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Alongside this week’s product announcements at Red Hat Summit 2019, Red Hat delivers yet another major milestone in building an open hybrid cloud ecosystem with new certification offerings, a new approach to RHEL-based container images, better tools for Red Hat and partners to support customers as well as addressing the need for application portability.
Red Hat’s vision of an open hybrid cloud is: any application, in any environment, on any cloud, portable and operated consistently - from public and private clouds to bare metal and virtual environments in traditional datacenters, the extended datacenter (edge) and end-user devices.
Delivering application portability for development and operations across a diverse set of environments, without vendor lock-in, requires ubiquitous open source technologies as well as commercial offerings based on these technologies. Open source technologies can provide layers of abstraction and offer an ecosystem worth investing in for customers and vendors alike. These technologies have a pathway to commercial offerings as stand-alone products or as solutions which help solve customer needs.
Standardizing with open source
Standardizing on products which use these open source technologies can help protect customers by offering an exit strategy, be it a competing vendor, or an upstream project.
Applications written and optimized to run on Linux take advantage of the vast hardware and virtualization support, cloud integration, ubiquitous availability, the Linux security model, and innovation offered by the broader open source community.
Architecting and packaging these applications in Linux container images simplifies deployment across development, test and production environments. The portability offered by container images enables a high degree of automation for the software development and delivery lifecycle, as well as strong security capabilities on compatible deployment platforms.
Kubernetes has evolved as the leading general-purpose container orchestration platform, enabling efficient and dynamic operation of containerized applications on multi-tenant, shared clusters of Linux hosts.
Kubernetes Operators enable the automated delivery, provisioning and lifecycle management of multi-container applications, integrating with Kubernetes natively and making use of the flexibility of container image distribution and deployment.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and Red Hat OpenShift 4 deliver these technologies in Red Hat’s flagship platform products for enterprise computing, with significant improvements in enterprise agility, efficiency and security tooling.
The importance of platforms
At Red Hat, we believe that platforms are only as useful as what developers and users can achieve with them - and specifically what applications can run on them. In addition to robust technology integration inside the platform itself, elements like long-term stability, prescriptive technical integration interfaces and commercial offerings for partners and customers are key ingredients for a successful ecosystem and for creating a healthy network effect designed to benefit ecosystem participants.
Red Hat Partner Connect, our technology partner program, provides certification offerings for software, hardware, services and cloud service providers that develop products and services for Red Hat hybrid cloud platforms to enable the enterprise stability, improved security and efficiency our customers need. Members of the program get access to Red Hat’s technical, business and enterprise expertise to learn, build, certify and support their products.
Enterprise customers can look to their vendors and Red Hat to deliver interoperable, more secure and jointly supported solutions, aligned throughout the lifecycle of a deployment. Any application certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenStack Platform or Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform can run consistently and are supported where these platforms are supported by Red Hat.
The success of the program and the linking of product certifications to Red Hat’s enterprise platform products speaks for itself: According to IDC’s white paper “The Economic Impact of Red Hat Enterprise Linux” (sponsored by Red Hat), for every dollar of revenue made by Red Hat in 2019, its ecosystem will make $21.74. And that ecosystem is expected to grow by 11% a year through 2023.
Red Hat’s certification offerings have supported the adoption of innovative technologies from Linux to OpenStack to containers, creating the largest, commercially supportable open source ecosystem for these hybrid cloud technologies. Red Hat has thousands of applications certified for use with RHEL, more than a hundred partner solutions integrating with Red Hat OpenStack Platform and more than 100 vendors with Red Hat certified container applications.
As the industry adopts DevOps, cloud and microservices, certification of third-party products has to adapt and embrace the ideas driving these trends: more rapid, incremental change and delivery of value, powered by automation and agile methods. Red Hat has developed certification services to align with our partners in an always-on, CI/CD orientation including alert systems, cloud-based tooling, re-build services and registry and publication services. These elements help to provide customer greater assurance that these modern applications are supported via the certification relationship with our ecosystem partners.
Red Hat Container Certification, introduced at Red Hat Summit 2017, was Red Hat’s first continuous certification offering, delivering a continuous, automated end-to-end solution for partners and detailed insight for customers on what software is included in container images. Red Hat Container Certification integrates the continuous lifecycle alignment and security response, interoperability and supportability validation with product discovery and distribution capabilities, using automated services in Red Hat’s container factory.
