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OpenShift by Red Hat (redhat.com)
329 points by kragniz on May 15, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 112 comments

If you don't like the idea of relying on RedHat to play with this tech, remember that it is Open Source. Download it, use it, heck make a business that builds on it.

(I will say though: they make it extremely easy to get started and I really like using OpenShift so far. I've never used Heroku, but if it's this user friendly i'd definitely have used it before... Why don't they have a free offering for people to test out the service?)

FWIW, heroku does. The first heroku slice for a project is free, with the caveat that it'll be spun down during periods of inactivity.

I imagine that most hobby users of heroku (say for a weekend hackathon) aren't paying anything.

I know of people who deployed prototypes and even production work for clients to Heroku (I did once too ;-)). Quite a few people run Jekyll blogs on there long term for free as well. It's pretty amazing what you can get out of a single dyno for something that's not high traffic (i.e. most apps).

Ah, I hadn't seen that. Thanks!

last I checked, Heroku does have a free offering.

I don't like this "Free" business.

It doesn't make sense and the complete lack of pricing info really puts me off.

So I play around with this, like it and choose to stick with it. They then introduce uncompetitive pricing.. I just wasted my time. They do not need to give exact pricing - they might not know at the moment - but they should at least give an overview of what they plan to do.

> We will keep this free plan for the foreseeable future. The free plan allows...

> This free plan will exist while we develop and test the service. As the service becomes stable we will be introducing paid plans and you will be asked to upgrade.

These 2 statements make sense to me. The fact they mention nothing about pricing on their site confuses and annoys me.

Not sure where the second statement came from but if you can let me know the source, I can correct it.

I can represent OpenShift fairly well. We will always have a free level of service and we are trying very hard to keep what is free today, free forever. We have tweaked a couple of things based on user feedback but the goal is to have a meaningful free offering.

At the same time, we are getting constant feedback that users want more than just the free offering. We also know that with pricing, they will want stability and predictability in pricing so we've spent a lot of time to get users involved and a lot of feedback in the pricing before we launch it. We want that pricing to be sustainable as well as valuable to users.

Hope this helps

Thank you for the clarifacation. The service sounds interesting.

How are you keeping the free plan going now though? Who's paying for it? RedHat doesn't exactly strike me as the kind of company that's wallowing in spare cash.

Red Hat is funding the free plan right now. One of the reasons we started the service this way was so that we would really understand cost control in the public cloud from the point of view of customers. That lead us down the multi-tenancy path (lots of workloads on a single VM). SELinux and Linux Control Groups (as well as a lot of other tech) have been key for us in keeping costs under control.

Check out the OpenShift Origin work (https://github.com/openshift/crankcase) if you are interested in the code that we use to run all of this.

I don't know how much was profit, but they did hit $1 bn in revenue recently and an in share price. http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/03/red-hat-hits-a-billi...

> So I play around with this, like it and choose to stick with it. They then introduce uncompetitive pricing.. I just wasted my time.

No, this is not Google AppEngine. The platform is opensourced. You can host this "cloud" on your own servers or rely on some 3rd party provider.

Also, take the Java platform for example: it's good old (okay, not old) Java EE 6. Just take your app and deploy it wherever you want (JBoss, Glassfish, Websphere, etc). On AppEngine, you have a blacklisted Java API, proprietary API for common tasks like threads, etc.

I'm still paying for the mistake of deploying on the App Engine. BTW, I spoke with open shift folks and they are going to provide a way to migrate your app to openshift

I have a feeling Red Hat is going to try to make money off the private cloud businesses. Pitch OpenShift + support as an offering for companies to use internally. The free hosting that they're currently offering is just a way to get beta testers. Anything they make off of future plans would be icing on the cake.

They might be holding off on announcing pricing until they see get enough real-world usage to determine what it'll cost to provide the service. Even Google underestimated with App Engine, and came out of beta with an unpopular price jump for some people.

