what is the fastest time to market? And how will you be able to adopt OpenShift as soon as possible within your organisation? The answer to these question brings us to the final solution: OpenShift as a Service.
With OpenShift as a Service, the entire container platform is delivered in an instant – from the operating system to the hosting. You can start immediately without adopting all the knowledge that is needed to set up, run and maintain the OpenShift platform yourself. This way you get all the benefits while having the fastest time to market. Most OpenShift as a Service providers can even run their services on-premises, in the public cloud, or on their own servers since there is no vendor lock-in.