Red Hat continues to enhance its software portfolio for helping organisations run and manage cloud services in their own data centres, adding more features to its OpenShift Enterprise software package to accommodate enterprise requirements such as policy orchestration and multiregion availability.
OpenShift Enterprise 2.1, available now, also includes new releases of the latest open source software used in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) hosting package, such as PHP and MySQL.
Although it gets less attention than the IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service)-style cloud services, PaaS services can be valuable.
IaaS provides a complete OS within a cloud-based virtual machine, into which a user can install software programmes. PaaS services, on the other hand, free organisations from maintaining the underlying operating systems, middleware or other underlying components that run an application. PaaS providers maintain the OS, and offer specific supporting programs, such as a database or programming language runtime, that developers can use to build their cloud-based applications.
Google, IBM, Microsoft and Safesforce.com all offer PaaS services.
Red Hat launched OpenShift Enterprise in 2012 as a version of its online OpenShift PaaS that could be run by an organisation within its own data centre. OpenShift Enterprise could be used as a foundation for hosting providers to offer PaaS to their customers, as well as for large organisations that may want to run PaaS services in-house.
Running OpenShift Enterprise is also designed to provide an organisation an easy way to transfer their workloads over to Red Hat's own OpenShift cloud offering, for purposes of disaster recovery or workload balancing.
The new version of OpenShift Enterprise, currently available, offers a number of new features to better help incorporate PaaS into the workplace.
A new plug-in will help organisations incorporate OpenShift services within their own policy orchestration engines, allowing them to incorporate services built on PaaS into their own complex workflows spanning multiple business units.
The software introduces the concept of zones and regions, allowing organisations to make their systems more reliable, but spreading out resources across multiple geographic areas. If a service stops running in one geographic area, due to a natural disaster, a duplicate of that service in another zone can pick up the work.
The new version also can recognize group policies set in LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) directory services, such as Microsoft Active Directory. This allows OpenShift to recognise and grant appropriate access to work teams within an organisation.
OpenShift has some improvements for the administrator as well. It includes the ability to correct common application service issues through the use of data centre best practices, such as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library). The software has also consolidated the capabilities for managing logs and metrics, so they can be consulted more quickly by the administrator.
The new version of the software package also includes the latest editions of some of the most widely used open source software in the PaaS environment, notably MySQL 5.5, Python 3.3, PHP 5.4, and MongoDB 2.4, though the new OpenShift cartridges of Python and MongoDB will not be ready until an update of OpenShift Enterprise is issued shortly, according to Red Hat.