The problem with free stuff is the lack of support. If I mess something up and my site crashes after hitting the HN front page, I want someone to throw money at until things work again.

That is likely where the introduction of pricing plans comes in. Redhat is still in business (ie, making money) because they support the enterprise usage of their products, and do it well.

While OpenShift doesn't have a paid support model per say, there is a very active community (which includes developers constantly monitoring forums, IRC, and Bugzilla, as well as Twitter). Chances are, if you hit a problem, you'll have a bunch of people jumping on it very quickly.

There forums are here: https://openshift.redhat.com/community/ as well as a very active IRC channel (#openshift on FreeNode)

I want someone to throw money at until things work

In that case, although you can certainly pay for support (as others have pointed out)—but you're probably not the intended audience for this service.

Actually you are the intended audience. We are keenly aware that people want this capability. The free tier won't have this built in, but the other tiers will.

From the ToS ( https://openshift.redhat.com/app/legal/site_terms ): "you give Red Hat a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through the web site"

That makes me a little nervous.

Here is the clause from the OpenShift Preview Services ToS (not the site terms): https://openshift.redhat.com/app/legal/services_agreement

3.3. Your License to Red Hat. You hereby grant to Red Hat a non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty free license to use Your trademarks, trade names and logos in connection with publicizing the Preview Services and communicating with analysts, customers or the press about the Preview Services. Your further grant to Red Hat, and any third party service provider on whose services Red Hat may depend to provide the Preview Services, a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty-free license to make, use, reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute, perform and display Content for the purpose of providing the Preview Services. Except as set forth in this Section, Red Hat obtains no rights in Content under this Agreement.

Thanks for posting the entire clause. Let me just comment as a Red Hat/OpenShift employee with some insight into the business intent behind the legal language.

As you can see from the complete clause that includes "...for the purpose of providing the Preview Services", the license to your content that you grant to Red Hat is really to allow Red Hat to provide the Service. Also the last sentence i.e. "Except as set forth in this Section, Red Hat obtains no rights in Content under this Agreement." should make it clear that there is no other interest in the users content.

I am really confusing by following term and conditions

Rights in Content: By displaying, publishing and making available for download and use by others any content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials ("Content") you give Red Hat a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through the web site. You agree that this license includes a right for Red Hat to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Red Hat has relationships for the provision of services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services. You understand that Red Hat may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Red Hat to take these actions. You confirm and warrant to Red Hat that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.

Oy, not this again. I agree that could be written better, but it's not all that different from Heroku: "...you give Heroku a worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such Application for the sole purpose of enabling Heroku to provide you with the Heroku Services."

That "for the sole purpose of enabling Heroku to provide you with the Heroku Services" makes quite a difference.

> for the purpose of providing the Preview Services

Is it really that different?

I agree that they should clarify the ToS.... but if you don't trust them, then you shouldn't use them no matter what the ToS says.

It's not a question of trust, necessarily. The Heroku TOS uses your IP to provide and serve your app. The Redhat TOS allows them to use your app (without further notice or consent) and your logo, name, and trademarks in their advertising of the service. While in many instances, that's not a bad thing, not everyone wants publicity for a test/private/pre-release app they test on the Openshift service.

Those are the terms of use for the website, not the OpenShift service aren't they?

Isn't this standard boilerplate for ToS for these types of services? They need a "license" from you that covers deploying your software to as many servers as necessary, wherever in the world they host the platform.

you got it - that is why we have these terms - nothing more nefarious than that

I tried the service a couple of months ago and it is really easy to use. Got a blog up and running in no time just to test the waters using bottle, jinja and mongo. No sweat.


If you're interested in checking out how to get mongo running on openshift, here are some things to get started

- Good list of resources: https://openshift.redhat.com/community/developers/mongodb

- Lots of goodies in here: https://github.com/openshift

- Part 1 of a 4-part series on building mobile apps with titanium, mongodb and openshift: http://blog.10gen.com/post/23089705899/mobilize-your-mongodb...

