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OpenShift Container Platform

Understanding Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

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What Is Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform?

Red Hat OpenShift is an open-source container orchestration platform for enterprises. It includes several container technologies, primarily the OpenShift container orchestration software, which is based on the OKD open-source project (formerly OpenShift Origin). Red Hat OpenShift combines Kubernetes components with security features and productivity necessary for large enterprises and is especially useful in hybrid cloud scenarios.

OpenShift Container Platform is a private platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for enterprises that run OpenShift on public cloud or on-premises infrastructure. It runs on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system and functions as a set of Docker-based application containers managed with Kubernetes orchestration.

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In this article, you will learn:

OpenShift Container Platform: 13 Key Capabilities

OpenShift Container Platform provides features and capabilities including:

  1. Management of multiple clusters—provides a consolidated view of clusters to enable unified management across on-premises and cloud deployments.
  2. Scalability—you can quickly scale your applications to thousands of instances across hundreds of nodes.
  3. Persistent storage—you can leverage persistent storage to run stateful applications, or classical cloud-native stateless applications. Read our guide to Kubernetes persistent storage.
  4. Integrated ecosystem—OpenShift has an extensive ecosystem of third-party tools created and integrated by its community.
  5. Open-source support—OpenShift provides Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)-supported Kubernetes, along with other open-source technologies such as the Open Containers Initiative (OCI).
  6. Portability—the OCI standard ensures that containers are easily portable between a developer workstation and a production environment.
  7. 3-node clusters—edge architectures that contain worker and supervisor nodes are highly available and have a smaller footprint, allowing you to leverage the full capabilities of Kubernetes on edge devices.
  8. Remote worker nodes—these can be managed by a centralized supervisor node, allowing access to remote edge locations with physically restricted environments and power or cooling limitations.
  9. Convenient user interfaces—UIs allow you to directly access a large number of command-line tools, a multi-device console, and more.
  10. Support for multiple languages—you can use multiple languages and databases on a single platform.
  11. Development lifecycle automation—you can set up automation for application builds, container deployments, scaling and so on.
  12. Automatic installations and upgrades—you can set up automatic installation and upgrades for services in the cloud or on-premises, from the OperatorHub. This is supported by cloud providers such as Azure, AWS, Google Cloud Platform and IBM Cloud, as well as on-premises bare metal servers and virtualization systems.
  13. Integrated CI/CD pipelines—automated testing and continuous integration software help reduce the manual burden of development and deployment.

OpenShift Container Platform Architecture

OpenShift is a Docker-based system intended to help developers easily construct applications. It is a layered system that abstracts the creation of Linux-based container images. Cluster management and orchestration of containers on multiple hosts is handled by Kubernetes.

OpenShift Container Platform offers additional benefits, such as management of source code, images and applications. It provides networking infrastructure to support clusters and allows large organizations to track users and teams.

Picture1-Jul-08-2021-01-45-23-91-PMImage Source: OpenShift

The OpenShift Container Platform is composed of microservices—some of these are REST APIs, which provide access to core objects, and controllers, which perform changes to containerized workloads and report on status. These microservices run in Kubernetes cluster and store object data in etcd.

Calls to the REST API can change the state of the system. Controllers read the desired state sent to the REST API, and then apply changes to the object accordingly. For instance, a user creates a "build" object, and the build controller sees the request and executes it. When the build is completed, the controller updates the status of the object through the REST API.

This pattern allows you to extend much of the functionality in OpenShift Container Platform, and you can customize how builds are run independently of how images are managed. Customizing the controllers enables different behaviors based on the logic you set.

You can use the API to script common administrative actions, which are controllers that monitor the state or execute changes. It is also possible to leverage containers to perform system changes based on an event stream of user activity, dynamically adjusting workloads to actual loads and requirements.

OpenShift vs Kubernetes

Both Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes are popular platforms for running containerized applications. As we described above, OpenShift is, at its core, based on Kubernetes, but adds additional capabilities on top of basic Kubernetes features.


Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform, with several vendors providing managed services based on the platform, including Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Azure Kubernetes Service, Google Kubernetes Engine and Rancher. OpenShift is based on Kubernetes but is not considered a Kubernetes distribution—it is distinct from other Kubernetes distributions as it offers extensions and add-ons.

Workflow and configuration

OpenShift uses Kubernetes as its foundation, so it shares the same core principles. To deploy containerized applications across server clusters, the user writes configuration files that define how the applications should deploy. Both Kubernetes and OpenShift support the YAML and JSON configuration languages and offer load-balancing and routing capabilities. You can run either platform on-premises or in the public cloud.

APIs and integrations

OpenShift’s compliance with Kubernetes APIs means that applications that can be deployed on Kubernetes can be deployed on OpenShift. The main difference between OpenShift and Kubernetes is that OpenShift supports different tools and extensions.

Command line tools

Kubernetes distributions typically use kubectl as the primary command-line tool for managing clusters. The OpenShift command line is oc and is similar to kubectl but offers additional features to simplify complex administrative tasks.

Logging and dashboards

Kubernetes is compatible with a variety of logging tools, so users can choose how they manage logging. In OpenShift, log management depends on EFK (Elasticsearch, Fluentd and Kibana). Kubernetes offers a dashboard as an add-on, which is not a core part of Kubernetes. OpenShift has a web management console built in.

