OpenShift - Overview

OpenShift is a cloud development Platform as a Service (PaaS) hosted by Red Hat. It’s an open source cloud-based user-friendly platform used to create, test, and run applications, and finally deploy them on cloud.

OpenShift is capable of managing applications written in different languages, such as Node.js, Ruby, Python, Perl, and Java. One of the key features of OpenShift is it is extensible, which helps the users support the application written in other languages.

OpenShift comes with various concepts of virtualization as its abstraction layer. The underlying concept behind OpenShift is based on virtualization.


In general, virtualization can be defined as the creation of a virtual system rather than physical or actual version of anything starting from system, storage, or an operating system. The main goal of virtualization is to make the IT infrastructure more scalable and reliable. The concept of virtualization has been in existence from decades and with the evolution of IT industry today, it can be applied to a wide range of layers starting from System level, Hardware level, to Server level virtualization.

How It Works

It can be described as a technology in which any application or operating system is abstracted from its actual physical layer. One key use of the virtualization technology is server virtualization, which uses a software called hypervisor to abstract the layer from the underlying hardware. The performance of an operating system running on virtualization is as good as when it is running on the physical hardware. However, the concept of virtualization is popular as most of the system and application running do not require the use of the underlying hardware.

Physical vs Virtual Architecture

Physical vs Virtual Architecture

Types of Virtualization

  • Application Virtualization − In this method, the application is abstracted from the underlying operating system. This method is very useful in which the application can be run in isolation without being dependent on the operating system underneath.

  • Desktop Virtualization − This method is used to reduce the workstation load in which one can access the desktop remotely, using a thin client at the desk. In this method, the desktops are mostly run in a datacenter. A classic example can be a Virtual Desktop Image (VDI) which is used in most of the organizations.

  • Data Virtualization − It is a method of abstracting and getting away from traditional method of data and data management.

  • Server Virtualization − In this method, server-related resources are virtualized which includes the physical server, process, and operating system. The software which enables this abstraction is often referred to as the hypervisor.

  • Storage Virtualization − It is the process of pooling in multiple storage devices into a single storage device that is managed from a single central console.

  • Network Virtualization − It is the method in which all available network resources are combined by splitting up the available bandwidth and channels, each of which is independent of each other.


OpenShift is a cloud-enabled application Platform as a Service (PaaS). It’s an open source technology which helps organizations move their traditional application infrastructure and platform from physical, virtual mediums to the cloud.

OpenShift supports a very large variety of applications, which can be easily developed and deployed on OpenShift cloud platform. OpenShift basically supports three kinds of platforms for the developers and users.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

In this format, the service provider provides hardware level virtual machines with some pre-defined virtual hardware configuration. There are multiple competitors in this space starting from AWS Google cloud, Rackspace, and many more.

The main drawback of having IaaS after a long procedure of setup and investment is that, one is still responsible for installing and maintaining the operating system and server packages, managing the network of infrastructure, and taking care of the basic system administration.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

With SaaS, one has the least worry about the underlying infrastructure. It is as simple as plug and play, wherein the user just has to sign up for the services and start using it. The main drawback with this setup is, one can only perform minimal amount of customization, which is allowed by the service provider. One of the most common example of SaaS is Gmail, where the user just needs to login and start using it. The user can also make some minor modifications to his account. However, it is not very useful from the developer’s point of view.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

It can be considered as a middle layer between SaaS and IaaS. The primary target of PaaS evaluation is for developers in which the development environment can be spin up with a few commands. These environments are designed in such a way that they can satisfy all the development needs, right from having a web application server with a database. To do this, you just require a single command and the service provider does the stuff for you.

Why Use OpenShift?

OpenShift provides a common platform for enterprise units to host their applications on cloud without worrying about the underlying operating system. This makes it very easy to use, develop, and deploy applications on cloud. One of the key features is, it provides managed hardware and network resources for all kinds of development and testing. With OpenShift, PaaS developer has the freedom to design their required environment with specifications.

OpenShift provides different kind of service level agreement when it comes to service plans.

Free − This plan is limited to three years with 1GB space for each.

Bronze − This plan includes 3 years and expands up to 16 years with 1GB space per year.

Sliver − This is 16-year plan of bronze, however, has a storage capacity of 6GB with no additional cost.

Other than the above features, OpenShift also offers on-premises version known as OpenShift Enterprise. In OpenShift, developers have the leverage to design scalable and non-scalable applications and these designs are implemented using HAproxy servers.


There are multiple features supported by OpenShift. Few of them are −

  • Multiple Language Support
  • Multiple Database Support
  • Extensible Cartridge System
  • Source Code Version Management
  • One-Click Deployment
  • Multi Environment Support
  • Standardized Developers’ workflow
  • Dependency and Build Management
  • Automatic Application Scaling
  • Responsive Web Console
  • Rich Command-line Toolset
  • Remote SSH Login to Applications
  • Rest API Support
  • Self-service On Demand Application Stack
  • Built-in Database Services
  • Continuous Integration and Release Management
  • IDE Integration
  • Remote Debugging of Applications