Containers are largely a Linux technology. But Microsoft, besides supporting Linux containers on Windows 10 and Azure, also has its own Windows-based containers. So it is that many Microsoft-oriented companies run both Linux and Windows containers. After all, these days, there are more Linux virtual machines (VM)s and containers running on Linux on Azure than there are Windows Server VMs. But managing Linux and Windows containers with one interface is not such an easy trick. So, I expect Red Hat to find many customers for its latest OpenShift Kubernetes feature: The ability to run and manage both Linux and Windows containers from one program.
To pull off this trick, Red Hat OpenShift 4.6 uses the Windows Machine Config Operator (WMCO). This is a certified OpenShift operator based on the Kubernetes Operator Framework, which is jointly supported by both Red Hat and Microsoft.
OpenShift users can access WMCO via the Operator Hub to begin managing their Windows Containers within the OpenShift console. Kubernetes cluster administrator can add a Windows worker node as a day 2 operation with a prescribed configuration to an installer provisioned OpenShift 4.6 cluster. The prerequisite is an OpenShift 4.6+ cluster configured with hybrid Open Virtual Networking (OVN) Kubernetes networking. On the Windows side, you’ll need Windows Server Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC): Windows Server 2019 version 10.0.17763.1457 or newer.
In other words, this is not a plug-and-play operation. You’ll need to get it set up just right for it to work.
So what will this bring you? You’ll be able to orchestrate both Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Windows to run as building blocks of applications and supports .NET Core applications, .NET Framework applications, and other Windows applications. Once set up you’ll be able to run Windows containers on OpenShift wherever it is supported across the open hybrid cloud. That includes bare-metal servers, Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and, in the future, VMware vSphere.
Specifically, it will enable you to:
Move Windows containers to Red Hat OpenShift without needing to completely re-architect or write new code.
Lower deployment costs for containerized workloads in heterogeneous IT environments.
Improve productivity and DevOps agility by providing cloud-native management through a single platform.
Greater portability and survivability of applications across hybrid cloud environments, including new public cloud deployments or edge installations.
This new functionality isn’t quite ready for primetime yet. Support for Windows Containers in OpenShift won’t be available until early 2021.