Why the future of the cloud is in Linux

Craig Muzilla of Red Hat comments on why the future of the cloud is in Linux.
Cloud, Tech, Business, Linux


Organisations today are investing in new technologies and practices to transform the way they deliver value to customers. This has become a critical investment area as we move into an era of disruption.

Cloud computing plays a vital role in supporting both the technologies and processes driving the digital transformation imperative. Offering greater speed, cloud-based strategies leave more time for companies to focus on building and delivering innovation, value, and differentiation while creating financial efficiency.

While moving to a single public cloud has many benefits, the reality is that for some workloads the public cloud simply doesn't make sense, or meet requirements for things like control, security or regulatory compliance. As a result, a majority of today's IT environments are inherently hybrid, comprising of applications deployed on-premises, and in both private and public clouds.

Some highly optimized or secure workloads can continue to be deployed in bare metal and virtualized environments. As organizations embrace the public cloud, they may select multiple public clouds in order to take advantage of unique cloud capabilities as well as for optimizing vendors. According to IDC, 70 percent of customers already deploy multicloud environments and 64 percent of applications in a typical IT portfolio today are based in a cloud environment, whether public or private. Therefore, many organizations are looking to embrace hybrid cloud strategies to achieve digital transformation.

To succeed with hybrid cloud, operational consistency is critical, and a key to operational consistency is the platform. Hybrid and multicloud users should be able to easily span and interoperate across private and multiple public cloud environments with security and portability. At Red Hat, we believe that the platform technology to achieve this vision is Linux, Linux containers and Kubernetes.

The hybrid cloud journey starts with Linux

Nine of the top 10 public clouds run on Linux, many private cloud technologies are based on Linux, and most importantly, container and Kubernetes platforms are based on Linux.

The operating system you select in hybrid cloud environments is critical to your success. When operating across on-premises and public cloud environments, you want applications to work the same way. Making sure things like management, compliance and security work the same way across multiple, disparate environments is essential. Having a common operating system powering hybrid cloud environments enables application consistency and portability, meaning that they should behave the same, can be managed using the same tools and processes, and accrue the same benefits regardless of whether they are deployed on-premises or in a public cloud.

For a large number of organizations that already use Linux to run their datacenters and applications, mission-critical workloads can also be supported by Linux-based operating systems, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Whether the first step is to move a workload from on-premises to a public cloud - or standing up a private cloud environment - users should consider the operating system in which that workload will run. Many companies want to take an existing workload and move it to a cloud environment. There, they want to make sure that they can move it easily and still have the same consistent operations regardless of where they are deploying that application - even if they are moving from bare metal or standalone virtualization. This is why using systems such as RHEL can be a vital first step in the cloud journey.

Next step: Linux containers and Kubernetes

With a stable base of applications running in a hybrid cloud spanning both on-premises and public cloud deployments, you can move to the next step: cloud-native application deployment using Linux containers and Kubernetes. Red Hat's Open Shift is an example of a common DevOps platform for orchestrating cloud-native and traditional applications across both private and public clouds.

Kubernetes platforms are crucial to deliver container orchestration and critical developer services at-scale. At a basic level, containers are designed to help you create abstractions at the application level for greater flexibility, speed, and efficiency. How your container runs depend upon the relationship between your host kernel and the user space of the container. This is why the relationship between enterprise Linux and a Kubernetes platform is so critical.

These provide a DevOps environment for quickly developing and deploying microservices-based applications. DevOps tools provide a cloud abstraction layer that enables you to implement a hybrid cloud spanning multiple public clouds and private deployments to create a single virtual cloud. This portability and transferability make it easy to move workloads and specific microservices to other clusters.

Rich services for hybrid cloud

By establishing a common environment where you can run and build your applications, you can use new application development services with the same consistency and portability wherever they are hosted. Many of the emerging cloud services are developed to be tightly coupled with Kubernetes, such as Camel-K technology, which is part of our Red Hat integration and API management offering within OpenShift. We are also improving how to develop Java in Kubernetes native environments with Quarkus, which can increase the performance of Java many fold.

Tapping Linux-based operating systems as a foundation is the first step on your journey to the cloud and enabling services such as these on your workloads. By adding Linux containers you have a solid base to deploy your cloud functions. And with a DevOps platform, your journey to the cloud comes full circle.

You can scale a deployment across multiple public and private cloud environments while enabling the security features, consistency, certification, and portability your organization depends on and support the next generation of services.

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