Expanding Cloud Capabilities
Red Hat OpenShift can now run on IBM Z, IBM LinuxONE and IBM Power for an infrastructure-agnostic model
Image by Vasava
By Jennifer Goforth Gregory11/02/2020
As organizations look for new ways to engage clients with new experiences and digital services outside of their traditional offerings, many begin to realize that options are limited by their cloud infrastructure. Without the agility to quickly deploy new applications, organizations lose their competitive edge and even their clients. Instead of losing market share, organizations with private clouds often decide to use a public cloud for a specific need to reach clients more effectively, resulting in a hybrid cloud model. While the move to the hybrid cloud solves many issues, organizations often struggle with developing applications that run across hybrid clouds.
Because each cloud has its own operating models, more often than not, applications get tied to a cloud provider, which constrains flexibility to choose the infrastructure that’s best suited for an application, explains Preeth Kannoth Patinharayil, product marketing manager for cloud on IBM Power®. Because of these limitations, an organization’s flexibility and business decisions are often limited by their cloud provider. That’s why IBM and Red Hat® are dedicated to finding new ways to improve hybrid cloud development and management for clients, using key solutions like Red Hat OpenShift® and IBM Cloud Pak® solutions.
Improving Container Management With Red Hat OpenShift
Companies need the ability to handle peak traffic during holiday shopping surges or enrollment periods, but they don’t want to consistently pay for or manage the level of compute resources needed at the highest peak. To solve this business challenge, many organizations use containers, involving a lightweight virtualization with a single copy of the OS, accelerating the process of developing, managing and maintaining applications.
Managing containers across multiple systems and servers is time consuming and often cumbersome, but the Kubernetes function included in Red Hat OpenShift simplifies the management and usability of containers. Red Hat OpenShift, which is available on multiple public and private clouds as well as on-premise, simplifies using Kubernetes and adds capabilities such as a registry to store application templates as well as improving connectivity to the network.
“OpenShift allows developers to package applications into containers. IT operators can then more easily manage and orchestrate the containers, allowing business leaders to be agile in meeting rapidly evolving customer needs,” says Adam Jollans, program director, IBM Z® and IBM LinuxONE Product Marketing, Red Hat and Linux®.
However, enterprise applications often need higher level functions, such as application runtimes, databases and integration middleware. With IBM Cloud Pak solutions, pre-configured sets of IBM and open-source container applications that run on OpenShift, organizations can accelerate the development of intelligent, secure and automated workflows that are deployed in hybrid cloud environments. Cloud Pak solutions also streamline management across the hybrid cloud, improving overall performance along with the client experience.
IBM recently announced the Red Hat OpenShift container platform can now run on IBM Z, IBM LinuxONE and IBM Power, with product releases at the same time as on x86, and with a variety of cyberresilience and persistent IBM Storage solutions for containers. By extending OpenShift, clients now have the consistency of a single experience across multiple ways of consuming OpenShift, says Chuck Dubuque, product marketing, Cloud Infrastructure, Red Hat.
This ultimately creates a common infrastructure for containers and Kubernetes with consistent tooling and management, allowing you to build applications once and deploy anywhere—and inherit the benefits of a multi-architecture environment. Patinharayil says the new release added a common abstraction layer via OpenShift, so you can deploy applications on a cloud infrastructure that makes most business sense.
“IBM Power Systems™ allows organizations to colocate containerized apps with business-critical data on AIX®, IBM i and Linux VM-based environments. This helps in making low latency connections between apps and data, improving the overall performance.” says Patinharayil. “IBM Power servers also pack more containers in a core, which in turn delivers up to 2.6x better price-performance compared to x86 systems1. All in all, you get more mileage running cloud-native apps on IBM Power.”
Expanding Red Hat OpenShift also provides the ability to colocate data, allowing data to be as close to the customer as possible, especially with applications running globally. Duncan Hardie, principal product manager at Red Hat, explains that a global application may need to reside in different clouds globally, or even on-premise, for reasons of data sovereignty or regulations. Using the same Red Hat OpenShift experience across those clouds and multiple architectures increases agility between heterogeneous environments. Additionally, Cloud Pak solutions on Red Hat OpenShift gives you access and control of your data, allowing you the flexibility to locate your data, processing and customer-facing applications optimally for performance, security, and data locality.
