OpenShift Interview with Red Hat Evangelist Mark Atwood

June 5th, 2012 | Posted by admin in OpenShift

Red Hat has been doing some awesome things with their OpenShift PaaS, and OpenShift evangelist, Mark Atwood was kind enough to spend a moment for an interview.

OpenShift PaaS

Q. How did OpenShift come about?

Red Hat is always looking for ways to bring powerful and disruptive open-source technology to where it can be used. Cloud computing and especially Platform as a Service cloud computing is exactly that, a very powerful way to easily and rapidly enable and deploy applications based on open-source run-times and languages.

The most significant origin of OpenShift was a startup named Makara, which was publicly announced in February 2010. Red Hat recognized the value of Makara, and the alignment of philosophies, especially about the power of open source. In November 2010, Red Hat acquired Makara. The Makara teams and technology were integrated into Red Hat, and Red Hat has provided extensive and useful management, staff, technology, and marketing resources.

Red Hat was also developing and exploring some other PaaS solutions under the name OpenShift. The Makara staff and technology accelerated and subsumed those projects, keeping the name OpenShift.

Finally this past May 2012 the OpenShift software was open sourced under the terms of the Apache v2 License. This open source and open community project was named OpenShift Origin.

Q. What makes OpenShift so appealing?

OpenShift is built on the trusted enterprise-class operating system base of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. On top of that bedrock OpenShift uses trusted application runtime environments such as JBoss, as well as a wide selection of other open source language application runtimes such as PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, and Node.js. And if those environments are not enough, there is also the “DIY” environment, which allows any binary that can run on RHEL to run in OpenShift. Users have been able to run applications written in C, C++, Fortran, Cobol, and Smalltalk on OpenShift.

Just as important as what OpenShift provides is what it does not. OpenShift has no special or proprietary internal APIs. If an application can run in a standard LAMP environment, it can run in OpenShift, and vice versa. There is no lock-in.

OpenShift Origin is appealing because Red Hat is committed to being a polite member of the development community, and not being an obstacle to other people’s development and execution of the OpenShift Origin software. We’ve already received and merged patches from contributors from outside Red Hat.

Q. What differentiates OpenShift from other PaaS providers?

The same things that makes OpenShift so appealing:

The folks that built and run OpenShift are the same folks that help build the Linux operating system and who maintain the RHEL distribution, which allows us to have a very stable, trusted, secure, performant, and robust platform.

Our avoidance of “lock-in”.

Our demonstrated commitment to open source and open development.

Our “DIY” cartridge type, allowing the PaaS-ification of any binary that can run on the underlying OS.

Q. What features do you have planned to add?

That will mostly be driven by the efforts of our growing open source community, and by requests from the users of the hosted OpenShift service.

We also plan to add additional “cartridges”, which will give our users access to yet more run-times and yet more data storage options. Contributors from the OpenShift Origin community are already discussing and working on new cartridges.

As enterprises adopt PaaS, we will be providing OpenShift based PaaS configurations designed to be consumable by enterprises and designed to meet their specific operational and deployment requirements. OpenShift for the enterprise will be available in a highly automated DevOps operational model, or a more configurable and controllable ITOps model that will allow IT Operations to maintain the control required for compliance, governance, and architectural reasons. In addition OpenShift for the enterprise will be available in either on-premise, public, or hybrid cloud scenarios. We believe that enterprises are hungry for the speed and agility that a PaaS can deliver and we will allow them to have that in an open, hybrid PaaS that won’t require lock-in.

Q. Where do you see OpenShift in the next few years?

We would like to see OpenShift be a major contender in the PaaS service space, and OpenShift Origin be the “go to” development community for PaaS systems running in private datacenters, in private and hybrid clouds, and on public cloud providers, especially those running OpenStack.

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