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Updates to Red Hat OpenShift 4.6 include added features to OpenShift Virtualization, such as support for running mixed applications on VMs, the ability to bring VMs to OpenShift with native Kubernetes tools and support for modernizing VMs to containers.
The popularity of containers -- especially, Docker and Kubernetes -- spawned a trend in software development. For example, VMware hired key Kubernetes technical talent to rearchitect the entire control plane of its virtualization platform. Red Hat has also adopted Kubernetes as the management foundation for OpenShift.
OpenShift uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS for the Kubernetes primary node as well as the managed container host. Red Hat OpenShift 4.6 uses Kubernetes 1.19 as its foundation, and both Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure support OpenShift.
An introduction to OpenShift Virtualization
One of the more important updates to Red Hat 4.6 is the update to OpenShift Virtualization 2.5. OpenShift Virtualization -- a component within OpenShift -- is the downstream version of the KubeVirt project, which enables IT administrators to manage VMs alongside containers in Kubernetes.
Organizations are moving toward a container-based development model, but containers must integrate well with VM-based applications because VMs continue to run many mission-critical workloads. Organizations that want to run VMs alongside containers require a hybrid management platform capable of automating configurations and deployments.
OpenShift Virtualization also provides the most common storage features used on traditional virtualization platforms, such as VM live migration, host-assisted VM disk cloning, storage-assisted VM disk cloning and VM snapshots. But admins can't live migrate VMs using Single Root I/O Virtualization or GPU passthrough features in the OpenShift Virtualization platform as they can with VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. The storage providers that organizations use must support Kubernetes and CSI snapshot APIs for them to take advantage of OpenShift Virtualization.
OpenShift Virtualization 2.5 new and updated features
Red Hat OpenShift Virtualization 2.5 introduced a host of new and updated features, including simplified migration of VMs to the OpenShift platform with the Import Virtual Machine wizard. This tool supports migrating VMs from VMware vSphere, Red Hat Virtualization and Red Hat OpenStack Platform. Once admins import a VM, it has full access to shared resources in the OpenShift platform.
In addition, OpenShift Virtualization enables admins to add VMs to new and existing applications that consist of VMs, containers and serverless workloads. This added agility means admins can standardize application delivery with automation, continuous integration and continuous delivery lifecycle workflows.
OpenShift Virtualization also enables admins to modernize VMs as needed. Admins can either continue to run their traditional VMs or use OpenShift Virtualization to run VMs inside containers to better accommodate Kubernetes and open source cloud-native technologies.
Use cases for OpenShift Virtualization
Some admins have large monolithic applications that require significant investment to redesign. The OpenShift Virtualization platform is ideal for facilitating large migration projects. For example, admins can use OpenShift Virtualization to run legacy applications in VMs while incrementally replacing some functionalities with microservices running in containers.
OpenShift Virtualization is also ideal for developers who must deliver and manage applications quickly and efficiently because it enables developers to integrate legacy applications hosted on traditional VMs with new or existing container-based technologies.
OpenShift Virtualization management
Seamless integration is the primary goal for many admins. Once admins bring a VM under OpenShift Virtualization management, the VM functions similar to a container. This makes management tasks much simpler and scalable, similar to how admins would scale any other container-based deployment.
OpenShift Virtualization 2.5 also simplifies the process of creating new VMs based on OS image templates. Admins can quickly and efficiently spin up new VMs as they would containers. OS image templates make this process possible by enabling admins to set policies for implementing corporate security rules upon image creation. The OpenShift Virtualization platform uses persistent storage to host these images, which makes them accessible to all OpenShift Virtualization users.