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Enterprises have always used multiple generations of technology simultaneously. Enterprise applications need to be deployed into both VMs and containers, and enterprises need a converged platform to support both. So the question IT people have to answer is, "How can we manage existing applications running on virtual machines and new applications running on containers together in an unified platform?" 

That is the mission of the open source project, KubeVirt. Downstream of that, Red Hat introduced OpenShift Virtualization (a.k.a. Container Native Virtualization) within the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, a Kubernetes based platform. 

The Background

Modern application development and deployment are growing at rapid pace; infrastructure shouldn’t get in the way. The IT industry has been shifting from traditional infrastructure (like datacenters) to cloud-based infrastructure (such as private and public clouds) to meet this requirement. This cloud-based infrastructure is highly scalable, available and easily-manageable. Most of these clouds have been virtual machine (VM) based, but are now evolving to support containers.

Enterprises run a combination of VMs and containers for their applications. Even though some enterprises want to containerize all their applications, the reality is that any number of existing applications can not be containerized for various reasons. 

Some traditional applications will never be effectively containerized as the technology to do so is unavailable. Others remain tightly coupled with traditional VM resources. The effort required to migrate these applications from VMs to containers could take years of work from development and operations teams and in a number of cases is too great to overcome. Some applications can be easily migrated from VMs to containers through the lift-and-shift approach with minimal changes. 

Virtual machines and containers on one unified platform

One of OpenShift Virtualization’s goals is to help enterprises make the transition from VM-based infrastructure to a container and Kubernetes-based platform. At the same time, many of these VM-based applications require a significant amount of VM-native configuration to function. OpenShift Virtualization lets you develop, deploy, and manage VMs and containers on a single, container-based platform as if they were just a standard Kubernetes object. 

Containers2-Blog-thumbnail_0.pngOpenShift Virtualization allows you to run and manage VM workloads alongside container workloads. It is a feature of Red Hat OpenShift that lets developers bring conventional virtual machines into Kubenetes workflows on the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. OpenShift Virtualization is ideal for enterprises that are shifting to cloud-native application development and have a large commitment in conventional VM technology. It supports the development of containerized applications by bringing virtualized application dependencies into the rich development environment of Red Hat OpenShift. 

Virtualization’s role in next-generation infrastructure

Even though there are many changes happening to IT infrastructure in the cloud epoch, virtualization is still the foundation of IT infrastructure and has been evolving with container technologies. Virtualization is realizing the demand for new roles in next generation infrastructure, supporting modern container-based applications in clouds while maintaining traditional applications in conventional VM infrastructure.

OpenShift Virtualization allows virtualized workloads to be directly developed, deployed, and managed within OpenShift Container Platform. OpenShift Virtualization uses the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) KVM hypervisor technology deployed using containers, which allows Kubernetes to deploy and manage VMs locally. 

It will be the common component across traditional and cloud stacks for the next generation. Red Hat's KVM-based virtualization in the Kubernetes platform will combine virtualized workloads with container workloads on the unified platform and make it easier to gradually refactor monolithic, virtualized applications into containers.

Red Hat has a history of supporting enterprises with Linux and other open source software, and we’re ready to help you bring container virtualization to your enterprise as well. If you want to stay on top of virtualization, check out OpenShift Virtualization to learn how to get started.


About the author

As a Chief Architect, Chung Kim provides technical and program delivery thought leadership for his customers. Much of his work focuses on providing experience in strategy, architecture, development and management of open enterprise services for digital transformation and hybrid cloud solutions.