Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Monday, February 24, 2020
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Red Hat Launches OpenShift ‘Commons’ 

While the open-source software community continues to thrive, there is a growing sense of "solutions in search of a problem" and that open-source vendors and customers may be talking past one another.

With that perception in mind along with the need to drive innovation in the development of platform-as-a-service offerings, Red Hat said Thursday (Feb. 26) it is rolling out an "OpenShift Commons Community." The commons is intended as a way to align industry collaboration with the evolving operational needs of large and emerging enterprises alike.

"What we heard from customers, partners and [open source technology] communities is that they wanted a truly open community where all of these groups can intersect and help drive the future of PaaS innovation," observed Ashesh Badani, general manager of Red Hat OpenShift.

In an interview, Badani added that the goal of the commons initiative is to "widen the lens [and] boost collaboration across the entire OpenShift ecosystem."

The OpenShift Commons includes more than 30 members, including Dell, Docker and Shippable, the Docker application container delivery specialist. Along with Docker containers, the commons also will focus on open-source efforts such as Google Kubernetes and Red Hat's Project Atomic.

While the commons initiative is at least initially leaning heavily toward open-source container technologies, Badani said it is also looking to drum up open-source collaboration is areas like micro-server architectures, big data analytics and projects like Apache Mesos that targets the distribution and orchestration of app containers.

The structure of the OpenShift Commons includes tried-and-true collaboration tools like special interest groups along with briefings and mailing lists that would serve as conversation starters in open-source forums. The briefings would be led by commons members and OpenShift engineers and would cover a range of topics like DevOps best practices, container networking and storage and big data, Red Hat said.

The open-source commons "can bring all those conversations together." Badani stressed, describing the initiative as a "community-as-a-service."

As large enterprises relentlessly focus on managing cloud services at scale along with speeding up development and deployment of applications, they are encountering new sets of operational requirements. Badani acknowledged that current solutions do not always address the problems faced by large IT enterprises. Part of the problem rests with the customer and the vendor talking past one another. The vendor may be hitting all the agreed upon metrics, but the customer's problem is still not being solved.

Badani said the commons idea grew in part out of his discussions with "1 percent organizations," that is, hyper-scale operators, so that the open source community could collaborate to develop solutions that mainstream organizations actually needed—yesterday!

Hence, the open-source model is being expanded to develop a collaborative network of OpenShift users and partners along with the rest of the open-source community to push service platform innovation.

Red Hat said there is no contributor license agreement, code contribution requirement or fees to join the OpenShift Commons, "just a commitment to collaborate on the new PaaS stack."

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