Red Hat Summit: Red Hat OpenShift Getting Deeper Virtualization Features

Other Red Hat applications also get performance and feature enhancements that will benefit partners and customers.

Todd R. Weiss

April 28, 2020

6 Min Read

The Red Hat Summit 2020 virtual event opened with big OpenShift news. The family of containerization software is getting new virtualization capabilities.

Also announced were upcoming features for advanced cluster management for Kubernetes and a new Red Hat OpenShift version 4.4.

The OpenShift virtualization features are a technology preview within Red Hat OpenShift and won’t be complete until later in 2020. The new virtualization capabilities come from the KubeVirt open source project. They aim to provide opportunities to develop, deploy and manage applications consisting of virtual machines alongside containers and serverless.

The virtualization tools will allow standard VM-based workloads to come to Kubernetes, according to Red Hat. That can help eliminate workflow and development silos that often exist between traditional and cloud-native application stacks. Ultimately, this will make it easier for organizations to migrate and modernize existing applications and services on Red Hat.

The OpenShift virtualization developer enhancements include a consistent development experience across VMs, containers and serverless functions for users. Users can manage all of the enterprise application stack components directly through Red Hat OpenShift. In addition, one can migrate VMs to OpenShift without fully containerizing them. This allows them to run mixed applications.

The general availability of Red Hat OpenShift virtualization is later in the year.

Red Hat OpenShift 4.4

Also unveiled at Red Hat Summit 2020 Virtual Experience was Red Hat OpenShift 4.4, the company’s latest enterprise Kubernetes platform. Building on Kubernetes Operators, the new version includes improvements in core platform capabilities around compute, networking and storage. In addition, a new descheduler tool helps OpenShift administrators rebalance workload distributions across OpenShift for improved efficiency and utilization. OpenShift 4.4 also upgrades the ingress controller implementation to use HAProxy 2.0, which allows higher performance.

OpenShift 4.4 also now gets self-guided installation experience support for deployment with full-stack automation (IPI) on Red Hat Virtualization (RHV). It includes support for Helm 3, making Helm charts visible and available in the OpenShift Console’s developer catalog.

Kubernetes users weren’t forgotten in Red Hat’s announcements at the event, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For Kubernetes users, a new Red Hat advanced cluster management for Kubernetes tool was unveiled as a tech preview. The tool provides a single, simplified control point for the monitoring and deployment of OpenShift clusters at scale. It offers policy-driven governance and application life cycle management. It allows organizations to consistently manage their Kubernetes clusters across hybrid clouds. That includes Red Hat OpenShift deployed on-premises, on bare metal and on public clouds from Amazon, Google, IBM and Azure.


Red Hat’s Brian Gracely

Brian Gracely, director of product strategy for Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat cloud, told Channel Futures that partners will benefit from the virtualization enhancements because they are being added to existing OpenShift products being used by customers.

“What’s important to note is that OpenShift virtualization is a component of OpenShift, it’s not a separate offering requiring an additional subscription or new infrastructure,” said Gracely. “As with all of our technologies, this is not covered by an expensive proprietary license — if you are an OpenShift subscriber, you immediately will have access to OpenShift virtualization and the benefits that it could provide to you and your customer organizations.”

Partners can use OpenShift virtualization to innovate while still protecting existing investments and …

… mission-critical applications, without being tied to inflexible, legacy architecture, he said.

“Managing a single platform, versus virtualization and cloud-native stacks that compete for man-hours and resources, also frees up the ability of developer and operations teams to add business value beyond keeping existing systems running.”

Pete Cruz, a Red Hat technical marketing manager, said community and customer feedback has driven the cluster management innovations.

“In addition, partners are a valuable part of the open source communities and we look forward to their feedback and community contributions,” he said.

Analysts See Useful Advances

Gary Chen, an IDC analyst, said the Red Hat Summit announcements offer good road maps for customers and partners.


IDC’s Gary Chen

“I think we’re really seeing Red Hat prep the platform for the future, there’s a lot expansion here with container-native virtualization, serverless, multicluster management, containerized network functions for telco, and the operator marketplace,” said Chen. “Do customers need any of these things today? No, most have really small clusters with modest workloads. But Red Hat is laying the groundwork to be ready when customers start growing in scale and maturity.”

For now, “OpenShift is arguably the broadest container platform in the market when you look at its scope,” he said.

Another IDC analyst, Mary Johnston Turner, said she sees Red Hat doubling down on its commitment to making OpenShift a common platform for applications running across public and private clouds.


IDC’s Mary Johnston Turner

“With the tech preview of OpenShift container-native virtualization based on KubeVirt, the company is hoping to accelerate adoption of OpenShift as a standard platform for legacy and cloud-native workloads,” said Turner. “As part of this effort, the company has introduced a tech preview of Advanced Cluster Management and expanded core OpenShift 4.4 cost management and platform monitoring capabilities. This prioritization around management indicates Red Hat is working to scale with enterprise customers as they build out broad container-based infrastructure platforms for production workloads as well as dev and test.”

With IDC’s research showing many organizations refocusing on costs, operational efficiency and security as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new product enhancements will help with those goals, she said.

“Red Hat’s announcements are focusing on providing partners and customers will better tools to run mission-critical applications on containerized workloads and to take advantage of the different cost and security profiles offered by private data centers and public cloud infrastructure,” said Turner. “Channel partners will be well served to focus on the needs of workloads and support customer needs for portability, security and control.”

Analyst Paul Delory of Gartner said he’s most interested in the work Red Hat has done around policy-based management.

“It allows you to define your policies programmatically, and have your tools enforce compliance automatically. Red Hat has taken steps in that direction, by creating management policies within advanced cluster management (ACM), and also within the operating system itself, via the Insights product.”

Today, there are limits on those policies. But he expects more as the product matures and its user base grows.

“Some of the other automation announcements might get lost in the shuffle, but they shouldn’t,” said Delory. “They’ve integrated Red Hat Insights and parts of the Red Hat Smart Management product into Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That means, most importantly, improvements for patching and compliance management. Patching is always a huge pain point for Ops teams.”

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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