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Red Hat OpenShift vs. Kubernetes

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Red Hat® OpenShift® is an enterprise grade open source application platform for accelerating the development and delivery of cloud-native applications in a consistent way across the hybrid and multi cloud, all the way to the edge. It is powered by Kubernetes as the container orchestration engine, and many more features from the CNCF open source ecosystem, all tested, packaged, and supported together as a comprehensive application platform by Red Hat. It can be consumed as either a public cloud service from the major cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, and IBM, or as a self-managed software on the broad spectrum of bare metal and virtual infrastructure across data center, public clouds, and edge.

Kubernetes by itself is an open source software that automates deploying, managing, and scaling containers. Organizations need to manually integrate many other capabilities such as automation, monitoring, log analytics, service mesh, serverless, developer productivity tools, etc. to make it an enterprise ready platform.

Kubernetes clusters are the fundamental computing unit for both Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes. Each cluster has 2 parts: A control plane and worker nodes. Containers with software applications run in the worker nodes, each of which has its own Linux operating system. The control plane is responsible for maintaining the cluster’s overall state (including what apps are running and which container images are used), while worker nodes run the actual production workloads.

The term Docker was once synonymous with containers, but now refers to several things:

  • A specific container technology
  • An open source community
  • A software company

For all that Kubernetes can do to orchestrate containers, users still need to integrate other components like networking, ingress, load balancing, storage, monitoring, logging, multi cluster management, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), and more to accelerate the development and delivery of containerized applications—at scale. Red Hat OpenShift offers these components with Kubernetes at their core because—by itself— Kubernetes is not enough.

Red Hat OpenShiftKubernetes Open source container orchestration
Push-button, automated node configuration and tools
Multi-host-container scheduling
Self-service provisioning
Service discovery
Enterprise container host operating system
Container Image registry
Validated storage plug-ins
Networking and validated plug-ins
Log aggregation
Service Mesh
Metering and chargeback
Developer experience
Cloud service broker
Automated image builds
CI/CD and DevOps workflows and pipelines
Validated third-party Kubernetes operators and Helm charts
Certified databases and related data services
Certified application services
200+ certified ISV solutions
Enterprise operations
Multi-cluster management
Zero downtime patching and upgrades
Enterprise 24/7 support
9-year support lifecycle
Security response team

Kubernetes is a container orchestration software that helps users manage clustered groups of hosts running Linux containers.

While Kubernetes is the core kernel, in order to build, deploy, run, and manage containerized applications at scale at 1 location, or in a consistent way across a distributed environment such as on-prem datacenters, public clouds, edge, you need more than just Kubernetes.

Red Hat OpenShift provides a complete solution that includes a stable Kubernetes engine with robust security and many integrated capabilities required to operationalize a complete application platform. It comes in several editions including as a fully managed public cloud service or self-managed on infrastructure across datacenters, public clouds, and edge.

Cloud services editions:
Self-managed editions:

Red Hat OpenShift focuses on an enterprise user experience. It’s designed to provide everything an organization may need to orchestrate containers—including enhanced security options and full-time professional support—and to integrate directly into enterprises’ custom IT stacks, which may include:

Red Hat has a proven track record with expertise in helping organizations globally achieve success with applications transformation with Red Hat OpenShift, our complementary application and data services portfolio, and broad partner ecosystem.

We are the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, with a comprehensive application platform built with best-of-breed open source community projects, engineered to work together to enable the best in class application development & delivery experience.

We have strategic partnerships and integrations with key application and data centric independent software vendors (ISVs), hardware OEMs, and system integrators. Organizations that use OpenShift on AWS or Microsoft Azure also have the opportunity to use their  committed spend on Red Hat products and services.

Keep reading


What's a Linux container?

A Linux container is a set of processes isolated from the system, running from a distinct image that provides all the files necessary to support the processes.


Containers vs VMs

Linux containers and virtual machines (VMs) are packaged computing environments that combine various IT components and isolate them from the rest of the system.


What is container orchestration?

Container orchestration automates the deployment, management, scaling, and networking of containers.

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