Red Hat Defines IT Management Ambitions
As IT becomes more complex to manage, more organizations will look to outsource its management to managed service providers (MSPs). But the growing complexity will also increase costs of actually managing the IT environment for MSPs.
To address that issue Red Hat is building out a management framework designed to unify the management of virtual machines, OpenStack and eventually Docker containers that are rapidly emerging as a lightweight alternatives to virtual machines.
At the OpenStack Paris 2014 conference this week Red Hat announced the general availability of Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI) Version 5, which makes it possible to manage virtual machines alongside OpenStack.
Next up: Docker container management
But Joe Fitzgerald, director of cloud strategy at Red Hat, said the company’s management ambitions will not stop there. Red Hat has already announced an alliance with Docker so it’s only a matter of time before MSPs can also manage Docker containers via RHCI.
Given the fact that it’s a lot easier to spin up a Docker container than a virtual machine, Fitzgerald said that MSPs should get ready for a major shift in the virtualization landscape. Before too long the number of Docker containers that will be spun up in and out of the cloud will dwarf the number of virtual machines in the enterprise, said Fitzgerald. As such, MSPs will need to be able to manage not just virtual machines from within the same console, but also Docker containers. In fact, Fitzgerald predicts we’re about to see a level of “container sprawl” that will be several orders of magnitude greater than anything previously seen with virtual machines.
At the moment, most of the of the management work concerning Docker containers is being organized around an open source Kubernetes project led by Google that includes not only Red Hat, but also Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft just announced it plans to add support for Docker containers to a future version of Windows Server 2012.
The end result of all this activity is that IT organizations will be forced for the foreseeable future into managing Docker containers and multiple types of virtual machines running in and out of the cloud. For that very reason Wipro today announced it has extended its existing relationship with Red Hat to include OpenShift, the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment where Docker containers will run. Now a premier global systems integrator for Red Hat, the two companies also announced today that that are also combining their pilot testing efforts around OpenStack as well.
Why containers are good for MSPs
The best thing about containers from an MSP perspective is that not only are they a lot easier to spin up, they’re also a lot simpler to manage than a virtual machine. As such, MSPs should probably be encouraging customers to make the shift to containers as quickly as possible; assuming of course, they will actually have in place the IT management tools and skills required to actually manage them.