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As product manager for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, part of my job is to ensure that the latest version of our flagship product adheres to our promise of stability, reliability, and security.  In addition, as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is Red Hat’s latest enterprise Linux platform, it also needs to incorporate new innovations in technology to help our customers gain business advantage, reduce costs, and increase efficiency without compromising their existing investments. With this in mind, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux team takes great care in evaluating new technology to ensure that it is introduced in a manner that is minimally intrusive (if at all) and is a natural fit for the platform. Support for Linux containers and the ability to host container-based applications are great examples of this and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 stands ready for the challenge.

Creating and operating application containers via process isolation is not a new concept. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 sowed the seeds for this way back in 2010 with the introduction of Control Groups (cgroups). Since that time there have been many exciting developments in this area with active participation from Red Hat. Building upon cgroups functionality, enhancements to the kernel combined with an easy-to-use container format (Docker) make now an opportune time to consider deploying container-based applications on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

Here are the top three reasons to consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 as the host for your container-based applications


1. Leverage Existing Investments

Since its introduction more than a decade ago, Red Hat Enterprise Linux has become the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform and has set industry standards for performance and security while continuously innovating and evolving. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a leading force in the enterprise datacenter and the cloud, with many Fortune 500 companies, along with organizations across countless industries, relying upon the platform to support their most critical systems.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux also brings with it a vast ecosystem of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) with thousands of certified applications. Given this strong endorsement, organizations continue to make significant investments in Red Hat and in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 further strengthens this position as is evident by its strong adoption since becoming generally available in June of 2014.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 has included support for containers from day one and subsequent updates to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 continue to enhance this capability in response to rapidly evolving customer requirements. Containers are fully supported now and we encourage users to deploy them with confidence on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Deploying containers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7  allows organizations to balance existing investments with future requirements, especially as they have likely already invested heavily in training and management; this means that running containers on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is a natural extension of this management model. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 can thus provide a single platform for running both traditional applications alongside newer container based-applications, achieving a hybrid deployment model that leverages existing infrastructure. There is also no immidiate need to learn and implement a new update model (new image based updates). Red Hat provides base Red Hat Enterprise Linux images for deployment in a container today. It stands to reason that using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 as a platform to host these images should just be a natural fit. No assembly required.

2. The Path to Open Hybrid Cloud

Red Hat’s vision for the Open Hybrid Cloud advocates for organizations to have control and choice on where to deploy their applications. Most of these organizations are opting to keep legacy and business critical applications in-house today. Their investment in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is not in vain as the platform is able to support these demanding workloads when running directly on physical hardware or when running as a virtualized guest on a Red Hat supported hypervisor. As organizations increasingly look to the cloud for an open, distributed, and elastic deployment model, Red Hat’s portfolio comprising of Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (IaaS) and OpenShift by Red Hat (PaaS) caters to these requirements with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 as the solid foundation. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 users can reap immediate advantages by running on a platform that is already hardened for use cases and workloads far beyond their limits today. When customers do decide to deploy to the cloud, they can be confident that their applications will work seamlessly because of their decision to standardize on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Containerized applications running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 deliver on the promise of the Open Hybrid Cloud as they help to accelerate application development and deployment while minimizing the need to worry about  low-level infrastructure requirements.

3. Control and Customization

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 caters to both the IT administrator and the application developer; in fact, in many ways it allows for better segmentation of tasks between the two. IT administrators have access to powerful tools like anaconda, kickstart, Yum, RPM and PackageKit that allow them to customize their systems for specific workloads and/or for corporate compliance. This capability is not new and the knowledge that organizations have developed in-house can be seamlessly transferred to a container hosting environment. IT administrators can rest assured knowing that administration of a container host is no different than administration of another Red Hat Enterprise Linux system. On the other side of things, once a container environment has been setup, application developers can focus more on doing what they do best -- developing applications. They will no longer have to worry about how their application’s dependencies will negatively impact other services on a given system. And, if these containers are based on official Red Hat Enterprise Linux base images, the IT administrators can be confident that they are enterprise class.

The Bottom Line

Leveraging your existing investment(s), naturally advancing in your journey towards the Open Hybrid Cloud, and knowing that both your systems administrators and application developers will feel at home - in my mind, these are the top three reasons why customers could and should choose Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 as their container host platform.

That said, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 isn't the only option... Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host is an equally good choice for customers who are seeking a minimal footprint operating system designed (from the ground up) to host container-based applications.

Thoughts / questions / comments? What other great reasons would influence you to choose Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 for your container-based application infrastructure? Let me know what you think in the comments section (below).

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