“With the new features, we are moving clients to Red Hat OpenShift to help them accomplish the goals previously they have not been able to meet.”
Delivering Data Services to Containers
Iliana Garcia, storage marketing manager for IBM Storage for Red Hat OpenShift, says many organizations are struggling with effectively managing growing data on a hybrid cloud. They need to be concerned about how their storage connects and where their data is located in the hybrid cloud. And, she explains, they also need the agility provided by containers to stay competitive. “Containers require persistent storage and robust data services that provide management, protection, security, performance and continuous availability. Hybrid cloud has made it important to rapidly adopt the latest innovations. And the storage needs to facilitate that,” says Garcia.
IBM Storage for Red Hat OpenShift unifies traditional and container storage, and provides cloud-native agility with leading block, file, and object storage choices supported with IBM Power Systems, IBM LinuxONE and IBM Z infrastructure.
To get the most benefits from hybrid cloud, organizations need storage designed to match the mission-critical capabilities of IBM Z, IBM LinuxONE and IBM Power enterprise servers. IBM DS8900F combines unique enterprise capabilities, providing the fastest, most reliable and secure storage solution for high-speed transactional processes, business intelligence and container-based applications. In addition, IBM DS8900F supports IBM Cloud Pak solutions to enhance and extend the functionality and capabilities of Red Hat OpenShift to give organizations a faster, and more secure way to deploy and maintain cloud-native applications.
IBM Storage Suite for IBM Cloud Pak solutions is a complete software-defined storage solution designed specifically to support container environments, with Kubernetes, Red Hat OpenShift and Cloud Pak integration. With Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage delivering data services for workloads running on Red Hat OpenShift, the suite provides a common user experience.
Dubuque says that while persistent storage was originally required for cloud-native applications, enterprise clients soon realized they needed the ability to store persistent data as the result of processing. Kubernetes and OpenShift evolved quickly to meet these requirements, which has allowed them to handle both new cloud-native workloads and older traditional workloads. “After an initial wave of greenfield cloud-native application development, enterprises are now looking to modernize existing applications, many of which were designed for persistent storage on-premise. Modernizing these applications using Kubernetes and OpenShift is much easier than if Kubernetes was designed purely for cloud-native apps. We’ve built what organizations and enterprises need to use Kubernetes to modernize their applications and services,” he notes.
Enterprise Hybrid Cloud File Data for IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE
With Red Hat OpenShift 4.6 and containerized IBM Spectrum® Scale 5.1, IBM Z and LinuxONE now access data from the edge, the core data center or the public cloud with high performance parallel access and a secure interface for container data. By deploying an IBM Spectrum Scale container native storage application and an OpenShift CSI operator, developers dynamically configure high performance data from a federated global file system in their Red Hat OpenShift environments. Customers centrally manage and optimize data capacity, security and leverage the flexibility of high capacity and high-performance Elastic Storage System.
“We heard from our customers that accessing secure enterprise data is a critical component of modernizing applications on Red Hat OpenShift. IBM Spectrum Scale now provides an easier and more optimized way to access enterprise data for containerized application running on IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE,” says David Wohlford, senior product marketing manager, IBM Spectrum Scale at IBM.
Speed, Performance and Security
By running IBM Cloud Pak solutions on IBM Power Systems or IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE, the applications are in the same system as the server, improving performance and providing security throughout the entire application. Organizations also significantly increase their ability to scale containerized application. Additionally, organizations reduce their infrastructure footprint and maintain fewer servers, reducing the costs and complexity.
Dubuque says the latest announcements expanding Red Hat OpenShift to IBM Z, IBM LinuxONE and IBM Power helps address a challenge he often hears: deploying new versions faster. Many organizations struggle and lag behind competitors who release new versions quickly. The consistent experience of Red Hat OpenShift across public clouds and multiple architectures allows IT teams to speak a common language and shift resources from one team to another without learning a new platform, increasing agility and flexibility when trying to move faster.
Hardie says his team has worked with many clients who struggled for a number of years with time to market. “With the new features, we are moving clients to Red Hat OpenShift to help them accomplish the goals previously they have not been able to meet,” he notes. “We’re now able to help our clients gain the agility and flexibility they need to serve their customers.”
1 Based on IBM internal testing running MongoDB’s Geospatial queries at 700 users, each running 1000 transactions using jmeter v4.
Jennifer Goforth Gregory is a freelance writer.