Cloud Containerisation is the next big thing in the IT industry.
Now that IBM and Red Hat have merged under one organization, Red Hat Openshift with IBM Cloud Pack is now being offered as an integrated containerisation solution.
However since the merge is in its early stages, Red Hat Openshift and IBM Cloud Pack are being promoted separately by Red Hat and IBM teams respectively.
This creates some degree of confusion in the customer’s mind. Mainly because IBM is promoting IBM Cloud Pack as independent of the underlying infrastructure, thereby undercutting the importance of Red Hat Openshift. If this continues where Red Hat and IBM do their own promotion separately, then it is natural to ask why a customer would opt for Red Hat Openshift when IBM is offering Cloud Pack as infrastructure agnostic?
The confusion is further exacerbated because of Openshift’s product life cycle.
According to Red Hat Openshift Container Platform Life cycle (https://access.redhat.com/support/policy/updates/openshift ), version 3.11 has official support & maintenance until 2022. However it has extended support until 2024.
|Nov 2018||Jan 2019||Apr 2019||Jul 2019||Oct 2019||Jun 2022|
|3.0 & 3.1||3.2 & 3.3||3.4 & 3.5||3.6 & 3.7||3.9 & 3.10||3.11|
|Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform|
|Version||GA||End of Full Support||End of Maintenance Support||End of Extended Life Phase (ELP)|
|1.X||Nov, 2012||Nov, 2014||N/A||N/A|
|2.X||Dec, 2013||Dec, 2016||N/A||N/A|
|3.X||June, 2015||June, 2020||June, 2022||June, 2024|
Unfortunately customers want to embark on containerisation journey now, instead of waiting for a few more years when a new and stable version comes out.
If customer wants to uses Openshift 3.11, they will have support only until 2024. For medium to large organisation, transforming applications from on-premises infrastructure to cloud infrastructure is a costly exercise. So selecting the correct containerisation version is crucial to the organisation.
Openshift version 4.1 has been released in June 2019. But since version 4.2 is being released in October/November 2019, should a customer start application transformation on Openshift platform 4.1 and then when 4.2 is released, upgrade to that?
|Red Hat OpenShift v4|
|Version||Beginning of Full Support||Beginning of Maintenance Support||End of Maintenance Support|
|Version 4 (GA Phase 1 ends no sooner than June 4th, 2021)|
|4.1||June 4, 2019||Release of 4.2 + 1 month||Release of 4.4|
Or should the EAs consider going the AWS Kubernetes EKS path, which is open source?
Here is a direct comparison between Red Hat Openshift vs Kubernetes EKS on AWS on some key points (reference: https://cloudowski.com/articles/10-differences-between-openshift-and-kubernetes/ , https://stacklogic.io/blog/2018/2/21/openshift-vs-managed-kubernetes-services ):
- OpenShift Container Platform is a product that comes with support & maintenance subscription while Kubernetes is open source project/framework and if anything happens, you rely on on community or external experts
- Openshift mainly runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Red Hat CoreOS, RHEL or CentOS for OKD whereas Kubernetes can run on GKE on Google GCP, EKS on Amazon AWS and AKS on Microsoft Azure.
OpenShift templates are less flexible than Kubernetes Helm charts
OpenShift has more strict security policies than default Kubernetes
Better management of container images in Openshift compared to Kubernetes
- OpenShift makes the whole CI/CD a lot less painful, compared to Kubernetes
In the end, the decision to pick a containerisation platform comes to where an organisation wants to go, how does it want to undertake that journey and how important is support & maintenance and security of the platform to business strategy.