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When should I use Red Hat OpenShift PaaS?

Most major cloud providers have a platform as a service offering. So what makes Red Hat's OpenShift platform stand out?

When choosing a platform as a service offering, it's important to evaluate each service and determine how it meets your business and development needs.

One common platform as a service (PaaS) offering for the enterprise is OpenShift, Red Hat's open source cloud development platform. OpenShift is well-suited for Web application developers, especially those with complicated stacks and development environments. Like all PaaS offerings, OpenShift abstracts machines and provides managed software components.

With Red Hat OpenShift PaaS, developers specify gears -- or virtual environments with a particular computer, memory and persistent storage configuration -- instead of configuring virtual machines. The smallest OpenShift gears provide 512 MB RAM, 100 MB of swap space and 1 GB of disk space. The largest gear is configured with 2 GB of RAM, 100 MB of swap space and 1 GB of disk storage. OpenShift cartridges are managed software components that run in a gear. Red Hat offers a wide range of cartridges including Ruby, PHP, Perl, PostgreSQL and MySQL.

The online version of Red Hat OpenShift PaaS is available in three subscription plans:

  • Free: This plan is limited to three small gears with 1 GB per gear. It comes with community support.
  • Bronze: This plan includes three small free gears, but can have up to 16 gears of various sizes, at 1 GB per gear. It also comes with community support.
  • Silver: This plan is similar to Bronze, in terms of gear number and size, but provides up to 6 GB per gear at no additional cost. It comes with Red Hat Professional support.

In addition to the online version, Red Hat offers an on-premises version of OpenShift, called OpenShift Enterprise. OpenShift Origin is the hosting platform that serves as the foundation for OpenShift Online and OpenShift Enterprise.

With OpenShift, developers deploy resources and code using either the administration console or the command-line interface. The command options are high level. For example, a single command can deploy an application stack, including database, application server and Web server.

Applications are designated as scalable or nonscalable, and the former are deployed with an HAProxy gear for load balancing.  In addition, OpenShift is designed to work with Git repositories to further streamline the deployment process.

There are various PaaS options to choose from; some specialize in particular platforms or languages. If you need a NoSQL database, you can use MongoDB, but if you need a relational data store, you have PostgreSQL and MySQL to choose from.

Next Steps

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