Review: OpenShift shines for developers and ops

From the pain-free install and easy app deployment to gear idling and automatic scaling, OpenShift fulfills the promise of platform as a service

1 2 3 4 Page 4
Page 4 of 4

Building a QuickStart is simple. You start by creating a base OpenShift application, installing any necessary cartridges, and replacing the default OpenShift example pages with your QuickStart code. You'll want to save all of your code as a single Git commit.

Then you'll want to remove any unnecessary files -- such as the application's log files and samples -- from the repository. Then configure the .openshift/action_hooks (build and configuration scripts) to enable your application to run on OpenShift and to use OpenShift environment variables.

Review your QuickStart code and modify it as necessary to replace any static security values with values that are established on a per-instance basis, and use security libraries when available. Test the QuickStart extensively, and finally submit it for adoption.

Updating and scaling your application
When you want to update your application, you'll typically do a git push. When OpenShift sees the new code, it will rebuild your application if necessary, then restart it.

Note that if you want automatic application scaling, you just check a box when creating the application. You can then configure the traffic trigger points for adding and dropping gears. Using the HAProxy software load balancer, OpenShift will horizontally scale the application with increasing load. As OpenShift senses increased traffic, it creates additional capacity at the middle tier of the application by spinning up more gears. OpenShift scales applications across nodes for reliability.

I have to say that OpenShift can be a huge timesaver for developers compared to managing real servers or even compared to managing an IaaS cloud such as Amazon. I'm aware that my fellow InfoWorld contributor Andrew Oliver had issues with deploying a Spring Java app to OpenShift in 2012. When Oliver looked at OpenShift, however, the PaaS was a developer preview; OpenShift Enterprise is now at version 2.1, and OpenShift Origin is at version 3.0. Among many other improvements, OpenShift now has a QuickStart for running the Spring Framework on JBoss EAP6.

OpenShift is outstandingly easy to use, manage, and install, and it presents little learning curve for developers familiar with Git and administrators familiar with Puppet. Enabling automatic horizontal scaling is as simple as checking a box in the application configuration. Automatic gear idling is enabled by default and allows for very high application density. And updating an application is as simple as doing a git push. For both developers and operators, OpenShift fulfills the promise of PaaS.

OpenShift at a glance

  • Wide assortment of languages, Web frameworks, databases, and application stacks available and supported
  • Easy and fast self-service deployment
  • Automatic application scaling
  • Git integration at the source code level, with automatic deployment triggered by a git push
  • Gear idling allows OpenShift to support a very high density of applications
  • Runs on any hardware or cloud or virtual machine that supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Largely limited to applications and services that run on Red Hat Linux, unless you use the Uhuru OpenShift.Net product, which we have not reviewed
PlatformsOpenShift Enterprise: Red Hat Enterprise Linux. OpenShift Origin: KVM, VirtualBox, VMware Fusion/Player

OpenShift Origin: free open source. OpenShift Online: first three gears and first gigabyte storage free, then a per-hour, per-gear charge for usage (ranging from 2 to 10 cents), plus a $1-per-gigabyte, per-month charge for additional storage; to use more than 16 gears online, there's an additional $20 per month service charge. OpenShift Enterprise: pricing starts at $4,000 per year depending on configuration (core/VM or socket pair).

This article, "Review: OpenShift shines for developers and ops," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in application development, cloud computing, and open source at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 3 4 Page 4
Page 4 of 4