Red Hat Summit 2020 virtual conference introduces advanced OpenShift capabilities

The enterprise open source provider announced OpenShift 4.4, Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, and OpenShift virtualization to accelerate open hybrid cloud tech.

Hybrid cloud setup offers relief to some companies while others are still fearful

Sitting in his home office in Boston, MA, Paul Cormier, president and CEO of Red Hat, welcomed online viewers to the virtual Red Hat Summit during the keynote on Tuesday. The conference, originally set to be held in San Francisco from April 27-29, will continue through tomorrow.

The Red Hat Summit is one of the many tech conferences forced to become a digital event because of the coronavirus pandemic

Despite the conference's move to digital, attendance was not inhibited--it was bolstered. Cormier said that this year's summit is the biggest yet, with more than 38,000 registrations. 

SEE: IT pro's guidebook: Remote work (TechRepublic)  

Cormier used his opening to focus on the history of open source, virtualization, hybrid, and cloud. While all of these concepts began as ideas, they are now integrated deeply into our daily lives, especially hybrid cloud

"All of us live in a hybrid heterogeneous world," Cormier said during the keynote. "Hybrid requires a common development operations, security and automation environment. This is essential in order to scale. Hybrid isn't a trend. It's a strategic imperative." 

Red Hat partners including Ford Motor Company, Verizon, Intel, Microsoft, and Credit Suisse made on screen appearances, discussing their partnerships with Red Hat and the importance of innovation during such an unprecedented time.  

With innovation in mind, Red Hat hosted a panel after the keynote focusing on new announcements that will help customers easily optimize and scale IT operations in hybrid cloud environments. 

Red Hat product announcements 

The innovation announcements began on Monday and many tied into the new normal of remote work.

Matt Hicks, executive vice president of product and technologies at Red Hat, referenced those announcements, which included a 50% discount on technical account management services for new customers billed, extended product life cycles across portions of Red Hat portfolio, free training for furloughed workers and job seekers, and free online training courses on in-demand skills for all. 

The announcements made during the Tuesday panel, however, focused on three key areas: OpenShift 4.4 release, Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, and OpenShift virtualization. 

The new releases focus primarily on hybrid cloud. Some 31% of Red Hat customers said their cloud strategy is hybrid, Cormier noted during the panel, indicating the prevalence of this technology. 

"Data is everywhere, and applications must be delivered to every end point via multiple channels," Cormier said. "While other vendors are adding open innovation like Kubernetes to legacy environments, Red Hat bridges traditional data center technologies to the hybrid cloud world built on the Linux platform. That is the driving technology of innovation today." 

"Our focus this week is not going to be our traditional news cycle," Hicks said. "We're going to try to make sure that we're meeting Red Hat customers where they are."

  • OpenShift 4.4 release

One of the biggest announcements focused on RedHat's OpenShift 4.4, the latest edition of its enterprise Kubernetes platform. This version, rebased on Kubernetes 1.17, features a developer-focused view of platform metric and monitoring for application workloads, Hicks said. 

OpenShift 4.4 also offers monitoring integration for Red Hat Operators, cost management for financial planning associated with specific applications in the hybrid cloud, and more. 

"This introduces new capabilities like pipeline support, new infrastructure capabilities on HAProxy and DNS, and improved developer experience use cases," Hicks said. "This enables things like serverless, as well as the general path and foundation that we're building on with Linux and Kubernetes." 

SEE: Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan (TechRepublic Premium)

  • Advanced Cluster Management

Running cloud-native applications at a large scale can be difficult to manage. To help, Red Hat announced its Advanced Cluster Management platform for Kubernetes. 

"In this space, most of our customers' [are] deploying lots of clusters, that could be dev-test-prod use cases or it could be production across multiple data centers across the world," Hicks said. 

"This capability is going to let them manage both the Kubernetes clusters themselves and the applications with really rich life cycle capabilities so that they can start operating their Kubernetes and OpenShift clusters at scale from a single place," Hicks added.  

The system will be available as a Technology Preview and will also allow for policy-driven guidance and application lifecycle management.

"When things are this dynamic and you're having to scale or respond to your applications, it's typically faster than a human can actually react to it," Hick said. "Having policy-based management, where you can establish the policies, whether they're for resiliency or for scaling, and having this platform actually adhere to those policies is critical for customers that are deploying and shifting at scale." 

These updates are not reliant on a particular hardware or cloud provider. The tools can be used with major cloud providers including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, according to a Tuesday press release

  • OpenShift virtualization 

Where the OpenShift release and the Advanced Cluster management were the "evolution paths," the OpenShift virtualization is the "revolution path," Hicks said. 

OpenShift virtualization, allows organizations to create, deploy, and manage applications consisting both virtual machines and containers and serverless, together in one platform, which unifies cloud-native and traditional workloads, Hicks said. 

"This has several benefits. It's bringing us forward into the infrastructure foundation of the future. You get a lot of capabilities from that, but you also get to reduce licensing costs," Hicks noted. "You're taking out an arguably redundant layer at this point and being able to focus that on native capabilities in OpenShift and REL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) itself." 

Hicks emphasized the efficiency of this feature, especially for customers already on a path with Linux containers. 

"It also pushes towards new use cases like telco and 5G deployments, where they need the capabilities of running OpenShift on bare metal, but they might have things like some VNF (virtual network function) that are still built on virtualization technology," Hicks said. "They can still use those natively in the OpenShift offering." 

Hicks said he felt like these offerings overall cater toward specific customer needs during this unprecedented time. 

Red Hat Summit 2021 is set to be held in person in Boston next year. 

For more, check out How to get started with automation: A Red Hat exec offers advice on TechRepublic 

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Paul Cormier, Red Hat president and CEO, welcomes viewers to the Red Hat Summit 2020 via video conference. 

Image: Screenshot/Red Hat