- Upcoming webinar on node.js and mongodb with OpenShift: http://www.10gen.com/events/building-web-services

Disclaimer: I work at 10gen

I wrote a Python web app on OpenShift (Tornado not Django) and really liked it. While I don't have experience with Heroku, I was really impressed with OpenShift.

However, be aware that not everything is enabled yet. I ran into problems when I discovered the multiprocessing package doesn't work (https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=814991).

I have yet to find a service as straightforward as Heroku. Cloudfront comes close... but i get the feeling especially when looking at the documentation that Heroku have really put in a lot of effort into making a simple to use application platform.

Dotcloud does it for me. I'd love to support RedHat though.

Don't hesitate to give us feedback - good, bad and ugly. Email openshift@redhat.com or post on the forums and we'll get right on it. Around docs, we're trying to tune the primary landing spot:


We also love involvement - good, bad and ugly as well ;)


I didn't really like dotcloud when they released their pricing info. It didn't really encourage apps that use a lot of services.

But their new beta pricing of pay per hour per unit of memory is a lot nicer.

I find the memory amounts way to fine grained. It encourages me to have as little buffer as possible. Why pay for 128megs when I can pay for 96?

Never heard of Dotcloud before, anyone have experience hosting a decent size app with them?

Wunderkit (http://wunderkit.com) runs on dotCloud. So doe Punchtab (http://punchtab.com). Both serve many millions of monthly uniques.

Yeah I'm excited about it and it's getting me to finally take the step from traditional web app development (vps, php, etc.) to more easily scalable app development - and it's all open source, no vendor lock-in, and hopefully affordable pricing in the future.

Look forward to seeing more tutorials & code samples online and on their site. For example has anyone tried out meteor (w/node.js & mongodb) with it yet. Also, hopefully it will integrate with some of the browser-based IDEs out there like cloud9.

Did you ask for integration with cloud9? Funny you should mention that: https://openshift.redhat.com/community/blogs/look-ma-no-hand...

How can this be free? If I host a massive application here, will they shut it down or rate limit or how can this work?

the preview is free and has a limit:

"The developer preview supports up to 3 gears per user. You have a quota of 40,000 files, 1GB of storage, and 512MB Memory per gear. It is free to use and you can run your application indefinitely. If you need to increase this quota, please mailto:openshift@redhat.com with your username, domain and Application URL."

from: https://openshift.redhat.com/community/faq/how-many-applicat...


Where can I get more information on Pricing ?

To get more information on the pricing and timing of a paid version of OpenShift please send an email to openshift@redhat.com

I think they mean free as in speech more than free as in beer.

Of course, it is currently in a developer preview and so also free as in beer, but I think that's incidental--this is Red Hat after all; they actually care about users' freedom and they aren't afraid of offering paid plans and support.

Happily, since it's open source, you can just host it yourself if you aren't happy with Red Hat's potential future pricing.

The software is free for you to use to build your own cloud. If you're not a cloud provider you're still going to pay (for production at least).

Has anyone chosen openshift over heroku for django? I didn't see any pricing info; is openshift still in beta?

Beta: yes and no. The implementation has existed for some time and was liberated recently. But the pricing beyond a free slot hasn't been published yet: https://openshift.redhat.com/community/faq#t2n9495

Being entirely open-source, if you outgrow it you can self host or move to an IAAS cloud.

OpenShift is free.

There are hints that it's free only for a preview period. From http://www.redhat.com/products/cloud-computing/openshift/, under the "How To Buy" tab, it calls it a "free developer preview" and says, "OpenShift is currently in developer preview and free to use. Stay tuned—pricing is coming soon."

But what's the catch?

It's Free Software, you can run it yourself or switch providers at will. The catch may be in the lack of features compared to a proprietary option (like Heroku)

From their faq page: To get more information on the pricing and timing of a paid version of OpenShift please send an email to openshift@redhat.com

Yeah, is it free as in beer? For life? No matter how much it has to scale to?

