What is an OpenShift?

OpenShift is a container application platform by Red Hat that allows developers to develop, host, and scale containerized apps. Learn how OpenShift works, and its key features.

OpenShift stands out for its automation, flexibility of deployment options, developer friendliness, and enterprise-grade additions to Kubernetes. Red Hat has designed it as a production-ready container platform for both traditional and cloud-native applications.


One of OpenShift’s main benefits is automation. It has tools to automate infrastructure provisioning, deployment, scaling, and more. This can save developers time and effort compared to setting up container environments from scratch.


A unique aspect of OpenShift is its flexibility across environments. Companies can use it on their own infrastructure, in the public cloud, or via managed services. So, whether you want full control or a more hands-off approach, OpenShift has an option to fit your needs.

Easy to Deploy and Integrate

For developers, OpenShift includes a console that makes it easy to deploy and manage new applications in containers. It also integrates nicely with Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) workflows. The platform uses Kubernetes under the hood to orchestrate containers but adds enterprise capabilities like security and governance.

What Is the OpenShift Container Platform?

The OpenShift Container Platform is Red Hat’s on-premises platform for developing and running containerized applications. It provides a complete Kubernetes environment for managing containers, with additional tools and capabilities added on top. 

Faster Development

A major focus of the OpenShift Container Platform is enabling organizations to develop applications faster. It does this by automating infrastructure provisioning and deployment, so developers don’t have to deal with manual setup and configuration.

The platform has built-in CI/CD pipelines to automate testing and releases. Additionally, it includes an integrated developer console that provides code editing, debugging, and monitoring capabilities streamlined for container-based development. 

Cluster Management Features

For operations teams, OpenShift offers advanced cluster management features like log aggregation, container networking, security scanning, and more. It’s designed to provide enterprise-grade reliability, security, and governance for running containerized workloads in production. 

In summary, the OpenShift Container Platform aims to make containers easier to use for development teams while providing production-ready capabilities for IT operations.

Why Use OpenShift?

Here are the top reasons why you should use OpenShift.

1. Accelerated App Development

One of the biggest reasons to use OpenShift is to accelerate application development and delivery through DevOps practices. OpenShift’s automated provisioning and deployment streamlines the path from code to production.

Its out-of-the-box CI/CD pipelines, source-to-image builds, and one-click application deployments all aim to optimize the software delivery lifecycle. This allows teams to focus their efforts on coding rather than infrastructure management.

2. Adaptability

Another major driver for OpenShift is the flexibility of deployment options. Organizations can choose between managing OpenShift themselves on existing infrastructure, deploying it on cloud platforms like AWS or Azure, or using it as a fully managed service. This provides flexibility to find the right balance of control versus convenience for current and future needs. 

3. Reduced Costs

For highly regulated or security-focused organizations, self-managed OpenShift may be preferable. Startups or small teams can reduce overhead with managed services. And enterprises often leverage the cloud-based options.

Accelerating application delivery through built-in DevOps capabilities and the ability to utilize OpenShift across on-prem and cloud environments, in addition to reduced costs are just some of the key advantages that make OpenShift an attractive choice for many organizations. 

OpenShift Features

OpenShift key features include:

  • Automated provisioning and deployment of containers using Kubernetes and containers – Automates and simplifies deploying and managing containerized applications using Kubernetes orchestration technology and container images.
  • A developer-focused environment with built-in CI/CD pipelines, console, and tools optimized for container app development – Provides developers an environment optimized for container app development including built-in CI/CD, a developer console, and tools designed specifically for container workflows. 
  • Flexible deployment options including on-premises, public cloud, private cloud, and managed services – Can be deployed on-premises, in the public cloud like AWS or Azure, in a private cloud, or use a managed service like OpenShift Dedicated or ROSA.
  • Enterprise Kubernetes enhancements for security, governance, and cluster management – Adds enhancements on top of upstream Kubernetes in areas like multitenancy, security, policy control, and cluster lifecycle management.
  • Source-to-image builds and one-click deployments – Provides source-to-image build workflows to create ready-to-run container images and one-click deployments to simplify application deployment.
  • Scalability and high availability for production container workloads – Scales to support enterprise production workloads and provides high availability configurations to minimize application downtime.
  • Integrated container registry – Built-in container image registry enables teams to easily store and manage container images.
  • Administration console for managing users, applications, and infrastructure – Web console provides admin control over teams, projects, infrastructure provisioning, and resource monitoring/utilization.
  • Role-based access control for teams and projects – The RBAC system allows fine-grained access control across users, teams, and applications.
  • Integrated service mesh capabilities – Includes service mesh integration for managing microservices communications and visibility.
  • Extensibility through Operators and ability to integrate third-party tools – OpenShift Operators allow extending platform capabilities by packaging, deploying, and managing services and apps. Third-party tools can also be integrated.
  • Overlay networking for microservices connectivity – Delivers overlay networking out-of-the-box for connecting and managing microservices across namespaces and clusters.
  • CLI (OC) for automation and scripting needs – Offers a feature-rich CLI called OC for automating tasks and enabling scripted interactions with the platform. 
  • Backed by enterprise support from Red Hat – As OpenShift is a Red Hat product, enterprise support subscriptions are available for production deployments.
  • Integrated application runtimes and frameworks – Includes out-of-the-box support for popular languages and frameworks like Java, Node.js, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and .NET.
  • Built-in monitoring, logging, and telemetry – Comes with integrated monitoring, logging, and metrics gathering to provide visibility into cluster health, application performance, and troubleshooting.

