Red Hat Brings Cloud-Native Java to OpenShift

The latest release of OpenShift, Red Hat's packaged distribution of the open source Kubernetes container management and orchestration system, comes with new support for cloud-native Java.

OpenShift already supported traditional Java EE applications, including fully integrated enterprise middleware services from the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Middleware portfolio. Version 3.5 of the platform, announced last week, expands that support with a new Java container image for cloud-native workloads.

The new container image will make it possible for developers to focus on coding cloud-native Java applications on OpenShift, the company said, while the platform handles the compiling, building, and assembling of the final, runnable artifact.

Those last actions are handled by the Source-To-Image (s2i) feature, which uses builder images to build applications in containers. "A builder image is a standard Docker/OCI image that contains additional builder scripts which can build your applications from source or binaries," explained Jorge Morales, OpenShift Field Product Manager and Developer Advocate at Red Hat, in a blog post. "In the case of Java, the builder images use Java build tools like Maven or Gradle to build an artifact type (jar, war or ear) and will layer that on a Java runtime (JDK, Tomcat, JBoss EAP, Wildfly-Swarm ...) and the end result will be packaged as a new container image for your application and deployed as a container."

The company first announced the availability of a Java container image for cloud native workloads in February, and made that image available in the company's container catalog. The cloud-native Java support added to the OpenShift 3.5 release marks another advance along a route Red Hat has been charting since OpenShift 3.0, which was the first version of the platform to support (via JBoss) Java EE and Apache Tomcat.

OpenShift 3.5 leverages the Kubernetes 1.5 update, which was released last December. (Kurbernetes 1.6 was released in March.) The list of new capabilities in this release includes support for Kubernetes StatefulSet (formerly known as PetSet, and now in Tech Preview in Kubernetes 1.5), as well as Red Hat Software Collections, a catalog of development tools for the latest stable versions of dynamic languages, open source databases, Web infrastructure and other development tools.

OpenShift is a distribution of the open source Kubernetes container orchestration system using Docker containers and DevOps tools for app development. It was created by Red Hat, launched as a free beta in 2011, and aimed at open source developers. The original version came with built-in management and auto-scaling capabilities that freed developers from stack setup, maintenance and operational chores, allowing them to focus on coding. It also supported a range of programming languages, including Java, Ruby, PHP, Python, Node.js, and Perl, as well numerous frameworks, databases, and clouds. In 2012, Red Hat launched an enterprise version of OpenShift and began an expansion of its partner ecosystem. In 2014, the company unveiled OpenShift Online, a public cloud app development and hosting platform to provide customers and developers with access to "complementary third-party solutions" developed by members of that partner ecosystem.

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].