Red Hat and Microsoft deepen container alliance

Matthew Hicks, vice president, Software Engineering, OpenShift and Management, Red Hat
Matthew Hicks, vice president, Software Engineering, OpenShift and Management, Red Hat

Microsoft and Red Hat are expanding their alliance around containers. The two companies are to make it easier for companies to adopt containers. This new capability was first demonstrated at the Red Hat Summit in May 2017. The two companies have a joint development roadmap that sees them support each others container products.

According to Matthew Hicks, vice president, Software Engineering, OpenShift and Management, Red Hat: “Alongside Microsoft, Red Hat is providing a way for organizations to make technology choices that matter to them, from containerized workloads to public cloud services, without adding complexity.

“Combined with our integrated support teams, we’re able to offer a pathway to digital transformation that offers the capabilities, flexibility and choice required to power the future of enterprise IT.”

What is supported and on which platform?

There are four separate announcements about cross platform support. They are:

  1. Native support for Windows Server containers on Red Hat OpenShift. This will be the first Kubernetes based solution supporting both Linux and Windows containers on the same platform.
  2. Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated will be supported on Microsoft Azure. This is a container platform delivered as a cloud service. It will be available across 42 Azure regions in 2018. It is a dual development between Red Hat and Microsoft. Both companies are to sell and support openShift Dedicated.
  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is available on the Microsoft Azure Stack. Red Hat is the dominant Linux provider in the enterprise. Azure Stack is an on-premises extension to Azure run by customers in their own data centres. This announcement means that customers can move their RHEL environments onto Azure Stack. It will also make it easier for them to move to a hybrid environment later and move some of those RHEL workloads onto other Azure deployments.
  4. SQL Server will be available on RHEL and Red Hat OpenShift. Microsoft has had a beta trial of SQL Server on RHEL since the end od 2016. As of now, customers can port their SQL Server instances to the Linux platform.

What does this mean?

The days when customers were polarised into choosing Microsoft or Linux are long gone. Customers want to run their applications on their operating system of choice. Vendors who don’t understand this are losing ground to those who do. With two of the biggest operating system players now getting even closer together, this alliance looks set to deliver what customers want.

Cross platform support for each others technology is a good move and one that these two companies seem to have embraced. It will be interesting to see if this deal results in other Linux vendors rushing to bolster their agreements with Microsoft. If not, Red Hat could further extend its lead over the competition.


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