OpenShift Components

OpenShift incorporates trusted open-source technologies like Kubernetes, Linux containers, and Ansible alongside Red Hat innovations to provide a robust container application platform. 

Critical components include:

  • Kubernetes – Container orchestration engine that schedules and manages container lifecycles and resources. 
  • Docker – Container runtime that creates isolated application environments using containers.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux – The Linux distribution that serves as the operating system for OpenShift clusters.
  • Master Nodes – Control plane machines that manage the OpenShift cluster and scheduling.
  • Compute Nodes – Worker machines where containerized applications are deployed.
  • Etcd – Distributed key-value store for cluster data and configuration.
  • Container Registry – Storage for container images built and deployed on OpenShift. 
  • Web Console – Browser-based UI portal for managing clusters and applications.
  • Operators – Packages that automate deploying and managing complex services on OpenShift.
  • oc CLI – Command line tool for managing OpenShift clusters and applications.
  • Ansible – Automation engine used by OpenShift for provisioning and configuration.
  • Overlay Networking – SDN-based virtual network for connecting components and services.

Looking For Enhanced VPN Security?

OpenShift Use Cases

OpenShift use cases include:

Accelerated Application Development

OpenShift speeds up application development by automating provisioning, deployment, and delivery workflows. Its developer-focused environment with CI/CD pipelines, a console, and containers streamlines coding to production. This enables faster iteration and innovation.

DevOps and Agile Processes

OpenShift provides the capabilities dev and ops teams need to collaborate and implement modern application delivery practices. Its automation, containers, and CI/CD integration accelerate delivery while enhancing stability and reliability.

Modernization of Existing Applications

Organizations can modernize legacy applications by incrementally moving workloads to containers and microservices. OpenShift provides the platform to containerize apps, connect new and old components, and manage everything seamlessly.

Cloud-Native App Building

OpenShift combines containers, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs to enable building completely cloud-native apps from the start. Developers can fully leverage cloud-native architectures on OpenShift.

Deployment Scaling

OpenShift combines Docker container technology with enterprise-grade Kubernetes to provide automated scaling of stateless containerized applications. This allows flexibility in sizing deployments up or down.

Security and Governance

OpenShift adds security and governance capabilities on top of Kubernetes such as role-based access control, security context constraints, and compliance operators. This provides control and visibility for regulated or security-focused organizations.

Implementing Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD)

As mentioned above, one of the major benefits of using OpenShift is its integrated continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) capabilities. 

Built-in Jenkins Server

This is because, out of the box, OpenShift comes with a built-in Jenkins server that can be leveraged to automate build, test, and deployment pipelines for applications. 

Automatic Trigger of Jenkin’s Pipelines

When developers commit code changes, OpenShift can automatically trigger Jenkin’s pipelines to validate the changes through building, testing, and security scanning. If everything checks out, OpenShift can then deploy the updated application to staged environments for further testing before promotion to production. 

To enable these automated pipelines, developers can define Jenkinsfile build configurations that specify the continuous integration and delivery workflow steps. OpenShift will run the pipelines on its integrated Jenkins automation server. 

3rd Party CI/CD Tool Integration

Developers can also integrate third-party CI/CD tools using OpenShift’s Kubernetes-native architecture if desired. With automated pipelines in place, development teams can release updates, features, and fixes more frequently and predictably.

OpenShift handles the underlying infrastructure and deployment automation so developers can focus on coding. The end result is accelerated delivery cycles, reduced bottlenecks, and more rapid iteration of business needs.

Leveraging the Secure Power of the Cloud

OpenShift is Red Hat’s enterprise-ready container application platform that provides a comprehensive set of capabilities for organizations seeking to develop, deploy, and manage containerized workloads. 

It combines Kubernetes for container orchestration with enterprise-grade security, automation, and developer enablement features. Organizations of all sizes leverage OpenShift to modernize applications, accelerate software delivery, tighten security controls, and bridge the gap between traditional and cloud-native apps. 

With its flexibility across environments and robust tooling optimized for containers, OpenShift delivers the speed and efficiency of Kubernetes with the controls, governance, and support needed for production deployments. Companies ready to reap the benefits of containers can leverage OpenShift as a turnkey platform to do so securely while avoiding the complexities of managing Kubernetes themselves.

