Red Hat takes on VMware with Linux containers

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Red Hat takes on VMware with Linux containers

Looking to expand the adoption of application container technology within the data center, Red Hat on Tuesday trumpeted the general availability of its Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 3 platform based on Docker format Linux containers.

The release also supports Google's Kubernetes technology for managing clusters of Linux containers.

The new software marks yet another point where Red Hat finds itself competing head to head with rival VMware, which has also been moving into the realm of Linux containers.

Red Hat, which held its annual Red Hat Summit in Boston last week, also unveiled the Red Hat Atomic Enterprise Platform, which runs, orchestrates and scales multi-container-based applications and services. That software is available only through an early-access program.

"The combination of these platforms now bring the capabilities of containers to any enterprise with manageability, life-cycle [management], security, and development tools and services," said Paul Cormier, Red Hat executive vice president and president of products and technologies, in a keynote Wednesday. "From apps development to operations, [the software products] embrace all the needs for commercial deployment."

The introductions came a day after Red Hat unveiled its new Mobile Application Platform for developing mobile software and announced an alliance with Samsung to jointly build and market software for Samsung's mobile devices.

Cormier said Red Hat's open-source container work also includes the development of use cases and a registry, Red Hat Connect for Technology Partners, which it will ship with its container technology.

Red Hat is also developing tools that will make it easier for developers -- including solution provider partners -- to containerise their software code, said Craig Muzilla, Red Hat senior vice president, application platform products, in an interview. "I think most solution providers will be developing their applications containerised," he said.

While containers aren't necessarily a replacement for the use of virtualisation, Muzilla said, multiple application containers could run on a single virtual machine, reducing the number of VMs that might be needed.

Last year, in an earnings call, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said he does not see Linux container technology as a threat to the company's virtualisation technology business.

At last week's summit conference, Red Hat executives have touted their company's open source bona fides and criticised competitors -- sometimes mentioning VMware by name.

In his keynote, Cormier said VMware "did a very good job" in advancing virtualisation to the compute layer. "But they tried to control it and stifle it with a proprietary lock-in model," he said.

Later in his keynote, Cormier warned that open-source technology proponents "can't let our guard down. The proprietary guys don't want this change," he said of Red Hat's technology direction. "We're not going to let them win."


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