Microsoft teams up with Red Hat to bring Windows Server containers to OpenShift

Microsoft and Red Hat still feel like odd bedfellows, given that they both want the enterprise to use their own operating systems and services. Still, Microsoft has long supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux on its Azure platform, for example, and the two obviously share quite a few customers. Today, the two companies are expanding on this partnership.

As Red Hat and Microsoft announced today, Red Hat’s OpenShift container platform will soon support Windows Server containers, Microsoft’s container technology for running Windows applications in containers.

As Red Hat’s Matt Hicks and Microsoft’s Mike NeilĀ noted when I talked to them ahead of today’s announcement, the idea here is to enable more enterprises to lift and shift their existing workloads — which often run on Windows Server — to containers. That’s especially important for enterprises that want to modernize their development workflows. This move will also make OpenShift the first Kubernetes-based container platform to support both Linux and Windows containers.

Hicks noted that Red Hat first demonstrated this ability at the Red Hat Summit in May and that his team immediately saw a lot of inbound interest in this capability. For now, though, these companies will still have to wait a bit as the first technology preview won’t arrive until Spring 2018.

In early 2018, Red Hat will also bring its OpenShift Dedicated service — its fully-managed version of OpenShift that can currently run on AWS and Google Cloud Platform — to Azure. When I asked Hicks why it took so long for Red Hat to support Azure, he noted that the team had to do quite a bit of work to optimize the service for Azure and to train its teams in managing the service on Microsoft’s cloud platform.

In addition to these two announcements, Red Hat also today said that it is in the process of certifying Microsoft’s SQL Server for Linux on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenShift. SQL Server for Linux on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenShift will be supported by Microsoft and Red Hat and should be available in the next few months.