Introduction to OpenShift Dedicated

OpenShift Dedicated is a platform for developing and running containerized applications. It is designed to allow applications and the data centers that support them to expand from just a few machines and applications to thousands of machines that serve millions of clients.

With its foundation in Kubernetes, OpenShift Dedicated incorporates the same technology that serves as the engine for massive telecommunications, streaming video, gaming, banking, and other applications. Its implementation in open Red Hat technologies lets you extend your containerized applications beyond a single cloud to on-premise and multi-cloud environments.

About Kubernetes

Although container images and the containers that run from them are the primary building blocks for modern application development, to run them at scale requires a reliable and flexible distribution system. Kubernetes is the defacto standard for orchestrating containers.

Kubernetes is an open source container orchestration engine for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. The general concept of Kubernetes is fairly simple:

  • Start with one or more worker nodes to run the container workloads.

  • Manage the deployment of those workloads from one or more master nodes.

  • Wrap containers in a deployment unit called a Pod. Using Pods provides extra metadata with the container and offers the ability to group several containers in a single deployment entity.

  • Create special kinds of assets. For example, services are represented by a set of Pods and a policy that defines how they are accessed. This policy allows containers to connect to the services that they need even if they do not have the specific IP addresses for the services. Replication controllers are another special asset that indicates how many Pod Replicas are required to run at a time. You can use this capability to automatically scale your application to adapt to its current demand.

In only a few years, Kubernetes has seen massive cloud and on-premise adoption. The open source development model allows many people to extend Kubernetes by implementing different technologies for components such as networking, storage, and authentication.

The benefits of containerized applications

Using containerized applications offers many advantages over using traditional deployment methods. Where applications were once expected to be installed on operating systems that included all their dependencies, containers let an application carry their dependencies with them. Creating containerized applications offers many benefits.

Operating system benefits

Containers use small, dedicated Linux operating systems without a kernel. Their file system, networking, cgroups, process tables, and namespaces are separate from the host Linux system, but the containers can integrate with the hosts seamlessly when necessary. Being based on Linux allows containers to use all the advantages that come with the open source development model of rapid innovation.

Because each container uses a dedicated operating system, you can deploy applications that require conflicting software dependencies on the same host. Each container carries its own dependent software and manages its own interfaces, such as networking and file systems, so applications never need to compete for those assets.

Deployment and scaling benefits

If you employ rolling upgrades between major releases of your application, you can continuously improve your applications without downtime and still maintain compatibility with the current release.

You can also deploy and test a new version of an application alongside the existing version. Deploy the new application version in addition to the current version. If the container passes your tests, simply deploy more new containers remove the old ones. 

Since all the software dependencies for an application are resolved within the container itself, you can use a generic operating system on each host in your data center. You do not need to configure a specific operating system for each application host. When your data center needs more capacity, you can deploy another generic host system.

Similarly, scaling containerized applications is simple. OpenShift Dedicated offers a simple, standard way of scaling any containerized service. For example, if you build applications as a set of microservices rather than large, monolithic applications, you can scale the individual microservices individually to meet demand. This capability allows your to scale only the required services instead of the entire application, which can allow you to meet application demands while using minimal resources.

OpenShift Dedicated overview

OpenShift Dedicated provides enterprise-ready enhancements to Kubernetes, including the following enhancements:

  • OpenShift Dedicated clusters are deployed on AWS environments and can be used as part of a hybrid approach for application management.

  • Integrated Red Hat technology. Major components in OpenShift Dedicated come from Red Hat Enterprise Linux and related Red Hat technologies. OpenShift Dedicated benefits from the intense testing and certification initiatives for Red Hat’s enterprise quality software.

  • Open source development model. Development is completed in the open, and the source code is available from public software repositories. This open collaboration fosters rapid innovation and development.

Although Kubernetes excels at managing your applications, it does not specify or manage platform-level requirements or deployment processes. Powerful and flexible platform management tools and processes are important benefits that OpenShift Dedicated 4 offers. The following sections describe some unique features and benefits of OpenShift Dedicated.

