Red Hat Bolsters Support for Containers

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Top Trends Driving the Data Center in 2015

As part of an effort to make its distribution of Linux a preferred platform for deploying containers, Red Hat today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 Atomic Host.

In addition, Red Hat announced today the general availability of RHEL 7.1, an update to its core operating system that adds support for the open source Kubernetes orchestration software project being led by Google.

Other new features include support for the Common Internet File System (CIFS) to provide native access to Microsoft Windows file and print services, enhanced security, the ability to manage volume groups and thinly provisioned volumes and the ability to communicate with storage systems running open source Ceph storage.

Lars Herrmann, senior director of product strategy for Red Hat, says the Atomic Host edition of RHEL is specifically designed to enable multiple containers to be used to support a distributed application by leveraging the communications construct provided by the underlying operating system. While RHEL Atomic Host is only one option for deploying containers, Herrmann says organizations that have committed to either Linux or Docker containers can more easily stitch them together to securely deliver micro-services that are also more easily composed. For example, RHEL 7 Atomic Host enables more granular updating and rolling back of containers, says Herrmann.

Data Center

Red Hat isn’t the only provider of a Linux distribution that supports containers, but it does have one of the broader lineups of platforms that can be used to deploy them. In fact, there’s a fair amount of debate over whether to deploy containers on physical servers, virtual machines or on a platform-as-a-service environment. Herrmann says that in time, organizations will probably use all three approaches, which is why Red Hat provides support for managing all those platforms within its CloudForms management software across hybrid cloud computing environments.

Because containers provide a more application-centric approach to virtualization and consume fewer IT infrastructure resources, container adoption has been growing fairly rapidly. While most of the applications that make use of containers have yet to make it into production, it’s now only a matter of time before IT operations teams are going to figure out how best to support and enable them.