To end off our three part containerised systems series, we’re excited to introduce you to OpenShift! Developed by Redhat, OpenShift is a computing software used to run containers which, you guessed it, are managed by Kubernetes, perfectly working hand-in-hand to solve your problems! OpenShift is powered by Origin Kubernetes Distribution (OKD) allowing for the continuous development and deployment of applications and it allows users to create cloud computing software that is both scalable as well as dynamic. Now that we know what OpenShift is, just how much of an asset is it and does it differ a lot from Kubernetes? Let’s get into it!
OpenShift enables organizations to use both public resources (cloud-based) and private resources (in-house) to run an operating system managed by Kubernetes. It is an additional layer on top of Kubernetes that makes Kubernetes easier to work with (yay!) especially when difficult tasks need to be executed, such as deploying applications or performing routine tasks like boring and tedious maintenance. These tasks are simplified by OpenShift’s web console and command-line interface, providing an easier means of working with Kubernetes! Who’s going to turn down something that makes life easier? Not us! You shouldn’t either.
OpenShift can make the responsibilities and lives of both developers and Operations Engineers easier. Developers are required to create applications and commit changes to the applications in a repository, such as Github – a code hosting platform used for control and collaboration that lets you and others work together on projects from anywhere, that’s all you’ll need to know for now and definitely an interesting topic for another day, before being deployed.
So how does it help Developers?
OpenShift makes it possible for developers to create applications straight from its web console/command-line before automatically creating a Jenkins pipeline (this is a suite of plugins which supports implementing and integrating) that can be used to deploy the application. A docker image of the application is then built and pushed to a container registry which is hosted in a Kubernetes cluster, therefore, there is absolutely no downtime in terms of the development and deployment of an application since most tasks are automated, how awesome is that? This is most definitely useful when deploying newer versions of a current application.
As for Operations Engineers, who are required to ensure that a high availability of an application is maintained, the OpenShift web console can be used to easily manage and ensure that resources are continuously available. Basically, OpenShift makes it easier to perform scaling of nodes and integrate additional nodes into clusters, this process is automated using Ansible playbooks which are a Redhat offering that provide a skeleton for reusable code that automates certain functions for users, such as deployment, scaling and management.
Let us take a look at the differences between OpenShift and Kubernetes shall we:
It is useful to note the differences between Kubernetes and OpenShift, since both can be considered to be container orchestration tools, they seem very similar but they do indeed differ. In the deployment phase of an application, Kubernetes is responsible for hosting and managing containers that are in a registry. Although, the continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline which is used to deploy applications is not included in the Kubernetes offering. OpenShift, however, allows for both the creation and deployment of applications by automating the pipeline creation. Even though this is quicker and more streamlined, automated pipeline creation results in less flexibility in choosing preferred software and tools to build pipelines. This can be a hindrance to large teams that are more experienced in the operational aspect of deploying applications.
To add, in Kubernetes additional nodes are spun up through writing scripts which can be time-consuming when wanting to scale out, since OpenShift uses Ansible playbooks the scaling process is seamless and completely automatic and can be done on demand! Kubernetes requires permissions, authentications and identity management (IAM) roles to be set which again, can be time-consuming when deploying applications. OpenShift makes use of predetermined roles that are set according to best practices, however, these permissions can prevent deployed Docker images from running as expected but are useful when used by small teams allowing difficult tasks to be streamlined.
When making your decision between Kubernetes and OpenShift, it all comes down to and depends on the size of your development team and their level of knowledge and experience when it comes to deploying applications and projects, although both are amazing containerised systems!
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