Custom operating system

OpenShift Dedicated uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS (RHCOS), a container-oriented operating system that combines some of the best features and functions of the CoreOS and Red Hat Atomic Host operating systems. RHCOS is specifically designed for running containerized applications from OpenShift Dedicated and works with new tools to provide fast installation, Operator-based management, and simplified upgrades.

RHCOS includes:

  • Ignition, which OpenShift Dedicated uses as a firstboot system configuration for initially bringing up and configuring machines.

  • CRI-O, a Kubernetes native container runtime implementation that integrates closely with the operating system to deliver an efficient and optimized Kubernetes experience. CRI-O provides facilities for running, stopping, and restarting containers. It fully replaces the Docker Container Engine , which was used in OpenShift Dedicated 3.

  • Kubelet, the primary node agent for Kubernetes that is responsible for launching and monitoring containers.

In OpenShift Dedicated 4, you must use RHCOS for all control plane machines, but you can use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as the operating system for compute, or worker, machines. If you choose to use RHEL workers, you must perform more system maintenance than if you use RHCOS for all of the cluster machines.

Simplified installation and update process

With OpenShift Dedicated 4, if you have an account with the right permissions, you can deploy a production cluster in supported clouds by running a single command and providing a few values. You can also customize your cloud installation or install your cluster in your data center if you use a supported platform.

For clusters that use RHCOS for all machines, updating, or upgrading, OpenShift Dedicated is a simple, highly-automated process. Because OpenShift Dedicated completely controls the systems and services that run on each machine, including the operating system itself, from a central control plane, upgrades are designed to become automatic events. If your cluster contains RHEL worker machines, the control plane benefits from the streamlined update process, but you must perform more tasks to upgrade the RHEL machines.

Other key features

Operators are both the fundamental unit of the OpenShift Dedicated 4 code base and a convenient way to deploy applications and software components for your applications to use. In OpenShift Dedicated, Operators serve as the platform foundation and remove the need for manual upgrades of operating systems and control plane applications. OpenShift Dedicated Operators such as the Cluster Version Operator and Machine Config Operator allow simplified, cluster-wide management of those critical components.

Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) and the OperatorHub provide facilities for storing and distributing Operators to people developing and deploying applications.

The Red Hat Quay Container Registry is a Quay.io container registry that serves most of the container images and Operators to OpenShift Dedicated clusters. Quay.io is a public registry version of Red Hat Quay that stores millions of images and tags.

Other enhancements to Kubernetes in OpenShift Dedicated include improvements in software defined networking (SDN), authentication, log aggregation, monitoring, and routing. OpenShift Dedicated also offers a comprehensive web console and the custom OpenShift CLI (oc) interface.

OpenShift Dedicated lifecycle

The following figure illustrates the basic OpenShift Dedicated lifecycle:

  • Creating an OpenShift Dedicated cluster

  • Managing the cluster

  • Developing and deploying applications

  • Scaling up applications

High-level OpenShift Dedicated flow
Figure 1. High level OpenShift Dedicated overview

Internet and Telemetry access for OpenShift Dedicated

In OpenShift Dedicated 4, you require access to the internet to install and entitle your cluster. The Telemetry service, which runs by default to provide metrics about cluster health and the success of updates, also requires internet access. If your cluster is connected to the internet, Telemetry runs automatically, and your cluster is registered to the Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager. From there, you can allocate entitlements to your cluster.

You must have internet access to:

  • Access the Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager page to download the installation program and perform subscription management and entitlement. If the cluster has internet access and you do not disable Telemetry, that service automatically entitles your cluster. If the Telemetry service cannot entitle your cluster, you must manually entitle it on the Cluster registration page.

  • Access Quay.io to obtain the packages that are required to install your cluster.

  • Obtain the packages that are required to perform cluster updates.