Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

Platform Cloud As Tech Incubator 

The OpenShift cloud application and development platform is being extended to technology startups with an eye toward eliminating some of the "infrastructure pain points" faced by harried new companies.

That is one of the stated goals of Red Hat's OpenShift Startup Program, which uses OpenShift Online, Red Hat's public cloud application development and runtime platform. It also seeks to take the notion of a technology incubator a step further by offering cloud services as a way to defray startup costs.

The initiative also provides technology startups with a hosted cloud environment as a vehicle for speeding up product development. Startups that sign up for the program get preferred access to OpenShift Online subscription features that include platforms for development, testing, and production hosting, Red Hat said.

While pulling in potential new subscribers to OpenShift Online, Red Hat insisted that startups using the service would not be locked in or obligated to use Red Hat software or programs. The only catch appears to be that startups will be offered the option of moving their on-premise service or their customers' private cloud to Red Hat's OpenShift Enterprise platform-as-a-service.

As an incentive to join the startup program, Red Hat is also dangling the carrot of connecting "select" program participants to prospective clients, including Fortune 500 customers.

Red Hat noted in a statement that the initiative aims to increase the chances that software startups will succeed by "providing them with an application hosting infrastructure at a reasonable cost."

Sathish Balakrishnan, Red Hat's OpenShift Online director, explained in an email that the startup program "has several offerings and each offering is priced differently for startups based on their stage and business model." Red Hat provided no pricing details.

"Our experience is that startups require more than just preferred pricing to be successful," Balakrishnan added. "We believe in partnering across multiple dimensions and helping the startup be successful."

Added OpenShift general manager Ashesh Badani: "By moving development into a hosted cloud solution – especially one with a free hosted tier like OpenShift – many of the typical server infrastructure pain points can be avoided."

American Underground, based in nearby Durham, North Carolina, is working with Red Hat to provide software startups with "special access" to the OpenShift platform. The startup hub's chief strategist, Adam Klein, said the OpenShift initiative would allow its independent software vendor clients to focus on code development that could eventually be shifted to a production environment on the Red Hat cloud.

Among the startups participating in the OpenShift initiative is Seattle-based Shippable. It recently released a new version of a delivery platform intended to help enterprise software teams speed adoption of Docker software containers for applications while automating the enterprise application development process from coding to production.

In a testimonial, Shippable CEO Avi Cavale said the startup is using OpenShift to upgrade its Docker-based continuous delivery platform. Cavale said having a partner that can operate at scale is helping his startup "innovate in a niche area."

Among the other startups that have signed on to the startup program so far are AppDirect, the developer of management platform for cloud commerce, and Mean.Io, which describes itself as an open source, full-stack JavaScript framework developer targeting next-generation web applications.

Red Hat declined to disclose the number of startups participating in the program, but Balakrishnan said, "We have several companies from infrastructure, collaboration, and healthcare startups."

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

One Response to Platform Cloud As Tech Incubator

  1. And OpenShift had a free tier anyway… And EC2 and Azure websites have free tiers. Etc. Undifferentiated compute (whether IaaS or PaaS) value is not significant enough – hence the race to bottom.

    Red Shift would be better off looking at how other vendors are now offering much more complete vision whether this is in PaaS (e.g. full lifecycle PaaS like, build systems like CloudBees, or bigger IaaS platforms like AWS or Azure.

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