Red Hat Positions PaaS as Cure to Heal DevOps Divide

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Red Hat is making a strategic bet that IT organizations increasingly will rely on platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments to make a broad range of distributed services available to developers, which would eliminate friction without enabling IT operations teams to maintain control.

Paul Cormier, president of products and technologies for Red Hat, said IT organizations are realizing PaaS environments such as OpenShift have evolved into a platform through which a broad range of curated distributed services can be exposed to developers by IT operations teams. That capability is critical because, otherwise, developers simply go around the IT operations team to download libraries. IT operations teams before too long are asked to support applications of uncertain provenance that in many cases wind up duplicating functions.

As appreciation of the role PaaS environments play in enterprise IT, Cormier said Red Hat is increasingly having conversations with CIOs and other senior IT leaders who are trying to bridge the historic divide between developers and IT operations teams by exposing a broad range of curated distributed services via well-defined application programming interfaces (APIs).

Red Hat is expanding the types of applications that can run on OpenShift alongside traditional 12-factor applications. In fact, by embracing Kubernetes container orchestration software, Red Hat is effectively obliterating the line between a PaaS and container-as-a-service (CaaS) environment, Cormier said, adding OpenShift makes it possible to build and deploy those applications on-premises or in the cloud as IT organizations deem best, based on cost, data gravity and regulatory requirements. Serverless computing frameworks will make it possible to bridge those environments by invoking an event-driven framework to take advantage of, for example, cloud bursting in a heterogeneous hybrid cloud, he said.

In fact, Cormier noted more IT organizations will mix and match internal and external services, as each platform tends to run different classes of application workloads better. For example, IT organizations may want to be able to invoke one type of artificial intelligence (AI) service on one cloud over another based on their performance attributes.

Traditional enterprise IT organizations are not looking to eliminate the need for IT operations teams, he said. Rather than have developers take over IT operations, most organizations would prefer to maximize the amount of time developers spend building and testing applications. The need to build more applications faster than ever will force IT leaders to separate those concerns to eliminate much of the internal friction that results when developers throw application code over the proverbial IT operations wall, Cormier said.

Most IT organizations have yet to embrace a PaaS environment broadly. There tend to be pockets of adoption. But most applications today are still built and deployed without employing a PaaS environment, mostly because PaaS environments are viewed by many as being too prescriptive in terms of dictating application development workflow. Red Hat is betting that with the rise of microservices-based applications based on containers, many IT organizations will finally decide to trade a little less control in exchange or for much less IT infrastructure complexity.

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