If it is, I would like to understand the reasoning behind that? Is it to gain traction and visibility for Red Hate as a PaaS? And then...

It is in open beta and has big warning labels to not use in production.

The free tier is limited in resources; When you want more, you'll be expected to pay for more (once they begin to offer paid plans).

No mention of pricing anywhere on their site. What?

FAQ has something: "To get more information on the pricing and timing of a paid version of OpenShift please send an email to openshift@redhat.com"

It's in some sort of beta and only limited free tier is available. You can still get it running on your server(s) though.

Very interesting, though documentation doesn't seem to be very comprehensive yet.

There is little information about process management, like https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/process-model

Not to mention how to create custom Cartridges, like you can do with Heroku buildpacks: https://gist.github.com/fe7f04abbd9538b656c5

Couldn't get their client software to work on Ubuntu. Even followed a few tutorials. I think I'm missing something, but haven't a bunch of time to invest.

Thats not really a tutorial, just an introduction on how to install the CLI tools. What's missing is a tutorial on how to use them.

Looks promising, I'll give it a go the first chance I get some spare time! (new baby in the house, so spare time is in short spurts)


I tried openshift a few months ago for Rails. A real pain in the butt. They dont have simple deploy like Heroku. Even heroku can be time consuming in the beginning to get right, openshift was even more complicated. It may work better for Java I don't know, looks like they are right on the bleeding edge with support for Ruby 1.8.7.

Our roadmap has more support for newer versions of Ruby coming soon. We started with the base packages in RHEL but are now working to also bring newer versions as standard cartridges. That said, you can also use a DIY cartridge to get Ruby 1.9.x

Good to know; I just came here to complain. :-)

On the other hand, though, I think you should have probably started with the 1.9.2/1.9.3 series rather than the ancient 1.8.7.

Thank you for posting your experience trying it with rails, I agree deployment of a non-trivial app to heroku can be a pain the first time but once you get everything working its a breeze for subsequent deployments.

the rubyist in me is happy to report that openshift is written largely in ruby. so all ruby programmers should try running openshift in their own machinea

The documentation is frankly awful. For example, when getting the status:

rhc domain status -l <myemailhere> I get an error about ~/.ssh/config not existing. I added my ssh key via the web interface and have no idea what's going on here.

In looking at the User Guide, I find it gets me no where. http://docs.redhat.com/docs/en-US/OpenShift/2.0/html/User_Gu...

The relevant message here is:

"If your system fails any of the tests, make a note of the error message and consult the relevant section of the OpenShift User Guide for further information."

Nothing like a circular reference that leads to nowhere.

You probably created your domain and application through the web interface. This is an issue we are working through now - sorry we haven't gotten to it yet - it will be fixed in the next couple of sprints. The problem is that your SSH env has not been set up to work with the RHC tools yet. They expect a configure file in the .ssh directory to specify which key talks to the *.rhcloud.com domain. This KB article may help you get started: https://openshift.redhat.com/community/kb/kb-e1034-ssh-facts... Again, my apologies and we are actively working on that story right now.

Do we have any major computing player remaining without an app cloud offering or plan?


iCloud has developer APIs - all your code just happens to run on the OS X and iOS clients (which are distributed via the App Store, which sits in the cloud).

Why all PaaS providers (Heroku, CF, OpenShift) building their CLI tools using Ruby? Are they copying Heroku? Maybe because Python used for OS itself? What dotCloud uses?

dotCloud's cli is written in Python. In the long run I don't think it matters which language it's written in - as long as it's easy to install on every computer.

