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The Growth of Kubernetes and the Platform Engineering Evolution

The Growth of Kubernetes and the Platform Engineering Evolution

The News: Red Hat took the opportunity of KubeCon and CloudNativeCon this week to release the latest updates to its flagship product OpenShift. Read the press release here.

The Growth of Kubernetes and the Platform Engineering Evolution

Analyst Take: In recent years, Kubernetes has emerged as the backbone of cloud-native deployments, revolutionizing how applications are deployed and scaled across various environments. Its growth has been pivotal in the evolution of platform engineering, signifying a shift in how operations teams manage cloud-native environments. This transformation is driven by Kubernetes’ ability to offer scalable, automated, and dynamic infrastructure provisioning, leading to more efficient and resilient systems.

The acquisition of Red Hat by IBM 5 years ago marked a significant milestone in the cloud-native landscape, particularly with the growth of OpenShift, Red Hat’s enterprise Kubernetes platform. Over the past 5 years, OpenShift has experienced substantial evolution, solidifying its position in the market as a leading enterprise Kubernetes platform. Its integration with IBM’s vast array of cloud and AI technologies has not only expanded its capabilities but also its adoption across industries seeking to leverage cloud-native technologies for digital transformation.

Delving Deeper into OpenShift 4.15’s Announcement

The landscape of cloud-native deployments is continually evolving, with Red Hat at the forefront of this transformation through its latest OpenShift 4.15 version, unveiled during the Kubecon + CloudNativeCon Europe. This iteration marks a notable advancement, introducing a suite of new features aimed at significantly enhancing edge computing capabilities, bolstering core infrastructure resilience, and extending virtualization functionalities. At its foundation, OpenShift 4.15 leverages Kubernetes 1.28, reflecting a commitment to staying at the cutting edge of technology and meeting the modern demands of application deployment and management.

One of the standout features of OpenShift 4.15 is its deepened focus on edge computing. By integrating seamlessly with AWS Outposts and AWS Wavelength, OpenShift 4.15 paves the way for administrators to deploy Red Hat OpenShift clusters effortlessly on AWS infrastructure. This strategic move is aimed at empowering enterprises to position latency-sensitive applications optimally, closer to end-users, thereby enhancing the user experience and application performance. Specifically, the AWS Wavelength integration innovates at the network’s edge, capitalizing on the 5G network’s capabilities to offer unprecedented efficiency and responsiveness in edge computing deployments.

Beyond the edge computing enhancements, OpenShift 4.15 brings to the table substantial improvements in the realms of core infrastructure and virtualization. The platform now includes OVN IPsec support, a crucial development designed to mitigate the complexities associated with securing data in transit. This addition is particularly relevant for organizations operating under rigorous regulatory standards, ensuring that their deployments adhere to the highest security protocols.

Moreover, the release takes Red Hat OpenShift Virtualization to new heights, introducing resilience and disaster recovery enhancements that are pivotal for maintaining continuity and integrity of virtualized workloads. Notably, the introduction of Metro-DR solutions for data protection represents a significant leap in safeguarding virtual machine workloads against potential disruptions. Additionally, the innovative network hot plugging feature enables administrators to dynamically reconfigure network interface cards, adding a layer of flexibility and adaptability previously unseen in virtualization environments.

The collective enhancements introduced in OpenShift 4.15 highlight Red Hat’s unwavering commitment to delivering a platform that is not only robust and secure but also highly versatile. By addressing key areas such as edge computing, core infrastructure security, and virtualization flexibility, OpenShift 4.15 sets a new standard for deploying and managing cloud-native applications. This evolution is reflective of Red Hat’s understanding of the shifting dynamics in the technology landscape and its dedication to meeting the ever-growing demands of modern enterprises.

With its enhanced edge computing capabilities, strengthened core infrastructure, and advanced virtualization features, OpenShift 4.15 is poised to address the complex challenges faced by businesses in the digital era. Red Hat’s ongoing commitment to innovation and security is evident in this latest release, promising a more resilient, efficient, and scalable platform for deploying cloud-native applications across diverse environments.

