Jul
31
2018
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The Istio service mesh hits version 1.0

Istio, the service mesh for microservices from Google, IBM, Lyft, Red Hat and many other players in the open-source community, launched version 1.0 of its tools today.

If you’re not into service meshes, that’s understandable. Few people are. But Istio is probably one of the most important new open-source projects out there right now. It sits at the intersection of a number of industry trends, like containers, microservices and serverless computing, and makes it easier for enterprises to embrace them. Istio now has more than 200 contributors and the code has seen more than 4,000 check-ins since the launch of  version 0.1.

Istio, at its core, handles the routing, load balancing, flow control and security needs of microservices. It sits on top of existing distributed applications and basically helps them talk to each other securely, while also providing logging, telemetry and the necessary policies that keep things under control (and secure). It also features support for canary releases, which allow developers to test updates with a few users before launching them to a wider audience, something that Google and other webscale companies have long done internally.

“In the area of microservices, things are moving so quickly,” Google product manager Jennifer Lin told me. “And with the success of Kubernetes and the abstraction around container orchestration, Istio was formed as an open-source project to really take the next step in terms of a substrate for microservice development as well as a path for VM-based workloads to move into more of a service management layer. So it’s really focused around the right level of abstractions for services and creating a consistent environment for managing that.”

Even before the 1.0 release, a number of companies already adopted Istio in production, including the likes of eBay and Auto Trader UK. Lin argues that this is a sign that Istio solves a problem that a lot of businesses are facing today as they adopt microservices. “A number of more sophisticated customers tried to build their own service management layer and while we hadn’t yet declared 1.0, we hard a number of customers — including a surprising number of large enterprise customer — say, ‘you know, even though you’re not 1.0, I’m very comfortable putting this in production because what I’m comparing it to is much more raw.’”

IBM Fellow and VP of Cloud Jason McGee agrees with this and notes that “our mission since Istio’s launch has been to enable everyone to succeed with microservices, especially in the enterprise. This is why we’ve focused the community around improving security and scale, and heavily leaned our contributions on what we’ve learned from building agile cloud architectures for companies of all sizes.”

A lot of the large cloud players now support Istio directly, too. IBM supports it on top of its Kubernetes Service, for example, and Google even announced a managed Istio service for its Google Cloud users, as well as some additional open-source tooling for serverless applications built on top of Kubernetes and Istio.

Two names missing from today’s party are Microsoft and Amazon. I think that’ll change over time, though, assuming the project keeps its momentum.

Istio also isn’t part of any major open-source foundation yet. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the home of Kubernetes, is backing linkerd, a project that isn’t all that dissimilar from Istio. Once a 1.0 release of these kinds of projects rolls around, the maintainers often start looking for a foundation that can shepherd the development of the project over time. I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before we hear more about where Istio will land.

May
08
2018
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Microsoft and Red Hat now offer a jointly managed OpenShift service on Azure

Microsoft and Red Hat are deepening their existing alliance around cloud computing. The two companies will now offer a managed version of OpenShift, Red Hat’s container application platform, on Microsoft Azure. This service will be jointly developed and managed by Microsoft and Red Hat and will be integrated into the overall Azure experience.

Red Hat OpenShift on Azure is meant to make it easier for enterprises to create hybrid container solutions that can span their on-premise networks and the cloud. That’ll give these companies the flexibility to move workloads around as needed and will give those companies that have bet on OpenShift the option to move their workloads close to the rest of Azure’s managed services like Cosmos DB or Microsoft’s suite of machine learning tools.

Microsoft’s Brendan Burns, one of the co-creators of Kubernetes, told me that the companies decided that this shouldn’t just be a service that runs on top of Azure and consumes the Azure APIs. Instead, the companies made the decision to build a native integration of OpenShift into Azure — and specifically the Azure Portal. “This is a first in class fully enterprise-supported application platform for containers,” he said. “This is going to be an experience where enterprises can have all the experience and support they expect.”

Red Hat VP for business development and architecture Mike Ferris echoed this and added that his company is seeing a lot of demand for managed services around containers.

Apr
30
2018
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RedHat’s CoreOS launches a new toolkit for managing Kubernetes applications

CoreOS, the Linux distribution and container management startup Red Hat acquired for $250 million earlier this year, today announced the Operator Framework, a new open source toolkit for managing Kubernetes clusters.

