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Microsoft & Red Hat Broaden Hybrid Container Support

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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A new deal sees the two companies making it easier to deploy Red Hat and Microsoft technologies in hybrid application containers

Microsoft and Red Hat have expanded their partnership around Windows Server with broader enterprise support for hybrid containers.

The companies plan to launch native support for Windows Server containers on Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated support on Azure and support for SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and OpenShift.

Cloud rivalry

OpenShift, Red Hat’s platform for application containers, is based on Kubernetes and Red Hat is planning support for cross-platform Linux and Windows workloads. Red Hat demonstrated the capability in May of this year and plans to introduce a technology preview of Windows Server support in the spring of 2018.

Red Hat and Microsoft long resisted collaborating due to a rivalry in the enterprise server market that dates back to the time when Microsoft lambasted Linux and open source in general as a ‘cancer’.

AzureMicrosoft initially withheld support for Red Hat Linux on its Azure cloud platform long after it had introduced support for rival distributions including Ubuntu, CentOS, Oracle Linux, SUSE and openSUSE.

The collaboration deal they eventually announced in November 2015 reportedly included a deal between the two companies in which they agreed not to pursue patent lawsuits against one another or the other company’s customers. The patent arrangement wasn’t publicly disclosed, but was reported by ZDNet.

Cross-platform operation

Microsoft on Tuesday acknowledged the two companies had finally agreed to work together due to customer pressure.

“It wasn’t long ago that the idea of these two companies working together would have been almost inconceivable,” wrote Azure architect John Gossman in a blog post. “We’ve jointly recognised that customers aren’t choosing Red Hat or Microsoft… they chose to use both technologies.”

Grossman said the announcement makes it easier for customers to choose the technology best suited for a particular job.

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“With this week’s announcement a customer running OpenShift can use Linux and Windows containers together in a single cluster, they can use .NET Core 2.0 in a container on OpenShift, and SQL Server on either operating system and OpenShift, either on Azure or in their own datacenters,” he wrote.

The companies first demonstrated SQL Server running on Red Hat’s flagship RHEL operating system last year. SQL Server for RHEL and Red Hat OpenShift is set for general availability in the autumn, the companies said.

In May Amazon and Red Hat announced a deal under which Amazon will more closely integrate OpenShift with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform, while Red Hata will align RHEL development and release dates with AWS.

The RHEL-AWS integration announced at that time is set to be made generally available this autumn.

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