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Red Hat Brings Its Managed OpenShift Kubernetes Service to AWS

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AWS’s Elastic Kubernetes Service now has a competitor on the AWS platform. During last week’s Red Hat Summit, IBM-owned Red Hat announced the launch of its managed OpenShift service on AWS. According to Red Hat, it’s the first natively integrated third-party managed Kubernetes service on Amazon’s cloud platform.


The service, called ROSA (Red Hat OpenShift on AWS), had a soft launch about a month ago, but was officially unveiled during the summit. Similar managed OpenShift services have been available on Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.


“The fastest growing usage models for OpenShift are our managed cloud service offerings,” Matt Hicks, Red Hat’s executive VP of products and technologies, said during the Summit’s opening keynote. “This is the first natively integrated third-party service in AWS and an outstanding new way for our customers using AWS to get the power of OpenShift for their application portfolio.”


Red Hat’s been busy growing it’s managed cloud services. In addition to managed OpenShift on AWS, it announced three new specialized versions of managed OpenShift. In the two years or so that its been offering the managed service, it’s become popular with customers who’d rather let Red Hat do the driving so they can concentrate on developing and deploying software.


In an interview at the summit, Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier said that although he sees the role of managed services growing at Red Hat, he doubts they will ultimately replace self-managed applications.


“For some customers, maybe the smaller ones, it may be that they run everything as a managed service. But that’s not the norm that we see right now,” he said. “It really is a mix, and it’s really application-dependent. I think customers will have to obtain their own skills as well, because you have to understand how to work with the partners you’re working with in this set of technologies — and cloud technologies are a new set of technologies.”


Customers can buy managed OpenShift on public cloud platforms directly from the platform providers or from Red Hat, via the Red Hat Marketplace.


“Azure Red Hat OpenShift is actually a Microsoft product. You buy it through Microsoft and you get billed through Microsoft,” Stephanos Bacon, Red Hat’s senior director of portfolio strategy, told DCK. “ROSA is an AWS service or product. You buy it through them. Of course, we have a very close partnership and under the covers we work together.”


Whether you get the service from AWS, Azure, IBM, or directly from Red Hat, the platform will be managed by Red Hat’s SRE staff.


Having managed OpenShift available natively on both Azure and AWS will be a big boost for managed OpenShift usage, he said, as some companies’ cloud budgets are tied directly to the clouds they use.


“What we’re seeing in the market with the main cloud providers is there are a lot of customers who are signing up for a precommitted spend with the various cloud providers, so they can get discounts and so on,” he said. “They commit to large sums, $5-$10 million a year, to spend with Azure or AWS, and these native services allow these customers to get the benefit of working on OpenShift while being able to burn down their cloud spend.”


Managed OpenShift Specializes


The three new versions of managed OpenShift Red Hat unveiled during the summit are for running three categories of specialized workloads in containerized environments: OpenShift Streams, OpenShift Data Science, and OpenShift API Management.


OpenShift API Management has been available since December, while the other two are yet to be released.


OpenShift API Management


Red Hat OpenShift API Management reduces the operational cost of delivering API-first, microservices-based applications, according to the software maker.


Red Hat had a user of the service, Stephen Boyd, an IT architect at Electrical Training Alliance, on hand for the summit. He said that when his company began changing its infrastructure to move away from textbooks and toward digital learning, he quickly discovered he needed a way to handle all the additional API calls that were being built into the system.


“Using Red Hat OpenShift API Management lets me put those API specifications out there, and all of the development partners can consume them and use them and work against them, and they can hit them in a secure manner,” he said. “Down the road, who knows? There are lots of things that we can do with that tool to monetize, or do whatever we need to do.”


OpenShift Data Science


OpenShift Data Science is in beta and will be released later this year. According to Red Hat, it will offer organizations a way to rapidly develop, train, test, and deploy cloud-based containerized machine learning models. It will include some necessary components for working with AI/ML, such as Nvidia GPU support.


“From a data science perspective, you’re able to stand up the foundational environment for, like, Jupyter notebooks and get access to GPUs, as well as common frameworks like TensorFlow and PyTorch, in a very quick manner,” Steven Huels, a Red Hat senior director of engineering, explained at the summit. “If you’re an organization looking to adopt data science, but you’re not really sure how to get started, you’re able to really quickly get up and running on a managed platform with a managed service and give your data scientists an environment in which to get started.”


OpenShift Streams


Red Hat OpenShift Streams is something of a big data platform that harnesses Apache Kafka to make it easier to create, discover, and connect to real-time data streams regardless of where they exist.


Bacon told an audience at the summit that Streams ultimately represents years of Red Hat development and research, starting with work it did with AMQ streams, its Kafka-based data streaming platform.


“We’ve had AMQ streams available as a self-managed product for several years; we’ve been working upstream in Kafka; we’ve been working on and initiated a project called Strimzi, which is a CNCF project that is what brings Kafka natively onto Kubernetes,” he said.


“What we’ve done with the OpenShift Streams service is essentially build a service that pulls together the benefits of running on OpenShift, on taking advantage of our background with Strimzi, and tying into the rest of the pieces of the Red Hat open hybrid cloud.”


Although OpenShift Streams won’t be released until later this year, existing Red Hat customers can take the service for a test drive now.

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