Marc Andreessen famously stated, “…,” in his 2011 essay published in the Wall Street Journal. His sentiments highlight the transformative nature of software and the effects it has on the status quo of numerous industries and economy at-large.
Years later, that visionary statement continues to resonate as it was once prognosticated. In a world where the pressures of digitalization are giving rise to new business models and heightened competition, organizations looking to thrive must retool and adapt — and do so rapidly.
Software, or more specifically, modern software paired with a DevOps culture, is at the epicenter of this corresponding movement. This method of development - driven by coalescing trends of cloud, containers and microservices (among others) – is purpose-built to facilitate interaction, collect information and provide real-time response. In other words, the effective use of these technologies delivers today's digital business value chain. This is a new paradigm and organizations must possess the ability to deliver software quickly, repeatedly, and with continuous iteration.
Application development platforms have emerged as a way to achieve this ideal. These offerings provide an optimized framework for design, construction, and deployment so that organizations may accelerate their efforts. Red Hat’s OpenShift is a prime example of this approach. Leveraging industry standards from Docker and Kubernetes, Openshift brings together a rich set of programming languages and operations tools to support the application lifecycle from developer to IT administration.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jason Dobies, a Partner Technical Marketing Engineer at Red Hat, about the OpenShift platform and industry circumstances dictating the rise of application development platforms
What’s been happening in the industry to give rise to the need for modern software and application development platforms like OpenShift?
“If I had to point to a single driving factor, it would be the increased desire for rapid, iterative development and deployment of applications. The majority of the recent industry trends have been advancing that end goal.”
“To accommodate this imperative application architectures have shifted from monolithic deployments to microservices based. Additionally, virtual machines tend to be overly resource intensive to support this level of application decomposition, giving way to containers and their ability to scale and retain application portability.”
“Perhaps more difficult has been the accompanying cultural shift. More and more teams are adopting a DevOps approach to reduce friction between developers and operations, while at the same time allowing both to focus on their specific areas of expertise. As these processes evolved, supporting technologies such as the cloud and PaaS-style platforms filled the needs that arose.”
This series of trends and technologies has certainly reshaped the way IT organizations and application developers collaborate. How would you describe the value of these groups adopting this modern work style?
“One of the biggest benefits OpenShift brings to developers is allowing them to focus on delivering new capabilities without having to spend a great deal of time on overhead tasks such as infrastructure maintenance or environment configuration. OpenShift provides developers access to a wide range of languages, frameworks, and databases, fostering easy experimentation and rapid technology adoption.”
“Operations teams hear those terms – experimentation and rapid adoption -- and rightfully become nervous. Containers help to mitigate those concerns by packaging their dependencies into a self-contained, and more importantly portable, format. Consistent deployment environments provided by OpenShift help increase confidence and reduce risk as new container images are promoted and deployed.”
So then, what is OpenShift and how does it uniquely address the needs and requirements you’ve described?
“Red Hat OpenShift is a secure, enterprise-grade container orchestration platform. OpenShift helps teams develop and manage container-based applications, providing seamless deployment across physical, virtual, and hybrid cloud infrastructures. Built on proven open source technologies, OpenShift enables container applications by providing additional features such as load-balancing, auto-scaling, and persistent storage.”
“I would also add that Red Hat differentiates by leveraging a vibrant community of contributors. These engaged users provide product innovation and insight from a practitioner viewpoint that is invaluable for future releases of our software.”
In addition to the obvious productivity benefits, I also gather that utilizing a platform like OpenShift is a good way to standardize the development pipeline and insert elements of organizational control. Are there other reasons to consider a platform approach to application development?
“I totally agree. I would also add that a PaaS approach helps cement the responsibility lines between development and operations. Developers have on-demand, self-service access to the tools they need without any knowledge of where or how they are deployed. Operations have a complementary focus in configuring and maintaining the underlying infrastructure while managing resource efficiency”.
Cloud infrastructure—whether private, public, or hybrid (multi-cloud)—is at the heart of an application development platform such as OpenShift. Given that agile and flexible scenario, what criteria might be involved in a deployment decision for OpenShift?
“OpenShift seamlessly supports a variety of deployment models. This enabling factor allows organizations to determine the correct infrastructure to utilize depending on the workload, cost efficiency, requirements for information governance and compliance, then also needs for scalability.”
“Additional factors that might contribute to the decision relate to ingrained cultural aspects of an organization and the relation to the data that is being stored from application. All these considerations can help customers create a model for deployment and scalability that suites their needs.”
We embrace this modern software evolution at Hitachi and support Red Hat’s OpenShift on our series of converged and hyperconverged infrastructure platforms that make cloud integration a reality. Further, Hitachi is actively engaged in enabling enterprise-class storage in the container ecosystem. With seamless integration for platforms like OpenShift, along with other industry standard technologies (e.g. Kubernetes, Docker), you can power your application development efforts with a robust and reliable storage solution from Hitachi.