Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.4 Improves Storage

New release of Red Hat's enterprise-grade container platform is based on the recent Kubernetes 1.4 milestone, adding new dynamic storage capabilities and an enhanced dashboard.

Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat announced the release of its OpenShift Container Platform 3.4 on Jan. 18, providing enterprises with new container management capabilities. The new release follows the OpenShift Container Platform 3.3 milestone that debuted in September 2016.

OpenShift is comprised of components from the open-source Kubernetes container management project, including additional capabilities and enhanced interfaces from Red Hat's development efforts. The OpenShift Container Platform 3.4 update is based on the Kubernetes 1.4 release that came out in October 2016.

"The most interesting features from Kubernetes 1.4 are around dynamic provisioning of storage and related functionality, like storage tier labeling," Joe Fernandes, senior director, product management for OpenShift at Red Hat, told eWEEK.

With dynamic storage, organizations can choose to enable different types of back-end storage that is tiered to quality of service labels applied by Kubernetes. The actual storage element in Kubernetes 1.4 is an API-based abstraction layer that is being used by Red Hat to integrate its Gluster Storage system with the OpenShift Container Platform.

"The Persistent Volume (PV) subsystem in Kubernetes provides a storage abstraction API that can orchestrate different types of storage including storage plugins for NFS, iSCSI, Fiber Channel, Gluster, Ceph, Amazon storage, Google storage and more," Fernandes said. "From Red Hat's point of view, It is these advanced container orchestration capabilities like storage orchestration that makes Kubernetes the leading solution in this space."

Fernandes explained that Red Hat Gluster Storage can run in a dedicated storage cluster (outside of Openshift/Kubernetes) and can also be accessed from containerized applications running inside OpenShift over the network.

Red Hat acquired Gluster in 2011 for $136 million and then added another storage technology, with the acquisition of Ceph storage vendor Inktank for $175 million in 2014. Each storage technology is finding a particular niche in the cloud market.

"Red Hat Gluster Storage provides a consistent storage platform for OpenShift users across the hybrid cloud," Fernandes said. "Red Hat Ceph Storage continues to provide a one-stop shop for OpenStack storage for Cinder, Manila and Swift."

In addition to the new storage capabilities, Fernandes said that other Kubernetes 1.4 features of note in Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.4 include, scheduled jobs for running scheduled batch processes, Kubernetes deployments support and pod eviction.

There is also an enhanced web console for management in the new release. Fernandes explained that the OpenShift Web Console that Red Hat provides is not part of the upstream Kubernetes effort, although it shares similar concepts with the upstream Kubernetes user interface project.

Among the enhanced capabilities in the web console are new features for managing multi-tenancy. The improved multi-tenancy options enable cluster administrators to more easily search, assign users, manage quota, and conduct other related tasks.

Looking forward, Fernandes commented that Red Hat will continue to evaluate new features from the upstream Kubernetes releases as potential capabilities for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

"In particular, we see Kubernetes Stateful Sets, Service Catalog/Broker and Federation as important features for enterprise use cases," Fernandes said.

The Stateful Sets capability is currently a beta feature in the Kubernetes 1.5 release that debuted on Dec. 15, 2016. The basic premise of Stateful Sets is to provide cluster operators with the ability to operate stateful, long-lived services like databases, with a higher degree of reliability.

"Beyond Kubernetes, we'll also evaluate docker project releases as well as other community efforts, including those that are focusing on application lifecycle management functionality, like CI/CD (continuous integration/continous deployment), builds and deployment automation," Fernandes said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.