New tools for success
Building on these proven offerings and the innovation delivered with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and Red Hat OpenShift 4, the Red Hat Partner Connect team announces new certification offerings for technology partners, designed to accelerate adoption and to increase the hybrid cloud value for our mutual customers.
Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification enables commercial applications and cloud services from vendors to become certified on Red Hat OpenShift, integrating with its cloud platform features, lifecycle automation and automated application operations. Building on Red Hat Container Certification, the new offering enables partners to validate interoperability with OpenShift and to automate software maintenance on an ongoing basis and enables customers to discover, consume and operate certified applications on OpenShift wherever it runs.
Announced by Red Hat in May 2018, the Operator Framework provides the technical building blocks for applications to run as containerized cloud services orchestrated by Kubernetes. Red Hat and the community launched OperatorHub.io in February of this year. OperatorHub.io is a community repository of curated Operator applications for use on any compatible Kubernetes platform. With the OpenShift Operator Certification, partners can now look to Red Hat to manage updates for OpenShift releases, security vulnerability response and automated rebuilding of container images, to offer their products with joint, commercial support on Red Hat OpenShift.
The Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI) delivers portability for container applications by enabling partners, communities and customers to create, distribute and maintain more secure container images powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Containers are Linux, as attested by the Linux userspace components required in every container image to satisfy application dependencies. Container images built with UBI incorporate the stability, security maintenance and insight offered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux, while being freely distributable to many deployment platforms or end users without commercial restrictions.
In order to meet enterprise requirements, such as certification and support, UBI-based container images can be certified with Red Hat Container Certification. Once certified, they are fully supported by Red Hat on Red Hat container platforms, such as Red Hat OpenShift, per the terms of the certification offering.
UBI is generally available from Red Hat’s Container Catalog now. UBI is being used with Red Hat OpenShift 4, and more than 50 partners are working to integrate UBI with their products.
New Red Hat Enterprise Linux application certification, available in an Early Adopter Program now, seeks to improve deployment of certified applications on RHEL, and supportability by the application provider and Red Hat. The new certification process integrates certified partner products with the Intelligent OS features of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, certifies best practices and facilitates application profiling, to speed up troubleshooting and resolution of support incidents.
Collaborative Support Case Management. Red Hat invites select partners to collaborate in an Early Adopter Program on a new feature that enables partners to collaborate with Red Hat engineers on customer support cases. Partners working in concert with Red Hat engineers will be able to maintain an open dialogue when working to solve a technical support case via the Red Hat Customer Portal.
With these new offerings, Red Hat Partner Connect delivers a complete solution for technology companies to ready their applications for the open hybrid cloud, with stronger alignment to Red Hat’s platform value of customer choice, open source innovation, stability and support. Applications can be certified for the four footprints, from bare-metal to virtualization or containers in private and public, and deliver the appropriate technology integration to meet the desired application outcomes, from traditional enterprise applications to cloud-native, containerized applications and hybrid cloud services.
Over the last six months, Red Hat invited a diverse set of partners to collaborate in an Early Adopter Program, to help define the tools, process and value proposition needed to create a world-class certified ecosystem for hybrid cloud customers. As a result, 55 applications from 55 vendors have passed testing and validation on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and are slated to be certified within the coming weeks. We have more than 40 Operators available in Red Hat OpenShift's embedded OperatorHub catalog. Of those, 21 are Red Hat OpenShift Certified Operators and we expect more in the coming weeks following Red Hat Summit.
Red Hat invites vendors to take advantage of Red Hat Partner Connect and its hybrid cloud features. Join the program, learn about the business opportunities and technologies enabling your business to run on Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud offerings, designed to maximize customer choice without vendor lock-in. Engage with us to select the Red Hat offerings best for your business, enabling certification for products intended to “land” on a Red Hat platform, or integrating with Red Hat technologies in a joint solution or embedding Red Hat products. All Red Hat’s certified partner offerings are designed to enable customer choice and success for both partners and customers.
For Red Hat customers, discover what Red Hat’s hybrid cloud ecosystem has to offer, learn how Red Hat collaborates with its technology communities and partners to deliver interoperable, more secure and supported solutions. Let us know if you would like to see Red Hat work with your vendor to enable a certified solution to support your business.
About the author
Lars Herrmann is always found at the forefront of technology. From the early days of Linux to today’s digital transformation built on hybrid cloud, containers and microservices, Lars has consistently helped enterprises leverage open source technologies to drive business results. At Red Hat, Lars leads Red Hat Partner Connect, Red Hat's technology partner program.