CoreOS first talked about operators in 2016. The general idea here is to encode the best practices for deploying and managing container-based applications as code. “The way we like to think of this is that the operators are basically a picture of the best employee you have,” Red Hat OpenShift product manager Rob Szumski told me. Ideally, the Operator Framework frees up the operations team from doing all the grunt work of managing applications and allows them to focus on higher-level tasks. And at the same time, it also removes the error-prone humans from the process since the operator will always follow the company rulebook.

“To make the most of Kubernetes, you need a set of cohesive APIs to extend in order to service and manage your applications that run on Kubernetes,” CoreOS CTO Brandon Philips explains in today’s announcement. “We consider Operators to be the runtime that manages this type of application on Kubernetes.”

As Szumski told me, the CoreOS team developed many of these best practices in building and managing its own Tectonic container platform (and from the community that uses it). Once written, the operators watch over the Kubernetes cluster and can handle upgrades, for example, and when things go awry, the can react to failures within milliseconds.

The overall Operator Framework consists of three pieces: an SDK for building, testing and packaging the actual operator, the Operator Lifecycle Manager for deploying the operator to a Kubernetes cluster and managing them, and the Operator Metering tool for metering Kubernetes users for enterprises that need to do chargebacks or that want to charge their customers based on usage.

The metering tool doesn’t quite seem to fit into the overall goal here, but as Szumski told me, it’s something a lot of businesses have been looking for and CoreOS actually argues that this is a first for Kubernetes.

Today’s CoreOS/Red Hat announcement only marks the start of a week that’ll likely see numerous other Kubernetes-related announcements. That’s because the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is its KubeCon developer conference in the next few days and virtually every company in the container ecosystem will attend the event and have some kind of announcements.

Mar
31
2018
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Red Hat looks beyond Linux

The Red Hat Linux distribution is turning 25 years old this week. What started as one of the earliest Linux distributions is now the most successful open-source company, and its success was a catalyst for others to follow its model. Today’s open-source world is very different from those heady days in the mid-1990s when Linux looked to be challenging Microsoft’s dominance on the desktop, but Red Hat is still going strong.

To put all of this into perspective, I sat down with the company’s current CEO (and former Delta Air Lines COO) Jim Whitehurst to talk about the past, present and future of the company, and open-source software in general. Whitehurst took the Red Hat CEO position 10 years ago, so while he wasn’t there in the earliest days, he definitely witnessed the evolution of open source in the enterprise, which is now more widespread than every.

“Ten years ago, open source at the time was really focused on offering viable alternatives to traditional software,” he told me. “We were selling layers of technology to replace existing technology. […] At the time, it was open source showing that we can build open-source tech at lower cost. The value proposition was that it was cheaper.”

At the time, he argues, the market was about replacing Windows with Linux or IBM’s WebSphere with JBoss. And that defined Red Hat’s role in the ecosystem, too, which was less about technological information than about packaging. “For Red Hat, we started off taking these open-source projects and making them usable for traditional enterprises,” said Whitehurst.

Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat president and CEO (photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

About five or six ago, something changed, though. Large corporations, including Google and Facebook, started open sourcing their own projects because they didn’t look at some of the infrastructure technologies they opened up as competitive advantages. Instead, having them out in the open allowed them to profit from the ecosystems that formed around that. “The biggest part is it’s not just Google and Facebook finding religion,” said Whitehurst. “The social tech around open source made it easy to make projects happen. Companies got credit for that.”

He also noted that developers now look at their open-source contributions as part of their resumé. With an increasingly mobile workforce that regularly moves between jobs, companies that want to compete for talent are almost forced to open source at least some of the technologies that don’t give them a competitive advantage.

As the open-source ecosystem evolved, so did Red Hat. As enterprises started to understand the value of open source (and stopped being afraid of it), Red Hat shifted from simply talking to potential customers about savings to how open source can help them drive innovation. “We’ve gone from being commeditizers to being innovators. The tech we are driving is now driving net new innovation,” explained Whitehurst. “We are now not going in to talk about saving money but to help drive innovation inside a company.”

Over the last few years, that included making acquisitions to help drive this innovation. In 2015, Red Hat bought IT automation service Ansible, for example, and last month, the company closed its acquisition of CoreOS, one of the larger independent players in the Kubernetes container ecosystem — all while staying true to its open-source root.

There is only so much innovation you can do around a Linux distribution, though, and as a public company, Red Hat also had to look beyond that core business and build on it to better serve its customers. In part, that’s what drove the company to launch services like OpenShift, for example, a container platform that sits on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and — not unlike the original Linux distribution — integrates technologies like Docker and Kubernetes and makes them more easily usable inside an enterprise.