Practical Impacts and Implications to Developer and Operation Teams

The integration of Red Hat OpenShift with AWS Outposts and AWS Wavelength Zones brings significant implications for developers and operations teams. For example, with application optimization for Edge computing, developers need to adapt their applications to leverage the capabilities of edge computing provided by AWS Wavelength Zones. This may involve optimizing code for lower latency and ensuring compatibility with the specific infrastructure and services available at the edge.

With reduced latency and improved performance at the edge, developers can enhance the user experience of their applications. They can leverage AWS Wavelength Zones to deliver real-time, interactive, and low-latency applications such as gaming, AR/VR, and IoT. Developers gain access to a wide range of AWS services within Wavelength Zones, enabling them to integrate powerful features such as machine learning, analytics, and databases directly into their edge applications. In addition, developers can now design and implement hybrid deployment strategies using OpenShift on AWS Outposts, allowing them to seamlessly deploy and manage applications across both on-premises and cloud environments.

Operations teams can now deploy Red Hat OpenShift clusters on AWS Outposts or AWS Wavelength Zones, providing flexibility in choosing the most suitable infrastructure for their applications based on performance, latency requirements, and data residency considerations. With OpenShift, operations teams benefit from a unified platform for deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications across hybrid environments. They can leverage familiar tools and workflows to streamline operations across AWS Outposts and AWS Wavelength Zones. In addition, operations teams can optimize costs by scaling compute nodes dynamically based on demand and workload characteristics. They can also leverage existing VPCs and subnets in AWS Wavelength Zones, minimizing overhead associated with network configuration and management. By deploying compute nodes closer to end-users or devices in AWS Wavelength Zones, operations teams can improve application performance and reliability by reducing latency and minimizing the impact of network disruptions.

The integration of Red Hat OpenShift with AWS Outposts and AWS Wavelength Zones empowers developers and operations teams to build, deploy, and manage edge applications more efficiently while delivering enhanced performance and user experiences

Looking Ahead: Kubernetes as the New Operating Model

The advancements in Kubernetes, exemplified by OpenShift 4.15, signal a broader trend toward Kubernetes becoming the de facto operating model for cloud-native deployments. This model prioritizes flexibility, scalability, and efficiency, enabling organizations to adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape.

In this evolving ecosystem, Red Hat faces competition from other key players such as SUSE Rancher and VMware Tanzu. Each of these platforms offers unique capabilities designed to simplify the deployment and management of Kubernetes across environments. However, Red Hat distinguishes itself through its comprehensive approach to security, operability, and performance, especially in edge computing and virtualization.

As Kubernetes continues to mature, its role as the foundational technology for cloud-native deployments will only grow stronger. The innovations introduced in OpenShift 4.15, along with Red Hat’s strategic vision and IBM’s support, position it well against competitors. The focus on edge computing, enhanced security, and virtualization aligns with the market’s demands, setting the stage for Red Hat to continue leading in the cloud-native deployment space.

The advancements in Kubernetes and cloud-native technologies represent a pivotal shift in how organizations approach digital infrastructure. OpenShift 4.15 is a testament to Red Hat’s leadership and innovation in this space, offering a glimpse into the future of cloud-native deployments. As the landscape evolves, the competition among Kubernetes platforms will intensify, but Red Hat’s comprehensive approach and strategic investments position it well to continue leading the way in this new operating model for cloud-native deployments.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

The Future of Public RHEL-related Source Code Releases: A Candid Conversation with Red Hat’s Gunnar Hellekson about CentOS Stream | Futurum Tech Webcast

Red Hat’s Flagship OpenShift Platform Gets an Update

Embracing the Future with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.3 and 8.9

Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

At The Futurum Group, Paul Nashawaty, Practice Leader and Lead Principal Analyst, specializes in application modernization across build, release and operations. With a wealth of expertise in digital transformation initiatives spanning front-end and back-end systems, he also possesses comprehensive knowledge of the underlying infrastructure ecosystem crucial for supporting modernization endeavors. With over 25 years of experience, Paul has a proven track record in implementing effective go-to-market strategies, including the identification of new market channels, the growth and cultivation of partner ecosystems, and the successful execution of strategic plans resulting in positive business outcomes for his clients.

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