Kubernetes Vs. OpenShift: Which Is Best for You?

Kubernetes Vs. OpenShift: Which Is Best for You?

Kubernetes burst onto the scene as the backbone of DevOps back in 2014, revolutionizing application deployment, scaling, and management. Fast forward, and OpenShift, built on Kubernetes, has emerged, sparking curiosity: why do we need another platform? The answer lies in the distinctions between the two; we're here to highlight those differences. The Kubernetes vs OpenShift debate has been going on for a while, and we are here to put it to rest, so let's get started.

What is Kubernetes? 

Kubernetes, affectionately known as k8s, stands tall as a powerful open-source container orchestration system, automating the deployment and management of applications.

Kubernetes containers are portable and can be run on any infrastructure, whether on the cloud or locally. It allows developers to select their desired container runtimes, storage engines, operating systems, and other critical components for managing Kubernetes environments. Kubernetes seamlessly integrates third-party applications with the Kubernetes API and continually implements the latest updates.

Pros of Kubernetes: 

  • Automated Scaling: Kubernetes continuously and seamlessly manages containerization, dynamically scaling applications based on resource demand, saving you from resource wastage headaches. 
  • Extreme Flexibility: No infrastructure overhaul required! Kubernetes can flexibly deploy on any platform or infrastructure without additional third-party services.
  • Free: Unlike OpenShift, Kubernetes is free for all. It is a powerful way of managing containerized applications and a DIY environment for container orchestration. Kubernetes has pods, nodes, services, and multiple installation options. It has a web-based dashboard for monitoring applications, eases cluster management, and allows greater application control.

Cons of Kubernetes: 

  • Separate Team and Resources Needed: Kubernetes demands dedicated engineering teams and resources for effective implementation and management, which can burden smaller companies financially. 
  • Compromised Security: Kubernetes' complexity, if not properly managed, can lead to vulnerabilities, exposing your system to potential security breaches, just like the infamous Tesla crypto-jacking attack. 

What is the OpenShift Container Platform? 

OpenShift, powered by Kubernetes and developed by Red Hat Inc, is a hybrid cloud application aiming to streamline application development, available through a subscription-based model.

The OpenShift container platform is composed of microservices that store objects, etc. Although it is based on Kubernetes, it is not a Kubernetes distribution. However, it shares core principles like Kubernetes and can deploy containerized applications across server clusters. Both Kubernetes and OpenShift are known to offer load balancing and routing capabilities, and they also support the use of JSON and YAML configuration languages.

Pros of OpenShift: 

  • Enhanced Developer Experience: OpenShift offers a developer's paradise with user-friendly tools, multi-language support, and an integrated development environment, making development tasks a breeze. 
  • Security: Elevate your security game! OpenShift provides advanced security capabilities, such as access controls, networking, and a built-in scanner in the enterprise registry.
  • Serverless – OpenShift uses a serverless cloud computing model and takes an event-driven approach to running code and provisioning infrastructure. It can automatically scale up apps based on event triggers, respond to incoming demands, and free up valuable resources related to networking and computing processes.
  • Integrated Image Registry – Users can manage images and run workloads on their existing infrastructure. OpenShift has no specific infrastructure provisioning prerequisites and can handle cluster workloads with its integrated image registry, which can also be scaled up or down as needed.

Cons of OpenShift: 

  • Small Community: With a smaller community mainly comprising Red Hat developers, finding solutions in OpenShift can sometimes be a bit challenging. 
  • Closed Ecosystem: OpenShift's ecosystem is somewhat closed, limiting usage to a select set of operating systems. 

Differences Between Kubernetes vs. OpenShift

Main Difference: Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform, while OpenShift, developed by Red Hat, is a Kubernetes distribution with added developer tools, security features, and enterprise support, offering a more opinionated and integrated solution.


