Red Hat Unveils Enterprise Version of OpenShift PaaS

Red Hat today launched a new version of its OpenShift cloud computing Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) packaged for enterprise consumption. Dubbed OpenShift Enterprise, this is a fully supported version of the product designed to be installed on-premise within customer datacenters as private clouds, or as public or hybrid clouds.

This new release targets organizations with what the company is calling "the industry's first comprehensive, open, on-premise PaaS for enterprises," which fulfills a promise the company made back in May to provide such a product. OpenShift Enterprise is built on top of Red Hat's core open source technologies, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.

"Every Linux admin can transform themselves into a cloud admin by leveraging the OpenShift set of technologies," said Ashesh Badani, general manager of Red Hat's cloud business unit and OpenShift lead, during a press conference. "Every JBoss and Java developer can start building and deploying their applications in the cloud...Proprietary companies did not create these technologies; open source is the foundation of the Red Hat hybrid cloud."

OpenShift Enterprise provides an "on-demand, elastic, scalable and fully configured" environment for application development, testing and hosting, Badani said. It's designed to automate much of the provisioning and systems management of the application platform stack in a way that enables the IT operations team to more easily meet growing business demands for new app services.

"The new application development...[needs] cloud-class agility," he said. "They need to be designed for no lock-in. That's why open source is so compelling. It's transforming the industry, and it's at the core of everything Red Hat has done."

OpenShift Enterprise also comes with the Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) feature, which supports access control security policies.

With this announcement, Red Hat has designated the "three pillars" of its OpenShift strategy: OpenShift Origin, the original, free, Apache 2.0-licensed, open-source project; OpenShift Online, the free, Red Hat-operated public cloud service (which the company plans to commercialize in 2013); and the new OpenShift Enterprise PaaS. All three editions share a code base, which allows users to get the benefits of "a vibrant, innovative, open source community; a freely available online offering for developers to work with; as well as technology that they can take onsite and deploy based on the requirements they have," Badani said.

The first version of OpenShift was launched as a free beta in 2011 and was aimed at open source developers. It came with built-in management and auto-scaling capabilities that freed developers from stack setup, maintenance, and operational chores, so they could focus on coding. And it supported a range of programming languages, including Java, Ruby, PHP, Python, Node.js and Perl, as well numerous frameworks, databases and clouds.

"We are firm believers in a polyglot platform," Badani said. "It has increasing value today, because developers come with different skills and they have different flavors that they prefer. Whether it's Java, PHP, Python, Pearl -- you want to make sure that it's supported for your application development teams."

When the company announced last year that OpenShift would support Java Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6) and be integrated with JBoss Application Server 7 (AS7), Red Hat began billing the PaaS as the first in the industry to deliver Java EE 6 to simplify "how application developers build and deploy Java in the cloud."

"Java EE 6 is still the most dominant technology in enterprises today," Badani said, "and users will get the benefits of that via our support of JBoss middleware technologies."

IDC analyst Steve Hendrick participated in the press conference. He pointed to a 2012 IDC CloudTrack Survey ("Long Term Cloud Expectations"), which indicated growing interest among enterprises in private clouds: the market grew 40 percent worldwide in 2011.

"Organizations are looking for ways to better leverage their infrastructure that's in-house," Hendrick said. "And because most organizations have already virtualized, the most obvious thing to do is to put a PaaS layer on top of that, so they can do custom application development in a much more cost effective...way."

Red Hat also announced an expansion of its partner ecosystem with new categories: Community Partners, who participate by creating cartridges for OpenShift; Certified Partners, who bring products to market in collaboration with OpenShift; and Powered by OpenShift partners, who are actively using OpenShift "to power their own Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and solutions."

OpenShift Enterprise is available now.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].