Shifting to Red Hat OpenShift: A Beginner’s Guide

What is Red Hat OpenShift?

The Red Hat OpenShift cloud development platform is going places – it is the leading enterprise Kubernetes platform – and is generating quite a buzz in the open-source community. In case you were looking to gain a high-level understanding of this pivotal technology, look no further, for you have arrived at the right place.

OpenShift, in its various flavours, was envisioned as a PaaS (Platform as a Service) for developing and hosting enterprise infrastructure applications. For example, OpenShift Origin was released as an upstream open-source application container platform while the second web-based version was conceptualized more as a public application development hosting server. OpenShift Dedicated offers clusters managed by Red Hat in any virtual private cloud (AWS, Google Cloud, etc). OpenShift Enterprise, the latest edition, is more of a private PaaS that can be configured on-premise.

Containers have been the basic building blocks of OpenShift since Origin. Red Hat’s main aim with OpenShift was to create a cloud development platform that allowed engineers to manage and provide support to an end-to-end DevOps process. Since Origin is based upon Docker containers, the system merely has to make images of the concerned applications with preset dependencies, which helps in faster, seamless deployments.

What are the major components of OpenShift?

The OpenShift experience is heavily dependent upon the following components:

  • Kubernetes helps to deploy containerized applications from their corresponding images. Post this, any user can access pre-generated images from a public directory by using the OpenShift Container Registry (OCR). 
  • One or more independent containers clustered together in one host are called “Pods”. These pods are the tiniest computable units in OpenShift which can be operated upon or deployed and multiple pods can be used for deployments in other services and applications.
  • The OpenShift Web Console lets users browse and manage their apps using SCM as well as CI/CD workflows. The source codes from all concerned applications are incorporated into Docker images which can be smoothly retrieved from the OCR at will.
  • In the Kubernetes layer, the Master Node is a collection of hosts which houses all the master components including the API Server, etcd or the controller manager. It also schedules the functioning of pods on individual nodes.

This should suffice for a brief introduction, but of course as clichéd as it sounds, this is merely the tip of the OpenShift iceberg.

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