After reviewing the key capabilities and use cases of OpenShift, one solution that can help further enhance security and connectivity for cloud-based OpenShift deployments is Perimeter 81, a leading Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) provider that offers a cloud-native network as a service. 

With Perimeter 81’s reliable and easy-to-use cloud networking platform, organizations can securely connect their OpenShift infrastructure, applications, and users without the hassle of traditional hardware VPNs. Features like zero trust network access, firewall as a service, and cloud-based web security gateways provide next-generation protection for containers and cloud workloads.

Looking for Enhanced Security?


What is OpenShift Used for?
Organizations use OpenShift to modernize existing applications, develop new cloud-native apps, implement DevOps and agile processes, scale deployments, enhance security, and bridge capabilities between traditional and cloud-native application architectures. The platform aims to provide a flexible container-based foundation for rapidly developing and delivering applications in today’s modern IT environments.
What is the difference between Kubernetes and OpenShift?
Kubernetes provides the core open-source container orchestration engine for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. 

OpenShift incorporates Kubernetes and adds additional enterprise-centric capabilities on top. These include developer productivity tools like integrated CI/CD pipelines, advanced deployment strategies, built-in container image builds, a developer console, and simplified application deployments.

OpenShift also adds IT operations-focused capabilities around security, access control, governance, multitenancy, quotas, operational tooling, and more. These enhancements make OpenShift better suited for production application deployments compared to upstream Kubernetes.

In addition to the feature enhancements, OpenShift offers tested and certified Kubernetes distributions optimized for stability in enterprise environments. It also provides supported deployment options including managed services along with enterprise support subscriptions. This provides access to expert help, documentation, SLAs, and direct patches and updates from Red Hat. 

Kubernetes lacks this level of enterprise support and is primarily driven by the community. So, while OpenShift leverages Kubernetes at its core, it adds many important enhancements tailored specifically for the needs of developers, IT operations teams, and production application workloads at enterprise scale.
What is the AWS equivalent of OpenShift?
Amazon Web Services offers Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS (ROSA) as a fully managed service running Red Hat OpenShift on AWS infrastructure. ROSA provides streamlined deployment and management of Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes clusters on AWS, tightly integrating OpenShift with AWS compute, database, analytics, machine learning, networking, and other services. 

ROSA is jointly operated by AWS and Red Hat, combining the ease of use and automation of AWS with Red Hat OpenShift’s enterprise Kubernetes capabilities. Key features include SRE support from Red Hat with 99.95% uptime SLA, multiple AWS Availability Zone deployments for high resilience, and the ability to run OpenShift APIs and developer tools for building and scaling containerized applications.

ROSA is available in multiple AWS regions globally. Usage is billed based on hourly rates for the managed OpenShift service and the underlying AWS infrastructure utilized. In summary, organizations running OpenShift can leverage ROSA to deploy supported and managed OpenShift clusters directly on AWS cloud infrastructure.
Is AWS better than OpenShift?
In the comparison between Amazon AWS and OpenShift, both platforms offer valuable features for cloud-based solutions. Amazon AWS provides a wide range of services across different industries, with a focus on scalability, security, and flexibility. It offers over 200 fully featured services, making it a comprehensive cloud infrastructure option.

Users appreciate its cost-efficiency, ease of upgrading and expanding storage, and improved interfaces. However, AWS’s pricing can sometimes be complex, and some users feel that its billing clarity could be improved.
Is OpenShift a SAAS or PaaS?
OpenShift is primarily a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) focused on providing a managed Kubernetes environment optimized for developing, deploying, and running containerized applications. 

While OpenShift can be deployed in a SaaS model via OpenShift Dedicated or Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS, the core OpenShift Container Platform is a self-managed PaaS that gives users control over the infrastructure. 

So, in summary, OpenShift offers PaaS capabilities with Kubernetes container orchestration, CI/CD automation, and developer tools to simplify deploying containerized workloads, with the option of leveraging it as a SaaS through managed deployment options. But at its core, OpenShift is a PaaS that gives developers and IT teams a purpose-built platform for containers without the overhead of managing Kubernetes and infrastructure themselves.
Is OpenShift a public or private cloud?
OpenShift can be deployed in both public and private cloud environments:

Public Cloud
OpenShift is available as a managed service on the major public clouds including AWS (ROSA), Azure (ARO), and Google Cloud (ROSA). These provide a fully managed OpenShift environment on the public cloud infrastructure.

Private Cloud
The core OpenShift Container Platform can be self-managed by organizations on their own private cloud or on-premises infrastructure. This allows full control and customization of the OpenShift deployment in a private environment. 

Organizations can also run OpenShift across both public and private infrastructure to create a hybrid environment. For example, hosting core apps on-premises while leveraging the public cloud for development, testing, and bursting.

Looking for a Top-Notch VPN Security Solution?

Supercharge your VPN Security today with Perimeter 81.