Kubernetes OpenShift
Type The open-source container orchestration system  Hybrid cloud application powered by Kubernetes 
Deployment Flexibility It can be deployed on any platform or infrastructure  Requires specific operating systems like Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat CoreOS 
Installation Flexibility  Offers more installation flexibility, supporting major operating systems without third-party help  Requires RHEL or Red Hat Atomic for OpenShift 3, RHEL CoreOS and optionally RHEL for compute nodes on OpenShift 4, and RHEL or CentOS for OKD 
Deployment Process  Requires manual setup, pulling code from Git, and setting up containers with a chosen CI/CD pipeline  Simplifies deployment through automated pipeline creation and automation using pod logic 
Security Complex and requires expertise to handle vulnerabilities effectively  Boasts stricter security policies, preventing simple container image running and running containers as root 
User Interface Requires additional setup, such as installing Kubernetes dashboard and creating a bearer token for authentication  Offers a beginner-friendly interface with a single login page for easy access to the console 
Support No dedicated support, relies on community support  Paid platform with dedicated support options for enhanced assistance 
Community Size  Large and active community  Smaller community, mainly comprising Red Hat developers 
Ecosystem Flexible and can be deployed on any infrastructure  Limited to a closed ecosystem, restricting usage to specific operating systems 
Cost Free and open source, cutting down costs significantly  Subscription-based platform with associated costs as clusters grow 


Real-Life Use Cases: Kubernetes vs. OpenShift


  1. Bose: Bose, a renowned audio equipment platform, utilized Kubernetes for its scaled IoT Platform-as-a-Service running on AWS. Launched in 2017, the platform supported a staggering 3 million connected products. 
  1. CERN: The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) faced high data loads before significant conferences. They adopted Kubernetes on public clouds to accommodate peak sessions, granting complete control over automation and reducing cluster-making time from 3 hours to just 15 minutes.
  2. HPC-Industries: Kubernetes can make real-world data-driven decisions in HPC industries and applications requiring high-performance computing. Government, science, finance, and engineering sectors rely on it for automated stock trading, DNA sequencing, weather forecasts, and aircraft flight simulations. Kubernetes does a great job in supporting batch-processing tasks and enhances overall code and data portability.
  3. Retail – Retail companies use Kubernetes for its modern cloud-native architecture and seamless microservices management. Kubernetes ensures continuous business continuity and can be instantly redeployed with any retail app or component to maintain uptime and reliability.


  1. Cisco: Cisco, a leading network solutions provider, sought to boost developer productivity. Leveraging OpenShift, they developed the Lightweight Application Environment (LAE). The results were astonishing, with project provisioning that previously took up to 3 months now accomplished within minutes. 
  1. BMW: BMW utilized OpenShift to streamline development processes and enhance developer productivity. Through automation of repetitive tasks and self-service provisioning, OpenShift enabled BMW to manage a whopping 230 Petabytes of usable storage and handle an equivalent of 240 million kilometers of test data.
  2. Banco Santander: Banco Santander is one of the largest banks in Europe that uses RedHat OpenShift to enhance application development and deployment processes. It built microservices-based apps effectively and used the platform's auto-scaling and self-healing features to manage surges in customer traffic during uncertain financial events. The bank also rolled out updates, ensured continuous compliance, and secured container images with its RBAC policies, thus improving customer experiences.
  3. Johnson & Johnson: Johnson & Johnson is a global pharmaceutical company that used OpenShift to accelerate medical application research and development. It used OpenShift to launch new product lines and reduce time-to-market them for patients and healthcare providers.

These real-life examples showcase the significant impact of Kubernetes and OpenShift in transforming businesses and accelerating development processes. 

In Conclusion:

Selecting between Kubernetes and OpenShift depends on your specific requirements and available resources. For those lacking extensive Kubernetes expertise, OpenShift's user-friendliness is a compelling option, but cost considerations are crucial. On the other hand, Kubernetes proves to be the go-to choice for mature engineering teams, offering unmatched flexibility and cost-effectiveness. 

Remember, as the demand for DevOps automation tools like Kubernetes continues to grow, seeking the expertise of excellent DevOps engineers becomes pivotal. At Clarion Technologies, we offer DevOps consulting services to help you find the right tools and hire top-notch engineers, ensuring your projects soar to success!  


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