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Microsoft Azure-Red Hat OpenShift Platform Finally Brought To Market

The Azure Red Hat OpenShift offering puts Red Hat step-in-step with IBM’s hybrid-based cloud strategy, according to Bradley Brodkin, founder and chief executive of HighVail Systems, a Toronto-based system integration company that’s partnered with Red Hat and Microsoft.

Red Hat today formally released its Azure Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes platform that it co-developed with technology giant Microsoft – one year after its planned introduction was disclosed.

The announcement of the enterprise-grade, open-source platform, which allows developers to run container-based applications on-premises and across Microsoft Azure, came at the annual Red Hat Summit in Boston. It’s the first jointly managed OpenShift offering for the public cloud.

“When we started offering OpenShift as a managed service, we were just doing that ourselves, and our plan was to do all three of the major public clouds,” said Joe Fernandes, Red Hat’s vice president of cloud platform products. “When it came time to do the work on Azure, we ended up getting approached by Microsoft to see if we could partner on that. We thought that was great, because both of us have an equal seat at the table.”

Red Hat, which is slated to be acquired by IBM later this year under a pending $34 billion deal, has OpenShift relationships with the other two top public cloud providers -- OpenShift Dedicated on Amazon Web Services and OpenShift on Google.

The Azure Red Hat OpenShift offering puts Red Hat step-in-step with IBM’s hybrid-based cloud strategy, according to Bradley Brodkin, founder and chief executive of HighVail Systems, a Toronto-based system integration company that’s partnered with Red Hat and Microsoft.

“Clearly with the upcoming acquisition by IBM, Red Hat needs to ensure that their offerings really line up with what IBM has today, which is very much hybrid-based -- agnostic, so to speak -- with their ICP (IBM Cloud Private),” Brodkin said.

“From a partner perspective, it opens up things toward the Microsoft Azure partners,” Brodkin said. “From a customer perspective, it provides the customer with validation from both sides. ‘I'm running Red Hat, but I'm running it within Azure. Both of them are providing me with the support that I need that’s going to potentially make it more stable and more scalable for me.’”

However, Brodkin noted, for partners, it “kind of takes away a little bit of our value when they do these things.”

Partners lose out on integration opportunities tying together Red Hat with Microsoft Azure, for example.

“But customers still rely a lot on partners to help deliver on these solutions and do a lot of heavy lifting for them, so, for a Microsoft partner, I think this is an excellent opportunity,” Brodkin said.

Azure Red Hat OpenShift includes unified sign-up, on-boarding, service management and technical support, and the service is added into customers’ existing Azure bill. It offers enterprise developers and operations teams fully managed clusters; regulatory compliance with multiple standards, including SOC, ISO, PCI DSS and HIPAA; greater flexibility to move applications from on-premise environments to Azure; greater speed to connect to Azure services from on-premise OpenShift deployments; and easier access to Azure services including Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Machine Learning and Azure SQL DB for building cloud-native enterprise applications.

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