Middleware Containers on OpenShift moves DevOps closer

OpenShift Container Management Platform

Many software teams are moving toward containers, albeit not at the same rate.  The organizations making the most progress are those who focus on containerizing applications mainly to take advantage of microservices and portability across public, private and hybrid clouds.  Businesses moving at a slower rate are concerned about running business-critical apps in the cloud and having to rewrite their applications.  At the same time they are thinking about the future, and for developers that future is in cloud and containers.

Moving apps to containers and lightweight app platforms let companies innovate quicker today, while setting them up for tomorrow.

“If you’re using containerized middleware services, developers can build their applications in the same environment that’s going to be deployed in production,” said James Falkner, technology evangelist at Red Hat. “It gives the IT staff more confidence in what they’re going to support.  And developers no longer have to rely on the underlying operating system to resolve dependencies and to ensure that the apps work on different operating systems.”

Red Hat has created containerized middleware services – a set of container images or all of its middleware – that work seamlessly with OpenShift. This enables customers to modernize existing apps and build new cloud-based infrastructure for more agile processes across IT and the business.  They can also implement new ways of architecting, delivering and integrating applications.

Containerization Is Efficient

Containerized middleware and containerized apps share many of the same benefits.  For example, apps built using a PaaS use an underlying runtime provided by middleware.  When the app and runtime are packaged and deployed together, developers benefit from container portability and ease of use for both the app and the middleware. In addition, they no longer have to worry about the runtime environment or operating system issues.

“Abstracting the operating system from the developer is a huge benefit,” said Falkner.  “Java is supposed to be ‘write once, run anywhere,’ but it’s more like write once, debug everywhere.  We’ve eliminated a lot of the pain Java developers faced around portability.”

Apps Do Not Have to Be Re-Architected

Organisations that have traditional Java EE apps running on bare metal or a VMware virtualized container are starting to move away from heavy-handed virtualization to lightweight containers.  They want to be able to do that without re-architecting their apps.

“We wanted to support customers who have legacy apps that they want to move to a modern deployment platform,” said Falkner.  “We can support them at whatever speed they want to move at in terms of modernizing their apps and IT infrastructures.”

Even without re-architecting the apps, DevOps teams can develop and deploy faster with fewer resources.

Leverage Middleware as a Service

OpenShift container orchestration enables middleware as a service.  Because the middleware is modularized, it’s ideal for software organisations moving to containers and microservices because it mirrors what’s happening at the application level.  When apps and middleware share a common architecture, DevOps teams can avoid the unnecessary overhead and complexity they would face if they were running containerized apps on traditional middleware.

“Even if you move apps without touching them, you can discover what works and doesn’t with your business-critical apps quickly instead of waiting 18 months or two years to come out with the latest version of your apps, or even the next generation of your business,” said Falkner.  “It gives you more time to focus on innovation.”

For example, a European airport transformed hundreds of legacy applications into containerized applications using Red Hat JBoss Fuse, EAP and OpenShift. The integrated apps now push important flight information out to customers via mobile devices and the web.

SOMETHING NEW! OpenShift Application Runtimes

Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes is another new offering that accelerates cloud-native application development with pre-built, containerized runtime foundations for polyglot microservices.

Optimized for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes provide more secure, productive, high-performance foundations for microservices design, helping to move modern, composite applications from concept to delivery faster and more easily along a prescriptive development path.

Business is software, and so the agile delivery of cloud-native, containerized applications is now an enterprise imperative. However, traditional heavyweight, monolithic and proprietary application development solutions have not kept pace with the needs of agile, cloud-native development.

Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes help developers leapfrog the barriers of traditional application development tools by providing a tightly integrated and fully supported offering for developing with multiple languages and frameworks. The offering frees developers from tedious pre-coding set-up and enables them to focus their effort on writing applications that directly benefit the business and accelerating time-to-market.

Certified and supported runtimes planned for inclusion are:

  • WildFly Swarm – WildFly Swarm is an open source framework based on the WildFly Application Server that implements the MicroProfile 1.0 specification and helps developers transition from creating monolithic Java applications to creating microservices using the Java language.
  • Eclipse Vert.x– Vert.x is an open source toolkit for building reactive, high concurrency, low latency applications and is well-suited for supporting the asynchronous communications required by a microservices architecture.
  • js – Node.js is a lightweight JavaScript framework that is used to develop non-blocking, event-driven server-side applications.
  • Spring Boot– Spring Boot is an opinionated framework for rapidly building stand-alone, production-grade Spring-based applications.

Craig Muzilla, senior vice president, Application Platform Businesses and Product Portfolio Programs, Red Hat said “Red Hat stands alone in having the resources and infrastructure to support the cloud-native journey from start to finish with open source tools – from Linux to containers to microservices and beyond, these technologies are the very backbone of digital transformation. We’ve built this fully open technology stack from the ground up, from the rock-solid foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift to our portfolio of Red Hat JBoss Middleware technologies and robust stable of developer tools and programs – all now tightly integrated with a diverse and fully supported set of runtimes in Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes – to give our customers the means to be successful in this new digital world.”

OpenShift Application Runtimes is currently available in tech preview via launch.openshift.io and is expected to be released later this year.

SOMETHING ELSE NEW! OpenShift.io – an online IDE for building container-based applications

Red Hat is also launching OpenShift.io, its first major foray into offering cloud-based developer tools. As the name implies, OpenShift.io sits on top of the company’s Kubernetes-based OpenShift container management platform and provides developers with the tools they need to build cloud-native, container-based apps. That includes team collaboration services, Agile planning tools, developer workspace management, an IDE for coding and testing, as well as monitoring and – of course  – continuous integration and delivery services.

Red Hat has tied together a number of existing open source projects like fabric8, Jenkins, Eclipse Che and, of course, OpenShift into a free service that provides developers with a similar experience, but with a strong focus on container-based applications.

OpenShift.io was clearly built for team collaboration, with support for various development methodologies and philosophies, as well as source control systems. It also features all the necessary tools for the non-coders on the team (think project managers and business analysts) to keep track of the state of a given project.

“Red Hat is delivering the open, flexible and more secure tools to tackle both cloud-native and traditional application development, all on a consistent, standards-based platform,” wrote Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president for products and technologies, in a blog post. “Today, you’ll see us launch new, cloud-based applications and frameworks for building containerized applications that tie together with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform available.”

Tier 2 Consulting will be offering a number of OpenShift Kickstarter packages over the coming weeks, comprising 5 days on site consultancy and a free 30 day OpenShift Evaluation Subscription – giving participating teams a whole month to develop and scale containerized apps with support from Red Hat UK tech teams.

Businesses interested in signing up for the OpenShift Kickstarter Program should email cellis@tier2consulting.com. Places will be limited and subject to Evaluation Subscription terms & conditions.

For more information call Chris Ellis on 01438 310124

*Blog post compiled using media output from the Red Hat Summit, Boston MA, May 2017.