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What’s new with Red Hat OpenShift 4.7 on IBM Z / LinuxONE and IBM Power

By Adam Jollans posted Wed February 24, 2021 09:35 AM


By Kavita Sehgal (Program Director, Hybrid Cloud on IBM Z & LinuxONE), Srinath Kanukolanu (Offering Manager, IBM Z Cloud Paks), Misha Rangel (Senior Manager, IBM Power Systems Marketing), and Iliana Garcia (Product Marketing Manager, IBM Storage Solutions).

The race is on for organizations to develop, deploy, and manage applications faster and more effectively throughout their lifecycle.

This is so businesses can innovate with agility to respond to the latest business opportunities and threats, create better experiences for their customers to build loyalty and attract new users, and fuel business growth by differentiating themselves in the marketplace.

At the head of this race is a group of new technologies including containers, Kubernetes orchestration, and microservices to modernize and refactor monolithic applications into simpler components which are easier to develop and enhance.

Red Hat OpenShift brings all these pieces together into the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform, combined with ease of configuration and use – enabling IT organizations to develop applications faster, deploy them reliably, and manage them efficiently.

With the availability of Red Hat OpenShift on IBM IT Infrastructure, organizations can take advantage of the underlying security, scalability and reliability of IBM’s enterprise servers to meet the most demanding customer requirements – while using the same development platform and tools. OpenShift runs both on-premise and off-premise on private clouds and multiple public clouds as part of the hybrid cloud, with build-once and deploy anywhere business value.

Many businesses are finding that co-location of OpenShift on the same system as their core data can lead to significant performance improvements, due to reduced latency.


Infrastructure and installation

Since last November, OpenShift releases for IBM Z, LinuxONE and IBM Power have become generally available at the same time as for other platforms, improving consistency across the hybrid cloud. This continues with OpenShift 4.7, available for multiple architectures on February 24.

OpenShift 4.7 includes the latest release of Kubernetes – 1.20 – with core platform enhancements to the scheduler and improvements to workload stability. You can read more about what’s new in OpenShift 4.7 in this blog by Red Hat.

KVM is now an alternative virtualization choice on Z and LinuxONE for OpenShift users, alongside the traditional z/VM hypervisor. This is particularly useful for users who can reuse their KVM skills, either when consolidating onto IBM Z or LinuxONE from an x86 based infrastructure or when modernizing co-located applications.

Running user provisioned infrastructure (UPI) installs of OpenShift using KVM via libvirt on IBM Z is now supported. In addition the platform-agnostic installer can be used to leverage environments provisioned using IBM Cloud Infrastructure Center, which provides the IaaS layer on IBM Z and LinuxONE along with industry standard APIs. The latest release of IBM Cloud Infrastructure Center delivers fast provisioning of the virtual infrastructure which can then be consumed by Red Hat OpenShift.

In addition, recognizing that OpenShift is a critical part in helping organizations build an agile hybrid cloud, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is now available on IBM Power Virtual Server leveraging OpenShift’s platform-agnostic installer. The IBM Power Virtual Server is an enterprise Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering built around IBM POWER9 and offering low-latency access to 200+ IBM Cloud services. Since it launched in mid-2019, the service has expanded into ten datacenters around the globe with more than 100 clients currently leveraging virtualized IBM POWER9-based systems.


Application development and modernization

Perhaps the biggest enhancements for OpenShift on IBM Z, LinuxONE and Power are in the areas of application development and modernization.

Red Hat Runtimes – providing a set of frameworks, runtimes and programming languages – are now available on IBM Power, as well as on IBM Z and LinuxONE (where they are now separately packaged, having previously been delivered as part of IBM Cloud Pak for Applications).

WebSphere Hybrid Edition is also available for OpenShift on IBM Z and LinuxONE – aimed at customers who are looking to modernize their enterprise Java applications. (WebSphere Hybrid Edition was also previously delivered as part of IBM Cloud Pak for Applications).

Several additional Red Hat products are included with an OpenShift Container Platform subscription and have recently been enabled for IBM Z and LinuxONE. These include:

  • Red Hat Service Mesh (built on Istio) helps simplify, connect and manage distributed containerized applications built on microservices.
  • Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces provides a collaborative cloud-native development foundation for OpenShift. CodeReady Workspaces helps accelerate application development and includes an in-browser IDE.
  • Red Hat OpenShift Do (odo) is a command line interface that helps developers using OpenShift and Kubernetes, designed to simplify and accelerate application development.

In addition, Red Hat Pipelines (built on Tekton) is available as a technical preview on IBM Z and LinuxONE. Pipelines provides container-native automated Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) for applications.

Many of the IBM Cloud Paks, providing containerized IBM and open source middleware for OpenShift, are also available on IBM Z, LinuxONE and Power. This includes IBM Cloud Pak for Integration, IBM Cloud Pak for Data, and IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management.


Persistent Storage

Turning to persistent storage for OpenShift, more options are appearing on IBM Z and LinuxONE to enable stateful containerized applications to store and retrieve data efficiently.

IBM Spectrum Scale with container native storage access was released for IBM Z and LinuxONE last December, providing an enterprise-grade high-performance parallel file system and highly scalable storage with hybrid cloud data services.

And also available as a technical preview on IBM Z and LinuxONE, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage offers container-native software-defined storage on IBM, built on open source technologies such as Ceph and Rook.


From Proof of Concept to Production

We are working closely with many IBM Z, LinuxONE and Power customers to help them evaluate Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and move into production.

Here’s what a major AP bank recently said – “To provide the best customer experience, we need flexibility and portability in developing and deploying applications, as well as stability for our customer facing systems. Following a successful Proof-of-Concept, we are going to deploy Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z for our production systems.”

We believe that IBM IT Infrastructure together with Red Hat empowers enterprises to innovate at scale and with security in the hybrid cloud. With Red Hat OpenShift and IBM Cloud Paks available across IBM Z, LinuxONE, Power and IBM Storage, businesses can now choose where best to deploy applications in the hybrid cloud.