Red Hat Expands OpenShift PaaS for Cloud Development

by Sean Michael Kerner

Platform as a Service offering advances with some new Java dev features, but it's still not open source (yet).

When it comes to the cloud, simply using the cloud for deployment isn't always enough. The cloud can also be used for application development as well, which is the direction that Red Hat's OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering is now going.

Red Hat is expanding OpenShift with Java build and development tools support to enable organizations to both build and deploy in the cloud.

"Previously you would code and do your dependency resolution in your own data center, your laptop or wherever you are working," Isaac Roth, PaaS Master at Red Hat told InternetNews.com. "Then you would upload the big binary object into the cloud which takes a long time to upload and then that would get deployed by the PaaS."

The new version of OpenShift changes that approach. The JBoss Tools IDE has now been integrated with OpenShift, so it's faster to deploy and easier to setup. Additionally, Apache Maven and the Jenkins Continuous Integration (CI) system are also integrated with OpenShift.

"So now all the dependency resolutions, loading of libraries and the building and compiling are done in the cloud," Roth explained. "So as a developer you've got a much faster experience that is also lightweight."

While Red Hat is moving development towards the cloud, there is still a local component. Jason Andersen, Director of Product Line Management for JBoss at Red Hat explained that JBoss Tools are installed on the local computer and is based on Eclipse.

"You're now offloading the other services around compilation and that's the important thing," Andersen said. "Even if your machine can run Eclipse, sometimes you can't run the additional application servers running on the local machine."

According to Andersen, the traditional bottlenecks of developing on the desktop have been somewhat alleviated with OpenShift. While the entire development process is not currently encapsulated in the cloud, accessible via a browser, Andersen noted that the heavier services can be offloaded.

While the mainline Eclipse IDE is currently a desktop based IDE, there is an Eclipse project called Orion that is working on a browser based IDE. From a roadmap perspective, Andersen said that there is nothing specific on the OpenShift roadmap related to Orion. That said, Roth noted that Red Hat is currently working with a number of Cloud IDE partners including the eXo Cloud IDE effort.

From a build perspective, Red Hat's decision to use Jenkins instead of the Hudson project is all about support. Jenkins is a fork of the Hudson project. According to Roth, Jenkins is currently the more advanced project and it has community support around it.

The OpenShift project grew out of technology that Red Hat gained through the acquisition of cloud tools vendor Makara in 2010.

Roth noted that currently approximately half of the OpenShift codebase comes from Makara. He added that it is changing as the pace of development at Red Hat is faster and the development team has grown.

The Makara bits were not originally open source, which has restricted Red Hat from releasing OpenShift as a complete open source project. The move to make OpenShift entirely open source is an ongoing process.

"We're getting there and we're expecting to have OpenShift as open source soon," Roth said. "I don't know if we have a particular time frame, but it will be as soon as we can."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

This article was originally published on Tuesday Nov 15th 2011
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