Hybrid cloud is gaining ground among enterprises that want to expand computing resources with public cloud infrastructure while still using their on-premise, data center environments. Adding public cloud can mean more elasticity, scalability, and even faster time to market. But if you want to improve the chances that your hybrid cloud can deliver on its promise, you need to think about adding containers to the mix. 

Linux containers provide a way to encapsulate application code in a way that makes the code more portable and faster to deploy. More and more organizations are using containers as part of the infrastructure for microservices-based, cloud-native applications. 

Containers can be portable across environments such as Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and consistent, so they can speed application delivery times and make it easier for teams to collaborate, even if those teams are working in different deployment environments. And they can serve as a bridge between your data center and public cloud environments. 

So, the question shouldn’t be should you implement a container solution, but how will you implement a container solution that best fits the needs of your organization?

The challenge of disparity

Embracing hybrid cloud, by its very nature, requires enterprises to adopt public cloud. This means that IT organizations will have to find or add the expertise to navigate the complexities involved with the public cloud infrastructure they might end up using. For example, does the operating system that the public cloud provider uses provide the same reliability, security, and performance as the one selected for their datacenter? And are there differences between operating system, middleware, or container orchestration technologies that the cloud provider uses which require your IT team to be retrained?

When using multiple cloud environments, enterprises can be faced with having to use different management and development interfaces for each environment. Even if you use containers for application development and Kubernetes for orchestration, you’ll still face the challenges of complexity brought about by differences. That’s because although most public cloud vendors offer Kubernetes services, they all have different features, pricing models, and management interfaces that your IT teams will have to be trained on and operate in. And you should ask how will you be able to use them in your on-premise environment.

What it all boils down to is the potential for greater complexity that in turn can mean higher costs and longer delivery times. The differences can even impact the portability of your applications across environments.

Choose a solution that abstracts the differences

The best time to tackle the challenges brought about by the disparities across a hybrid cloud is at the beginning, when you are still in the planning stages. That way, you can consider the partners you’ll engage, what they offer, and importantly – their ability to deliver solutions that offer consistency regardless of the differences in your hybrid cloud environment.

Red Hat addresses these challenges with an enterprise Kubernetes-based application platform, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, that allows organizations to create applications that are portable across different environments, because OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, upon which it runs, can run in the major public clouds.  

OpenShift offers automated installation, upgrades, and lifecycle management throughout the container stack—the operating system, Kubernetes and cluster services, and applications—on IT's four footprints: bare metal, virtualization, private cloud, and public cloud. Organizations can be better positioned to consistently take advantage of a hybrid cloud approach by running OpenShift. Using Red Hat OpenShift as a unifying layer across multiple footprints can provide the needed consistency for both development and operations, allowing IT to focus on delivering innovative business services rather than managing cloud complexity.

Red Hat’s Certified Cloud and Service Provider (CCSP) partner program is designed to help service providers better meet customer needs, and gives them the ability to build, host, and resell Red Hat’s portfolio of technologies through a "pay-as-you-go" model. Red Hat works with cloud providers to engineer, test, and certify Red Hat solutions on that cloud provider.

To get started with containers and Kubernetes, enterprise clients can deploy and run solutions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage, and more. And when you’re ready to move to the public cloud, Red Hat’s Cloud Access program makes it easy to migrate existing Red Hat product license subscriptions to the certified providers’ clouds. The bonus? Your IT team is already familiar and comfortable with the Red Hat solutions. 

Red Hat Services can help you more readily address the technical complexity associated with cloud adoption, providing you with best practices for maintaining, evolving, and enhancing your service delivery environment.

Learn more about hybrid cloud and read our ebook Best practices for migrating to containerized applications on best practices for container migration.

About the author

Dan Juengst is Sr. Principal Technology Evangelist at Red Hat.  He has 20+ years of high tech experience in areas such as DevOps, cloud computing, Platform as a Service, application performance, grid computing, and high performance computing. Juengst has held senior technical positions at CloudBees, CA Technologies, Sun Microsystems, SGI, and Wily Technology. His roots in technology originated in the Aerospace industry where he leveraged high performance compute grids to design rockets.

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