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In May 2017, at its largest developer conference ever, Red Hat announced two major products, OpenShift.io and the Container Health Index. Just weeks later Red Hat moved to acquire Codenvy, a maker of cloud-native workspace management tools designed to help development teams coordinate the creation of container-based applications.
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As enterprises and commercial developers seek to speed development, improve platform portability, and eliminate the configuration hassles associated with multiple local development workstations, application container technology, supported by microservices and APIs, is fueling a frenzy in cloud and mobile application development. With the Codenvy acquisition, Red Hat is moving to strengthen its position.
According to Codenvy CEO Tyler Jewell, the Codenvy product is based on Eclipse Che, the open source cloud-based IDE (integrated development environment). Che supports collaborative development teams on a scalable workspace platform and allows multiple virtual machines to be mounted in the workspace.
"What we're trying to do is make it easier for developers to create applications and maintain their local development environment," said Harry Mower, senior director of developer programs at Red Hat. "Developers spend an inordinate amount of time maintaining their local machine. We want to make that easier in a way that [leverages] containers." It's frustrating for developers when they set up their local machine and it doesn't match what's in production or isn't consistent with the rest of the team, he said.
Jewell said this rapid adoption of application containers has heightened the need for orchestration standards and that this should be the cloud computing industry's next endeavor. "Kubernetes and Red Hat's OpenShift are leading the way in this space," he said When Red Hat shared its container vision the decision to hop on board became a "no-brainer."
This technology-and-tools drive, exemplified by the Codenvy acquisition, is directed not just at the applications being built, but more so at the developers who build them. It's a drive to get developer tools off the desktop and into the cloud, simplifying the process and ensuring that access from anywhere or any device yields identical results.
Harry Mowersenior director of developer programs, Red Hat
"What we are enabling, particularly through OpenShift.io, is letting developers pick the code and technologies they want to use and automatically create their development environment for them in a way that is automatically containerized," Mower said. "It also ensures that whatever is in that container, whatever they're developing against, is the same as what everyone else on the project is using, so there's no worry of mismatched environments between the teams and what's in production." One common frustration the Codenvy acquisition seeks to mitigate is the frustration developers experience when they set up a local machine and it doesn't match what's in production or is inconsistent with the rest of the team. "We've solved a few problems with this cloud-based, containerized, workspace approach," Mower said.
One user of Codenvy and Eclipse Che that supports the acquisition is Maximilian Odendahl, CEO and co-founder of Silexica, a German provider of software design automation tools for analyzing, optimizing and implementing complex multicore software.
"When looking for a way to bring our product to the cloud, we found the Eclipse Che product and Codenvy. I believed, based on the architecture and flexibility, that this would be the long-term future of software development," Odendahl said. "Seeing this supported by Red Hat, I
believe this is good news for the long-term success of the Eclipse Che platform."
Continuing container crush
Red Hat's move comes at a time when container popularity is soaring. In a January 2017 report, 451 Research said the application container market, which reached $762 million in 2016, is forecast to expand at an astonishing 40% compound annual growth rate over the next four years, hitting $2.7 billion in 2020.
Writing in the January report, Jay Lyman, an analyst who follows cloud management and container technology at 451 Research, said a major growth factor is that the concept is now considered proven, driving movement beyond mere development and testing to full-scale production. That, he said is resulting in an impressive adoption growth profile for a technology that has only been in the enterprise for a few years. In other words, enterprises consider container technology mature and trustworthy.
Already filled to the brim, Red Hat's acquisition portfolio, including the Codenvy acquisition, now numbers an even two dozen tools and technology companies since January 2000.
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