The reason for that? “I believe that containers will be the primary way that applications will be built, deployed and managed,” he told me, and argued that his company, especially after the CoreOS acquisition, is now a leader in both containers and Kubernetes. “When you think about the importance of containers to the future of IT, it’s a clear value for us and for our customers.”

The other major open-source project Red Hat is betting on is OpenStack . That may come as a bit of a surprise, given that popular opinion in the last year or so has shifted against the massive project that wants to give enterprises an open source on-premise alternative to AWS and other cloud providers. “There was a sense among big enterprise tech companies that OpenStack was going to be their savior from Amazon,” Whitehurst said. “But even OpenStack, flawlessly executed, put you where Amazon was five years ago. If you’re Cisco or HP or any of those big OEMs, you’ll say that OpenStack was a disappointment. But from our view as a software company, we are seeing good traction.”

Because OpenStack is especially popular among telcos, Whitehurst believes it will play a major role in the shift to 5G. “When we are talking to telcos, […] we are very confident that OpenStack will be the platform for 5G rollouts.”

With OpenShift and OpenStack, Red Hat believes that it has covered both the future of application development and the infrastructure on which those applications will run. Looking a bit further ahead, though, Whitehurst also noted that the company is starting to look at how it can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to make its own products smarter and more secure, but also at how it can use its technologies to enable edge computing. “Now that large enterprises are also contributing to open source, we have a virtually unlimited amount of material to bring our knowledge to,” he said.

 

Jan
30
2018
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Red Hat acquires CoreOS for $250 million in Kubernetes expansion

 Red Hat, a company best known for its enterprise Linux products, has been making a big play for Kubernetes and containerization in recent years with its OpenShift Kubernetes product. Today the company decided to expand on that by acquiring CoreOS, a container management startup, for $250 million. Read More

Oct
13
2017
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Red Hat continues steady march toward $5 billion revenue goal

 The last time I spoke to Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, he had set a pretty audacious goal for his company to achieve $5 billion in revenue. At the time, that seemed a bit far-fetched. But the company has continued to thrive and is on track to pass $3 billion in revenue some time in the next couple of quarters. Read More

Oct
12
2017
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Google, IBM and others launch an open-source API for keeping tabs on software supply chains

 Thanks to containers and microservices, the way we are building software is changing. But you probably still want to know who built a given container and what’s running in it. To get a handle on this, Google, IBM and others today announced Grafeas, a new joint open-source project that provides users with a standardized way for auditing and governing their software supply chain. Read More

Aug
09
2017
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Red Hat updates OpenShift container platform with new service catalog

 Red Hat issued its quarterly update to the OpenShift platform today, adding among other things, a Service Catalog that enables IT or third-party vendors to create connections to internal or external services. OpenShift is RedHat’s Platform as a Service, based on Kubernetes, the open source container management platform, which was originally developed by Google. It also supports Docker,… Read More

Jul
31
2017
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Platform End of Life (EOL) Announcement for RHEL 5 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

End of Life

End of LifeUpstream platform vendors have announced the general end of life (EOL) for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL 5) and its derivatives, as well as Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. With this announcement comes some implications to support for Percona software running on these operating systems.

RHEL 5 was EOL as of March 31st, 2017 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS was end of life as of April 28th, 2017. Pursuant to our end of life policies, we are announcing that these EOLs will go into effect for Percona software on August 1st, 2017. As of this date, we will no longer be producing new packages, binary builds, hotfixes, or bug fixes for Percona software on these platforms.

We generally align our platform end of life dates with those of the upstream platform vendor. The platform end of life dates are published in advance on our website under the page Supported Linux Platforms and Versions.

Per our policies, Percona will continue to provide operational support for your databases on EOLed platforms. However, we will be unable to provide any bug fixes, builds or OS-level assistance if you encounter an issue outside the database itself.

Each platform vendor has a supported migration or upgrade path to their next major release.  Please reach out to us if you need assistance in migrating your database to your vendor’s supported platform – Percona will be happy to assist you.

May
25
2017
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Red Hat to acquire Codenvy as part of its growing container strategy

 Red Hat, which has made its name as the enterprise Linux company, has been making clear in recent years that it sees the cloud and containerization as a significant part of its future. Today, it announced its intent to acquire San Francisco startup Codenvy to continue building on that strategy and give developers access to a cloud-based integrated development environment. The company did… Read More

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