IBM Keeps OpenShift Up To Speed On Power Systems
November 16, 2020 Timothy Prickett Morgan
For more than two years now, as we have previously reported, there have been a number of ways to bring Kubernetes container control to the Power Systems platform, including Docker Enterprise Edition, IBM Cloud Private, and Red Hat OpenShift. In the wake of the Red Hat acquisition, it is pretty clear that OpenShift will be the container environment of choice on IBM System z and Power Systems machines on premises and on these machines as well as X86 iron deployed on the IBM Cloud.
To that end, we find in announcement letter 220-439 that IBM’s Red Hat unit has ported its OpenShift Container Platform, 4.6 release to Power Systems iron. The reason that this does not happen automagically is that Red Hat OpenShift is not based on the stock Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution, but rather the CoreOS Linux, a streamlined variant of Linux that can be upgraded while active that Red Hat acquired a couple of years back. (If you want to know more about CoreOS, I covered it extensively at The Next Platform, my other day job.) It takes a little extra time to make sure CoreOS works on Power chips. If customers want to mix and match KVM virtualization with Kubernetes containers, they have to buy a proper RHEL license for their machines. (Why IBM doesn’t just bundle RHEL, perhaps a single partition only, by default on Power9 systems already is beyond me. Set it up so companies can start playing with containers for free.) Anyway, OpenShift Container Platform is sold with licenses that span two cores at a time. In addition, the OpenShift distro can run various IBM Cloud Paks, which are containerized packages of IBM middleware and other open source systems software and applications.
As part of the OpenShift Container Platform 4.6 rollup, Red Hat is tossing in a few extras that now work on Power iron. The first is called OpenShift Do, which is mysteriously abbreviated as “odo” not “OSD” because people ignore how abbreviations and acronyms are supposed to work. In any event, odo, which is a perfectly fine name for a command line interface and that is what we want to call it, helps make it easier to deploy applications on Kubernetes without using the blasted mouse. Red Hat is also tossing in a variant of the Eclipse Che preconfigured integrated development environment, which is renamed to Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces. (What is wrong with Che?)
Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform runs on any Power Systems server with either a Power8 or a Power9 processor. The software started shipping on Friday the 13th in the month of November. (Interesting aside: November used to be the ninth month, as in novem, which is Latin for nine, because the Roman year used to only have 10 months. Yes, that is very silly, and during the Roman Republic January and February were added in honor of Janus, the god of portals, and Februa, a purification feast held as winter turned to spring.)