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BOSTON -- Containers can promise organizations more painless and faster development and deployment of mobile apps.
Application containers are an alternative to server virtualization, and can be more efficient for app development than virtual machines (VMs). During last week's Red Hat Summit, the company announced several updates to its OpenShift Container Platform, including a new developer's environment and a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to integrate access to AWS services.
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For organizations that want to deliver mobile applications, containers can help them build and deploy smartphone and tablet apps faster and with less performance overhead.
"It reduced deployment time from days to hours," said John Rzeszotarski, director of DevOps at KeyBank in Cleveland, Ohio, which used OpenShift for its DevOps practice.
Containers have a smaller memory footprint than VMs, which means faster application start and stop times. And since containers include only the application runtime environment, and not the entire operating system stack, they are more portable than VMs. Containers also mean several versions of the same application code can exist on the same server, so they are especially useful for rapid application development.
With demand for mobile apps higher than ever, there is a need for much faster app rollouts, said Chad Holmes, a senior solution architect at Red Hat Mobile.
"We're no longer seeing six-month release cycles," he said. "You have to evolve your development practices and be able to patch things quickly."
Banks such as KeyBank are just one example of the types of organizations that are pivoting to embrace mobility and the use of containers for development.
"If you decide mobile is a passing fad, you're probably going to fall behind your competitors really quickly, and that's going to hurt your business long-term," Holmes said.
Harry Mower, senior director of developer programs at Red Hat, agreed.
"Every company is somewhat a software company now," he said. "It's no longer just about writing code; it's about delivering value to the business."
What's new with Red Hat OpenShift
The new integration between Red Hat OpenShift and AWS will allow businesses to develop and deploy container-based apps on premises or in a public or hosted cloud. Customers will have access to AWS services such as Amazon Aurora, Redshift, Athena, CloudFront, Route 53 and Elastic Load Balancing.
OpenShift also runs Red Hat Mobile Application Platform, so mobile app developers can take full advantage of the latest integration with AWS.
The goal of Red Hat's partnership with AWS is to bring enterprises on board with containerization, said Paul Cormier, president of products and technology at Red Hat.
"Linux and open source moved [containers] from a commodity to where all the innovation is," he said.
Red Hat also last week launched OpenShift.io, a free software as a service (SaaS) development environment for cloud-native apps based in containers and built with open source code. It includes planning and collaboration tools for remote teams to work together on app development projects. OpenShift.io can help organizations that want to develop their own mobile apps simplify and speed up the process, or shift legacy apps to the cloud.
OpenShift.io is available as a limited developer preview.
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