Announcing OpenShift: the Platform as a Service for developers who love open source and CDI

Last year Red Hat announced their intention to enter the Platform-as-a-Service space with their Cloud Foundations roadmap. They subsequently bought Makara, the company that I and many of my colleagues were part of. We combined forces with a significant PaaS effort that was already underway at Red Hat and today we're proud to announce, just five months after being acquired, a completely new Platform-as-a-Service: OpenShift, by Red Hat.

This is not just Makara re-branded. What was the Makara team is now nearly twice the size, and is joined by over 50 Red Hat folks working on Platform-as-a-Service. We're able to leverage a great many useful features from Red Hat Enterprise Linux, such as special update servers that exist in certified cloud providers like Amazon, a packaging and testing infrastructure, and fully supported middleware stacks.

Red Hat had a goal for Platform-as-a-Service that we had at Makara too: Deliver a PaaS that would delight developers who build on open source. When designing OpenShift we thought deeply about what would delight these developers, and we interviewed a great many of them too. What they told us was: Give me Innovation and give me Choice. Those are the tenants of Open Source.

Today we are proud to announce our Platform-as-a-Service with just those things:

 

Innovation. Support for a broad set of languages: Ruby, Python, PHP & Java. Support for the latest frameworks, including Rack, Rails, Sinatra, Zend Framework, Django, Twisted, TurboGears, and a full compliment on the Java side: Spring, Struts (yes people still use Struts), JSF, Java EE, a few more as well, and the very latest Java framework standard: CDI. In fact, today we are the first and only Platform-as-a-Service to support CDI and to be ready for the Java EE 6 Web Profile which continues Makara's innovation of being the first PaaS to support Java EE. OpenShift also includes SQL and NoSQL databases, as well as Memcache.

 

Choice.OpenShift lets developers choose their language, their framework, and their cloud. The architecture of OpenShift allows for deployment on any supported Certified Red Hat Cloud Provider. And, since the middleware and frameworks developers are writing to on OpenShift are completely unmodified open sourcecomponents adhering to standards such as Java EE and SQL, applications can move on to and off of OpenShift seamlessly without any re-coding. This means that for those who are not ready for public clouds, they can use OpenShift as their development and test environment and the deploy the same application on a traditional application hosting cluster behind the firewall without changing it. For example, a CDI/Hibernate/SQL application could be developed on OpenShift and then deployed on any application server that supports Java EE 6 Web Profile and any SQL database. Oh and yes, our PaaS has a real POSIX file system just like you're used to. The cloud doesn't mean having to change stuff applications have come to depend on.

 

 

 

Enterprise Support. Good applications grow up to be successful applications and then people start to depend on them. Red Hat has a long history of supporting open source at enterprise standards. OpenShift is launching today in Developer Preview without enterprise support, but all the pieces are based on technology that Red Hat can and will support. The system is designed to allow us to take Red Hat's proven enterprise support levels and apply them to OpenShift. Not many companies have the breadth of expertise to be able to support a Platform-as-a-Service, from framework and middleware to database to operating system to cloud orchestration. Remember that security patches, updates and bug fixes need to be applied through the entire stack, and engineers often need to debug top to bottom to resolve issues in order to make the simple abstraction of Platform-as-a-Service work at enterprise levels.

A foundation of open source. OpenShift is running today on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and taking advantage of many of its features, from security to isolation to management to performance optimizations. Because of the well-known ABI, OpenShift's partner ecosystem of plug-ins and add-ons is also flourishing - more about that in a future post. But in addition to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, OpenShift is taking advantage of scores of other open source projects that Red Hat supports, from well-known ones such as JBoss, Apache and PHP, to newer projects such as Apache Qpid and around 15 projects that fall under the CloudForms umbrella.

Finally, OpenShift is built and run by people with a 15 year history of supporting open source in production. When Matt, our operations director, needs help debugging a config in SELinux, he just walks a few offices down and talks to a kernel contributor. When Mike, one of our multi-tenancy architects, needs a hand with best practices for applying security updates, he walks a few offices down and talks to an engineer who packages errata for thousands of linux servers. And of course, as we're making improvements to core components such as Apache, we're contributing those back to the community. Red Hat's engineers are the people that hosters, IT departments, cloud providers, government agencies, and software vendors turn to when they need help running Linux and middleware in production. Those same engineers are right down the hall for us, and we sure do take advantage.

A special shout-out to the folks who worked long hours, broke rules, and followed their instincts to make this possible. It's a strong testament to Red Hat's open source culture of innovation and the executive commitment to PaaS that a few small teams (one from an acquisition no less) can come together in a few months and deliver a brand new service

In a future post I'll dive into some of the unique management features of the PaaS, such as end-to-end monitoring, git-style code sync, a distributed file system, revision control, rolling restarts, auto-scaling, log search, clustering, and application cluster migration. Until then, why not sign in and try it out yourself?

It's completely free as in beer!

 

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