Operating system support

Kubernetes nodes can run on any Linux OS (and worker nodes can also run on Windows), while OpenShift nodes require Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS.

Related content: read our guide: introduction to kubernetes

OpenShift Storage Optimization with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP capacity can scale into the petabytes, and it supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports Kubernetes Persistent Volume provisioning and management requirements of containerized workloads.

Learn more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps to address the challenges of containerized applications in these Kubernetes Workloads with Cloud Volumes ONTAP Case Studies.

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Learn More About OpenShift Container Platform

OpenShift Deployment with Cloud Volumes ONTAP Using Ansible

OpenShift deployment and Ansible are helping engineers deploy faster than ever. They both empower DevOps engineers not only to automate the deployment of Kubernetes clusters in on-premises, hybrid, and multi cloud environments, but also all the other services in their end-to-end environments. Using Ansible, Cloud Volumes ONTAP automation can simplify OpenShift deployment.

Read more: OpenShift Deployment with Cloud Volumes ONTAP Using Ansible

Red Hat OpenShift on AWS and Azure: Hybrid Cloud Made Easy

Just before the start of AWS Re:Invent 2020, the industry was abuzz with word that Red Hat and AWS were joining forces to produce a new OpenShift service targeted for AWS users: Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS, or AWS ROSA for short. This new service is built to integrate AWS with OpenShift’s hybrid cloud management capabilities to extend on-premises workloads to the cloud, AWS in particular.

But this isn’t the first service of its like for the public cloud. AWS ROSA is very similar to the competing service on Azure, Azure Red Hat OpenShift. What do both of these services offer hybrid cloud users in terms of features, benefits, and challenges? In this post we take a look at both OpenShift services on AWS and Azure and how they are making hybrid cloud management easier.

Read more: Red Hat OpenShift on AWS and Azure: Hybrid Cloud Made Easy

5 Red Hat OpenShift Benefits You Didn’t Know About

With the rise of hybrid and multicloud deployments, Red Hat OpenShift has become a key technology to orchestrate complex, enterprise-level architectures. But there’s more to this technology than just being an alternative to native Kubernetes. What don’t you know about using OpenShift?

This blog looks at five major OpenShift benefits that you may not have heard about before. Find out what they are, and how they can help your deployment.

Read more: 5 Red Hat OpenShift Benefits You Didn’t Know About

OpenShift Persistent Storage with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Red Hat OpenShift provides users with an open-source Kubernetes environment that is developer focused to drive application development at the enterprise scale. But the storage element managed through Gluster can increase the complexity. Cloud Volumes ONTAP offers a solution.

This article shows how Cloud Volumes ONTAP removes the complexity around provisioning storage for OpenShift Kubernetes clusters, removing the need for users to manage complex solutions for storage, such as Gluster. A full instructional walkthrough shows you how to do it.

Read more in OpenShift Persistent Storage with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

Red Hat OpenShift Architecture: 8 Core Concepts

The OpenShift Container Platform is designed as a microservices-based architecture, running on a Kubernetes cluster. Discover core concepts of the Red Hat OpenShift Architecture, including services, builds and image streams, and learn about OpenShift layers and components.

Read more: Red Hat OpenShift Architecture: 8 Core Concepts

OpenShift Container Storage: An In-Depth Look

Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage (renamed OpenShift Data Foundation) is a software-defined persistent storage solution, integrated with and optimized for OpenShift Container Platform, which manages persistent and ephemeral Kubernetes storage at large scale.

Read more: OpenShift Container Storage: An In-Depth Look

Docker vs OpenShift or Docker Swarm vs OpenShift?

Docker is an open-source platform for building, deploying and managing application containers. Red Hat OpenShift is an open-source platform for developing, deploying and managing containerized applications. Docker vs OpenShift is not a fair comparison - understand the differences and see how Docker Swarm, Docker’s container orchestrator, compares to OpenShift.

Read more: Docker vs OpenShift or Docker Swarm vs OpenShift?

Kubernetes vs OpenShift: 10 Key Differences

Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform. OpenShift offers a set of containerization solutions designed by Red Hat, which is based on Kubernetes. Learn about key differences between Kubernetes and OpenShift, including ease of installation, user interface, security, templates, and networking.

Read more: Kubernetes vs OpenShift: 10 Key Differences

How to Solve DevOps and Kubernetes Storage Challenges Using Cloud Volumes ONTAP: A Case Study

How does one of the largest banks in Europe tackle the demands of its highly DevOps-centric approach with containerized workloads running on OpenShift and integrated with Ansible, Terraform, and Kafka? With the help of Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

In this blog we take a look at the case study of this institution and how it is using Cloud Volumes ONTAP in an innovative architecture that requires capabilities for Kubernetes, IaC, hybrid and multicloud usage.

Read more in How to Solve DevOps and Kubernetes Storage Challenges Using Cloud Volumes

See Additional Guides on Key Open Source Topics

Together with our content partners, we have authored in-depth guides on several other topics that can also be useful as you explore the world of open source.


Authored by Granulate

Apache Spark

Authored by Granulate

Kubernetes Architecture

Authored by Run.AI

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager