Red Hat announced the latest version of  its Kubernetes platform, OpenShift, this week along with the news that the service will for the first time be integrated with a public cloud, in this case Microsoft’s Azure.

Both companies said making the seperate Azure version of OpenShift, named Azure Red Hat OpenShift, is a significant step in hybrid cloud computing, allowing enterprises to shift on premise OpenShift container platforms to the public cloud and vice versa with Kubernetes as the “common bridge”.

The idea is to allow enterprises to tap the power and scale of Azure when needed while maintaining existing on-premises investments. The solution is a response to customers’ requests for more application and workload portability, according to the CEOs of both Red Hat and Microsoft.

During Red Hat’s annual conference in Boston last week where the partnership was announced, both chiefs acknowledged that such a partnership would have been unlikely in the past because of a traditionally adversarial relationship – Red Hat pushes open source software while much of Microsoft’s success is on the back of proprietary software development.

In 2001 then Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer famously called the most well known piece of open source software, Linux, a “cancer”.

But customer demand for flexibility and portability has forced both companies to bury the hatchet. Nadella even left his own conference, Microsoft Build, to fly across the country for the announcement.

“We have to be a bit humbler and say, ‘Okay, how do we bring value to the table with great technologies coming from a lot of places’,” Nadella said on stage with Red Hat CEO Jim Wh.

“It’s driven by what I believe is fundamentally what our customers expected for us to do.”

Microsoft now embraces open source, Nadella said, “because it’s driven by what I believe is fundamentally what our customers expect for us to do”.


OpenShift 4 and Azure Red Hat OpenShift

OpenShift 4 is Red Hat’s latest enterprise Kubernetes platform used by more than 1,00 enterprise customers including ANZ bank, Cathay Pacific and BP. According to the Red Hat it has been redesigned for the hybrid cloud environment, what Red Hat sees as the future for enterprises.

The latest version is billed as one that will allow full stack automation and easier deployment. Red Hat says it will be available in the next month.

Azure Red Hat OpenShift, meanwhile, is generally available now via Microsoft Azure. The cloud version was developed by both companies and management will also be shared.

“Hybrid cloud provides a clear vision into the future of enterprise computing, where public cloud services stand alongside virtualisation, Linux containers and bare-metal servers,” said Paul Cormier, president, products and technologies, Red Hat

“Together, this forms the new datacentre in the hybrid cloud world. Azure Red Hat OpenShift provides a consistent Kubernetes foundation for enterprises to realise the benefits of this hybrid cloud model. This enables IT leaders to innovate with a platform that offers a common fabric for both app developers and operations.”

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