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Q&A: How open source made Kubernetes appealing to enterprise app developers

A conversation with Brian Gracely, Director Product Strategy, Red Hat OpenShift

Q: Is Kubernetes really here to stay? What makes it more than just the flavor of the month?

A: We are at an interesting inflection point right now with computing. We went from physical hardware to virtual machines to containers and to concepts like serverless computing. And we’re asking questions like, “Can it get even smaller?”

We’re trying to make the underlying platform more powerful, but less and less visible. So if it’s invisible to developers, do we just stop caring about it?

But you could make the same argument with Linux, right? If the application is done well, and Linux is doing its job, you shouldn’t care about it. It’s just running, it’s fast, it’s scalable. Kubernetes probably follows that path more than anything.

Q: What about Kubernetes catches the interest of app developers?

A: The applications the people tend to want to run in Kubernetes, fundamentally, are applications that you’re going to update on a frequent basis. Scaling is part of its DNA. You don’t have to worry about whether it will scale. It comes with built-in capabilities that allow non-disruptive updates, which is important for uptime.

You can see examples of people using it for big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. We’re seeing it used for edge computing and for mainstream Java applications.

So you put all of this together, along with built-in automation, and Kubernetes becomes really powerful and flexible as a platform for application development.

Q: How does being open source make Kubernetes appealing to enterprise companies?

A: When large companies explore Kubernetes, they can experiment with it because it’s open source.

Similarly, customers can feel very comfortable that when they have conversations with Red Hat, there will be a depth of knowledge that’s very different because we spend time in the open source communities becoming experts.

Customers can come to us with problems or ideas and say, “Can it do this?” or “In the future, would it ever do this?” And we can say yes or no, and if the answer is not today, we can go make it happen.

Q: What else makes Red Hat’s approach to Kubernetes distinct?

A: We view Kubernetes as a core piece of something that’s going to be much bigger for your business. We want to make our customers feel confident that this is something that’s going to be around for a long time. We’re actively involved in not only contributions to the open source project, but also the leadership around it. Customers can feel very comfortable that when they have conversations with us, there will be a depth of knowledge that’s very different.

When you can have that level of depth of conversation with customers, the things that follow from that become much richer. Those are the things that really differentiate OpenShift. A lot of the enhancements around security, or support for stateful and stateless applications, or big data applications, would never have happened without our relationships with customers.

Learn more from Brian Gracely. Take a deeper dive with a Red Hat webinar on app development: https://www.redhat.com/en/events/webinar/develop-deploy-deliver-continuously

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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