Why Kubernetes is The New Application Server

Have you ever wondered why you are deploying your multi-platform applications using containers? Is it just a matter of “following the hype”? In this article, I’m going to ask some provocative questions to make my case for Why Kubernetes is the new application server.

You might have noticed that the majority of languages are interpreted and use “runtimes” to execute your source code. In theory, most Node.js, Python, and Ruby code can be easily moved from one platform (Windows, Mac, Linux) to another platform. Java applications go even further by having the compiled Java class turned into a bytecode, capable of running anywhere that has a JVM (Java Virtual Machine).

The Java ecosystem provides a standard format to distribute all Java classes that are part of the same application. You can package these classes as a JAR (Java Archive), WAR (Web Archive), and EAR (Enterprise Archive) that contains the front end, back end, and libraries embedded. So I ask you: Why do you use containers to distribute your Java application? Isn’t it already supposed to be easily portable between environments?

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Building Container-Native Node.js Applications with Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes and Istio

For developers working on a Kubernetes-based application environment such as Red Hat OpenShift, there are a number things that need to be considered to fully take advantage of the significant benefits provided by these technologies, including:

  • How do I communicate with the orchestration layer to indicate the application is operating correctly and is available to receive traffic?
  • What happens if the application detects a system fault, and how does the application relay this to the orchestration layer?
  • How can I accurately trace traffic flow between my applications in order to identify potential bottlenecks?
  • What tools can I use to easily deploy my updated application as part of my standard toolchain?
  • What happens if I introduce a network fault between my services, and how do I test this scenario?

These questions are central to building container-native solutions. At Red Hat, we define container-native as applications that conform to the following key tenets:

  • DevOps automation
  • Single concern principle
  • Service discovery
  • High observability
  • Lifecycle conformance
  • Runtime confinement
  • Process disposability
  • Image immutability

This may seem like a lot of overhead on top of the core application logic. Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR) and Istio provide developers with tools to adhere to these principles with minimal overhead in terms of coding and implementation.

In this blog post, we’re specifically focusing on how RHOAR and Istio combine to provide tools for DevOps automation, lifecycle conformance, high observability, and runtime confinement.

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How to Debug Your Node.js Application on OpenShift with Chrome DevTools

Recently, I wrote a post called Zero to Express on OpenShift in Three Commands, which shows how to get started using Node.js, Express, and OpenShift together as fast as possible using the Node.js s2i (source-to-image) images that were recently released as part of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR).

This post will add to the last one and show how we can start to debug and inspect our running code using the Chrome Developer Tools (DevTools) inspector.

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Getting Started with Istio and Jaeger on Your Laptop

[Cross posted from the OpenShift blog]

About a year ago Red Hat announced its participation as a launch partner of the Istio project, a service mesh technology that creates an application focused network that transparently protects the applications from abnormalities in environments. The main goals of Istio are enhancing overall application security and availability through many different capabilities such as intelligent routing, circuit breaking, mutual TLS, rating, and limiting among others. Ultimately Istio is about helping organizations develop and deploy resilient, secure applications and services using advanced design and deployment patterns that are baked into the platform.

As part of our investments in making the technology easily consumable to Kubernetes and OpenShift users, Red Hat has created a ton of content:

  • learn.openshift.com: A web-based OpenShift and Kubernetes learning environment where users get to interact through the web browser with a real running instance of OpenShift and Istio service mesh with zero install time and no sign-up required.
  • Istio tutorial: Want to try the web-based scenario yourself from scratch? This Git repo contains instructions on how to set up an environment for yourself.
  • Introducing Istio Service Mesh for Microservices book by Christian Posta and Burr Sutter
  • Blog posts on the OpenShift and Red Hat Developer blogs

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Next DevNation Live: Enterprise Node.js on OpenShift, April 19th, 12 p.m. EDT

The next online DevNation Live Tech Talk is Thursday, April 19th at 12pm EDT. The topic is “Enterprise Node.js on Red Hat OpenShift” presented by Lance Ball, and hosted by Burr Sutter. The popularity of JavaScript on the front end and the JSON format for data has led to a “JavaScript Everywhere” movement with Node.js at the center. Node.js offers developers an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that is perfect for high concurrency, low-latency applications that run across distributed devices. Its reactive architecture makes it an ideal technology for containerized microservices architectures you’ve been hearing so much about.

What does this mean for your enterprise? Where does it fit, and how can Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes help you use this technology?

Join this session for the answers. We’ll also demonstrate how quickly you can set up non-trivial enterprise-grade Node.js applications on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. We’ll explore how to integrate with other open source technologies, such as Istio, and discuss strategies for your Node.js development and deployment pipeline, including canary and blue/green deployment strategies.

Register now and join the live presentation at 12 p.m. EDT, Thursday, April 19th. 

Session Agenda

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Bringing Coolstore Microservices to the Service Mesh: Part 2–Manual Injection

Coolstore+Istio Logo

In the first part of this series we explored the Istio project and how Red Hat is committed to and actively involved in the project and working to integrate it into Kubernetes and OpenShift to bring the benefits of a service mesh to our customers and the wider communities involved. If you want to play with Istio, check out the service mesh tutorials on learn.openshift.com. If you want to install it, follow the Istio Kubernetes quickstart instructions and install it on OpenShift 3.7 or later. Also don’t miss Don Schenck’s series of blogs on Istio technology in general to learn more about it and what Red Hat is doing in this space.

In this post, we will deploy the existing Coolstore microservices demo as a service mesh and start to demonstrate the tangible value you can get out of the system without any major rewrite or rearchitecture of the existing app. We’ll also improve our project along the way to adhere to Istio (and general microservice) best practices. In the real world, your applications and developers often make bad assumptions or fail to implement best practices, so with this information you can learn something about your own projects. For Coolstore, many of these workarounds will eventually find their way into the source code of the demo.

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Announcing: Node.js General Availability in Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes

Node.js Foundation Logo

Summary

Today Red Hat is making Node.js generally available to Red Hat customers through a subscription to Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR). RHOAR provides application developers with a variety of application runtimes running on the OpenShift Container Platform.

Node.js is based on the V8 JavaScript engine and allows you to write server-side JavaScript applications. Node.js joins the existing set of supported runtimes and offers developers an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

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