Tsk tsk.. ruby 1.8.7 by default

Yeah, defaults are always tough to choose and we tend to default to what is in RHEL. That said, Ruby comes up a lot and we are actively working on a slick 1.9.x experience out of the box. In the meantime (I know it's a hassle) but we've built the underlying foundation to let you do what you want. For example:


Also... if you wouldn't mind helping vote it up, that would help:


FWIW, here is a description how different ruby versions are handled with rbenv by 37signals:


and python 2.6 and PostgreSQL 8.4 and Perl 5.10. They definitely don't seem to be aiming for the "cutting edge" crowd.

Redhat stopped targeting the "cutting edge" demographic about 10 years ago. They enlist them as QA for their real customers now.

It is obviously running RHEL 6.2 default packages. Probably a better idea than a full OS upgrade every 6 months.

Interesting that the install instructions for Red Hat Linux distributions is far more complicated than that of other Linux distributions.

But seriously, if they are offering a free platform to anyone with an email address then what sort of precautions are they taking to prevent abuse?

Are we talking content abuse? It's in their ToS if we are. Not entirely sure how effective they're going to be at monitoring malicious content, but it's there.

Here's Matt describing what is done to create security and prevent abuse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=y...!

I wish they'd list pricing in the event you grow beyond the free plan. Reluctant to even bother trying without knowing that type of information.

just a quick compliment to RH; loving how the employees are giving constructive feedback on the comments here :)

How does it compare to CloudFoundry? Aside from having official PHP support, that is.

CloudFoundry's PHP support is also official. While it's not yet available through cloudfoundry.com, you can use it now with AppFog (http://appfog.com).

Disclaimer: I work at AppFog and contributed to the initial version of PHP support for the CloudFoundry open source project at https://github.com/cloudfoundry.

And official Python support and having a custom cartridge system

For Java folks: JBoss.

I'm generally a fan of RedHat, but not having details on the most important point of OpenShift that will decide whether it will fail or succeed in the market (i.e. the price) is a scummy play - that I only expected from enterprises. I hope these "enterprise marketing" tactics aren't a trend for RedHat.

This is not a bait and switch. We are trying to make sure we get the pricing right. That said - we plan to make the current free tier free even when we announce pricing. We are also committed to being competitive in terms of pricing. We will be announcing pricing this summer.

But you've "announced" your cloud platform, yet I can't justify any time learning or becoming familiar with it since there is no idea on price - it's frustrating.

Does the other cloud providers seem reasonable to you? If so then you might want to spend time investigating. As a dev evangelist for OpenShift, I can say it doesn't take much time to get a simple app up and running. Come by #openshift on freenode and we can help you if you get stuck

No they don't - that's my point (Only AppEngine did before they increased their prices). Because of the high cost of available clouds I don't use any clouds and just run my own dedicated server.

If you're not paying, you're the product.

It's in developer preview, they're hoping you tell your friends and generate buzz.

Right. You're the product. In this case, you are the marketing product. It's not always bad to be the product. Cows eat for free, right? Just a good thing to keep in mind.


Honestly the buzz I want to hear is "you guys suck, here's 10 ways you could be better" before we start taking money, at which point it's "you guys suck and you're taking our money, give me my money back". I'm trying to build the service I would use, and the intent as mhicks said up above is to always have a free tier so that folks get a chance to try it out before they commit.

Best of luck with this project. Its encouraging to see a large organization that is so committed to open source taking a stake in PaaS!

moreover, paying also does not mean you are not the product.

Paying for what now? They won't host app for free, that's for sure. But I don't see how having the platform opensourced can hurt you as a customer. Whether you choose Red Hat or someone else.

Well, we do provide a level of free hosting - trying to keep it meaningful but it's certainly not unlimited. We will offer pricing plans for expansion and we also allow people to move off the platform (with their data) to another environment if they choose (see: rhc app snapshot).

We also wanted to make sure we open sourced the code itself. As you mentioned, that gives you some assurance outside of the service or any specific vendor.

This is cool!

I made a mental typo when reading the name and omitted the "f."

I do that about 3 times a day. I also got rejected for an openshift license plate because of that significant f...

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