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Is OpenShift Architecture The Future?: Director, leading global IT company

The future of Openshift: According to DevOps Director for leading IT multinational company, Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar, Associate Director for a leading IT multi-national company met with our Head of Development, Reuben Jenkins, to discuss OpenShift and where he sees the system progressing in the future.

Most notably, Dilip’s recent experience saw some astonishing results. Four years ago, Dilip arrived in the UK and implemented a migration programme involving numerous banking customers which saw a saving of over £1 million worth of hardware through intelligent automation. Dilip also brought a saving of 31,000 hours to one of the UK’s largest banks by implementing an impressive end-to-end DevOps pipeline.

We asked Dilip why he chose to discuss OpenShift. He explained that through his time working with the bank, he learnt an awful lot about the solution, gaining confidence to take it forward and replicate it himself. OpenShift, in short, is a container application program which brings Docker and Kubernetes together at Enterprise level. This can be adjusted and built to fit any environment, so it is very adaptable. Irrespective of the environment in which it will sit, be it cloud, public or private, it will be suitable.

Dilip sees the future in Hybrid Cloud solutions: OpenShift being one of the types of Kubernetes solutions which provides numerous “out of the box” solutions.

We asked Dilip for the benefits that he has identified through using OpenShift.

  1. Provides immediately available strings to manage containers. Comparing OpenShift with other Kubernetes solutions, it ranks very highly because it enables auto-deployment based upon any change in the image and prevents manual intervention.

  2. Whilst OpenShift integrates well with several platforms, Dilip tells us it works best with Jenkins, which is one of the most widely CI/CD solutions used in the world, providing a compatible platform. Dilip speaks of the easy authentication when integrating Jenkins and OpenShift and deems them both to be “100% compatible”.

  3. OpenShift is easily adaptable to include other elements: You can very easily add components for logging, monitoring and continual registration. This provides completely “out of the box” integration capabilities.

  4. It’s much more secure and includes several policies which will never allow a container to run as a root.

  5. Dilip argues that the business benefit will be to expedite the software delivery lifecycle and thus result in a faster time to market.

  6. The ability to deliver more and better-quality applications and features. The quality of applications will be of a higher quality because you can test them thoroughly, as well as quickly because you can easily provision the containers.

As much as Dilip is incredibly positive about the plus points of OpenShift, he is aware that there are some drawbacks in using such a system. We quizzed him on what he considered to be the downsides of using OpenShift.

  1. OpenShift is an enterprise, so you need to pay a license for every container that you use.

  2. You need to have your build and deploy objects ready and in place to build the docker image on OpenShift, compared with cloud solutions which are slicker, e.g. like with AWS. OpenShift means you must write some script, but AWS is more flexible and script-writing is not essential.

  3. Dilip feels that there is limitation with migration whilst utilising OpenShift – if tomorrow the customer wants to migrate from Openshift to AWS it’s problematic and not a smooth process. OpenShift provides you with a platform, you must write your own application and data, unlike AWS which is end-to-end. The architecture is also very different.

Whilst Dilip is fond of OpenShift for the most part (despite there being some inevitable downsides), he expands on his experience to explain about the implementation issues that he has faced:

We asked what challenges - if any - Dilip faced whilst implementing OpenShift?

He mentioned that there was a fair amount of hoop-jumping when implementing new solutions, including tool assessment and creating business cases and approval documents. Though, this is presumably more to do with the work environment, rather than the actual OpenShift system.

He goes on to explain that “any DevOps solution is about people, process and tools.” He can bring process and tools, but people will drive the rest in implementation. So, it’s also about a culture shift which doesn’t happen overnight.

We asked Dilip why he would choose to use OpenShift, instead of simply using Kubernetes with Docker and Jenkins?

He explains that Kubernetes is open-source and OpenShift is Enterprise, so there will be ongoing support. He goes on to say that OpenShift is a lot more secure, providing features for Enterprise customers, like immediate strings, authentication, integration with Jenkins and monitoring components. OpenShift is very easy to adopt whilst entry barriers for other Kubernetes solutions exist and are quite high. The time is takes to adopt OpenShift is quick if the right measures are in place.

Offering advice to other companies who are thinking about moving to OpenShift, Dilip outlines the below pointers:

  1. For business-drivers, the main piece of advice Dilip offers is to consider the infrastructure costs: i.e. paying for servers, containers etc. It is a “pay-on-demand” cost.

  2. OpenShift offers a lot of automation so the employees can focus on more innovative and creative tasks allowing extra time and thus, better productivity. Employees can deliver the applications and services very fast, because of the “out of the box” capability.

  3. OpenShift allows you to maintain business demand, with data services and data speed. For example, customers can test code at any time, can make code changes in as little as a few weeks, rather than waiting every 3 months.

What is the future of OpenShift?

Dilip explains that considering the increasing number of people looking for end-to-end solutions, cautious customers, concerned with moving data to the cloud will find OpenShift to be a good solution due to the increased security it provides. The adoption and this uptick in the trend are particularly apparent in the FinTech industry. For customers less concerned about their data being stored in the cloud, AWS will most likely be a better solution.

We’d like to thank Dilip Kumar for speaking to us about OpenShift. If you have any questions at all, please get in touch.

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