AWS Architecture Blog

Improve Productivity and Reduce Overhead Expenses with Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated on AWS

Red Hat OpenShift on AWS helps you develop, deploy, and manage container-based applications across on-premises and cloud environments. A recent case study from Cathay Pacific Airways proved that the use of the Red Hat OpenShift application platform can significantly improve developer productivity and reduce operational overhead by automating infrastructure, application deployment, and scaling. In this post, I explore how the architectural implementation and customization options of Red Hat OpenShift dedicated on AWS can cater to a variety of customer needs.

Red Hat OpenShift is a turn key solution providing  a container runtime, Kubernetes orchestration, container image repositories, pipeline, build process, monitoring, logging, role-based access control, granular policy-based control, and abstractions to simplify functions. Deploying a single turnkey solution, instead of building and integrating a collection of independent solutions or services, allows you to invest more time and effort in building meaningful applications for your business.

In the past, Red Hat OpenShift deployed on Amazon EC2 using an automated provisioning process with an open source solution, like the Red Hat OpenShift on AWS Quick Start. The Red Hat OpenShift Quick Start is an infrastructure as code solution which accelerates customer provisioning of Red Hat OpenShift on AWS. The OpenShift Quick Start adheres to the reference architecture to deploy Red Hat OpenShift on AWS in a resilient, scalable, well-architected manner. This reference architecture sees the control plane as a collection of load balanced master nodes for traffic routing, session state, scheduling, and monitoring. It also contains the application nodes where the customer’s containerized workloads run. This solution allowed customers to get up and running within three hours; however, it did not reduce management overhead because customers were required to monitor and maintain the infrastructure of the Red Hat OpenShift cluster.

Red Hat and AWS listened to customer feedback and created Red Hat OpenShift dedicated, a fully managed OpenShift implementation running exclusively on AWS. This implementation monitors the layers and functions, scales the layers to cater to consumption needs, and addresses operational concerns.

Customers now have access to a platform that helps manage control planes for business-critical solutions, like their developer and operational platforms.

Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated Infrastructure on AWS

You can purchase Red Hat OpenShift dedicated through the Red Hat account team. Red Hat OpenShift dedicated comes in two varieties: the Standard edition and the Cloud Choice edition (bring your own cloud).

redhar-openshit options

Figure 1: Red Hat OpenShift architecture illustrating master and infrastructure nodes spread over three Availability Zones and placed behind elastic load balancers.

Red Hat OpenShift dedicated adheres to the reference architecture defined by AWS and Red Hat. Master and infrastructure layers are spread across three AWS availability zones providing resilience within the OpenShift solution, as well as the underlying infrastructure.

Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated Standard Edition

In the Red Hat OpenShift dedicated standard edition, Red Hat deploys the OpenShift cluster into an AWS account owned and managed by Red Hat. Red Hat provides an aggregated bill for the OpenShift subscription fees, management fees, and AWS billing. This edition is ideal for customers who want everything to be managed for them. The Red Hat site reliability engineering  team (SRE) will monitor and manage healing, scaling, and patching of the cluster.

Red Hat OpenShift Cloud Choice Edition

The cloud choice edition allows customers to create their own AWS account, and then have the Red Hat OpenShift dedicated infrastructure provisioned into their existing account. The Red Hat SRE team provisions the Red Hat OpenShift cluster into the customer owned AWS account and manages the solution via IAM roles.

Figure 2: Red Hat OpenShift Cloud Choice IAM role separation

Red Hat provides billing for the Red Hat OpenShift Cloud Choice subscription and management fees, and AWS provides billing for the AWS resources. Keeping the Red Hat OpenShift infrastructure within your AWS account allows better cost controls.

Red Hat OpenShift Cloud Choice provides visibility into the resources running in your account; which is desirable if you have regulatory and auditing concerns. You can inspect, monitor, and audit resources within the AWS account — taking advantage of the rich AWS service set (AWS CloudTrail, AWS config, AWS CloudWatch, and AWS cost explorer).

You can also take advantage of cost management solutions like AWS organizations and consolidated billing. Customers with multiple business units using AWS can combine the usage across their accounts to share the volume pricing discounts resulting in cost savings for projects, departments, and companies.

Red Hat OpenShift Cloud Choice dedicated cannot be deployed into an account currently hosting other applications and resources. In order to maintain separation of control with the managed service, Red Hat OpenShift Cloud Choice dedicated requires an AWS account dedicated to the managed Red Hat OpenShift solution.

You can take advantage of cost reductions of up to 70% using Reserved Instances, which match the pervasive running instances. This is ideal for the master and infrastructure nodes of the Red Hat OpenShift solutions running in your account. The reference architecture for Red Hat OpenShift on AWS recommends spanning  nodes over three availability zones, which translates to three master instances. The master and infrastructure nodes scale differently; so, there will be three additional instances for the infrastructure nodes. Purchasing reserved instances to offset the costs of the master nodes and the infrastructure nodes can free up funds for your next project.

Interactions

DevOps teams using either edition of Red Hat OpenShift dedicated have a rich console experience providing control over networking between application workloads, storage, and monitoring. Granular drill down consoles enable operations teams to focus on what is most critical to their organization.

Each interface is controlled through granular role-based access control. Teams have visibility of high-level cluster overviews where they are able to see visualizations of the overall health of the cluster; and they have access to more granular overviews of views of hosts, nodes, and containers. Application owners, key stake holders, and operations teams have access to a customizable dashboard displaying the running state. Teams can drill down to the underlying nodes, and further into the PODs and containers, should they wish to explore the status or overall health of the containerized micro services. The cluster-wide event stream provides the same drill down experience to logging events.

The drill down console menu options are illustrated in the screenshots below:

In summary, the partnership of Red Hat and AWS created a fully managed solution which directly answers customer feedback requests for a fully managed application platform running on the availability, scalability, and cost benefits of AWS. The solution allows visibility and control whenever and wherever you need it.