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When we began contributing to the Kubernetes project at its inception in 2014, we believed the technology would be the future of cloud-native IT. But at that time, I don't think we realized just how impactful Kubernetes would be. Fast forward six years, and we have seen broad Kubernetes adoption and Red Hat OpenShift has become the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes solution. Today, we're excited to announce the next step in our journey with Kubernetes through the acquisition of StackRox. I'd like to share some of my thoughts on the exciting opportunities Red Hat can explore after the acquisition closes.

By bringing StackRox’s powerful Kubernetes-native security capabilities to OpenShift, we are reinforcing our commitment to deliver a holistic open hybrid cloud platform. We want to enable users to build, deploy and more securely run applications across every IT footprint. 

With its Kubernetes-native architecture, StackRox is a natural fit for Red Hat. StackRox’s complementary capabilities will strengthen the
layered approach to container and Kubernetes security we have been driving with our partners through OpenShift. The world’s largest banks, airlines, auto manufacturers, logistics companies and even government agencies, entrust their mission critical applications to Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud platform. 

With StackRox, Red Hat will focus on transforming how cloud-native workloads are secured by expanding and refining Kubernetes’ native controls. StackRox’s software provides visibility and consistency across all Kubernetes clusters, helping to reduce the time and effort needed to implement security while streamlining security analysis, investigation and remediation. We will also be working towards shifting security "left" into the container build and CI/CD phase, to identify and address issues earlier in the development cycle to provide more cohesive security up and down the entire IT stack and throughout the application lifecycle. 

Building greater security into cloud-native development and operations aka DevSecOps

For developers, StackRox provides application analysis to identify and remediate known vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. This includes: inappropriate access to secrets; heightened privileges; excessive network exposure before deployment; and more. 

Additionally, in October 2020, StackRox launched KubeLinter, an open source project that analyzes Kubernetes YAML files and Helm charts for correct configurations. Red Hat will continue to invest in and foster this ecosystem as well as drive towards the full open sourcing of StackRox’s capabilities.

For operations teams, StackRox brings a rich set of observability features, including the ability to visualize existing network connections and enforce tighter segmentation via Kubernetes network policies. This extends Red Hat OpenShift’s built-in monitoring and alerting while also adding the automated generation of network policy rules, based on application analysis, as well as the ability to simulate and visualize the impact of possible policies.

For security teams, StackRox provides runtime detection by baselining process activity within containers and automatically identifying anomalous processes. This complements the built-in runtime protection provided by OpenShift’s use of the controlled immutability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) CoreOS, SELinux and the security context constraints (SCC) admission controller plug-in. 

StackRox’s capabilities, combined with OpenShift, will allow Red Hat and our ecosystem of partners, including our container and Kubernetes security partners to better serve our customers and jointly enable rapid adoption of hybrid cloud architectures. Red Hat believes strongly in providing choice to our customers, to facilitate innovation and flexibility. 

And while Red Hat sees great value in bringing StackRox’s Kubernetes-native capabilities to OpenShift, importantly, StackRox’s technology works - and will continue to work - in other Kubernetes environments, including Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). 

The addition of StackRox to the Red Hat family is an important milestone in achieving Red Hat’s mission to create better technology the open source way.
Specific plans and timelines around integrating the product into the Red Hat portfolio will be made available after the acquisition closes.

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About the author

Ashesh Badani is senior vice president of Cloud Platforms, responsible for leading Red Hat’s broad hybrid cloud portfolio, including product development and go-to-market strategy for Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Hat Virtualization, Red Hat Cloud Suite, and Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure. In this role, Badani has helped to solidify Red Hat as a hybrid cloud and enterprise Kubernetes leader.