Red Hat, AWS Launch Managed Kubernetes Service

Red Hat has extended its alliance with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to now include a jointly managed service offering.

Sathish Balakrishnan, vice president for hosted platforms at Red Hat, says with this offering AWS will manage the public cloud, while Red Hat will provide a fully managed instance of Red Hat OpenShift. Red Hat already has similar relationships with Microsoft and IBM in place for managed services in addition to providing instances of Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated, which can be deployed and updated by Red Hat on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Balakrishnan says the difference between a fully managed Red Hat OpenShift service is that all the billing is provided via existing contracts customers have in place with AWS, Microsoft or IBM.

Interest in a managed Red Hat OpenShift services is running high because of the complexity of the Kubernetes foundation on which Red Hat OpenShift is built, says Balakrishnan. Many organizations are deciding they would prefer to consume Kubernetes as a service rather than manage themselves. What’s more, it can be difficult for organizations to find and retain IT professionals with Kubernetes expertise. Others may decide to rely on a managed service as a way to train their own people to take over at a future date.

In the wake of the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations may also simply not have personnel available to manage what is still an emerging platform in the enterprise.

Red Hat already has relationships with more than 300 IT services providers that make Red Hat OpenShift available as a managed service. The goal is to make Red Hat OpenShift available everywhere possible as part of a larger hybrid cloud computing strategy enabled by Kubernetes. It will be up to each individual customer to decide whether they prefer to directly engage Red Hat, a cloud service provider or a third-party IT services provider, says Balakrishnan.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges when it comes to a managed service is aligning the DevOps practices adopted by any organization to the managed service being provided. Balakrishnan says that while Red Hat OpenShift provides an opinionated approach to building and deploying applications, the platform does allow for customization via various DevOps plug-ins.

Less clear in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is the rate at which organizations will be building and deploying cloud-native applications based on Kubernetes. Many organizations have concluded that as they embrace digital business transformation, they will need applications that are both more flexible and resilient. As a result, the rate at which applications are being moved to the cloud is expected to accelerate. However, what percentage of the applications moving to the cloud will be based on existing monolithic architectures versus microservices-based applications is unknown. Microservices-based applications are more difficult to build, deploy and manage, but the flexibility they enable often provides organizations with a competitive edge in terms of the rate at which new features and capabilities can be added.

Regardless of the path forward, the number of organizations adopting Kubernetes will continue to increase. It’s not quite as clear what entity will be managing all those Kubernetes clusters on behalf of whom.

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