Keeping pace with multiple architectures (Part 2)

In our first post of discussing Red Hat’s multi-architecture strategy, we focused on the disruptive nature of enabling new and rapidly-evolving architectures and how this enablement necessitates a different set of product requirements to fulfill our vision of providing a consistent and familiar experience to our customers across multiple hardware architectures. While we have been working with many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on x86_64-based servers for years, we have seen interest from our customer base in delivering parity across multiple architectures, including IBM Power Little Endian (ppc64le) and ARMv8-A (aarch64).

So what exactly are we doing with our partners to make this happen, both in the community and within the enterprise ecosystem?

Red Hat and IBM have a long history of collaborating on Linux, going back more than 18 years. This year, Red Hat joined the OpenPower foundation as a Platinum member, expanding our collaboration within that ecosystem. Many interesting designs are being brought to market by OpenPower partners and we are providing input and governance on several of them to benefit our mutual customers. Through this ecosystem collaboration in the recent months, we have seen more engagement from our mutual customers that have been asking Red Hat to bring the rest of our enterprise software portfolio to IBM Power LE (ppc64le) architecture.

We have responded to these requests by creating a joint development plan designed to accelerate the availability of key pieces of Red Hat portfolio, like Red Hat Virtualization, Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Openshift on IBM Power Systems. We also continue to work with ISVs, like SAP, to make Red Hat Enterprise Linux the platform of choice to deploy their applications and deliver end to end solutions, such as SAP HANA, on IBM POWER architecture.

As the first result of this joint development plan, we delivered a Beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Power LE in August of this year. It enables the next-generation POWER architecture and testing is underway with our key customers and partners. Other portfolio products are under active development for this architecture.

The ARM ecosystem has emerged over the last several years with server-optimized SoC (system on chip) products that are designed for cloud and hyperscale, telco and edge computing, as well as high-performance computing applications. ARM SoC vendors are focused on designs based on aarch64 architecture. These designs take advantage of advances in CPU technology, system-level hardware, and packaging to offer additional choices to customers looking for tightly integrated hardware solutions.

The build-out of this new software ecosystem is still ongoing as customers are working on identifying applicable workloads and ISVs are porting their applications to aarch64 architecture. Red Hat took a pragmatic approach to participation in ARM server ecosystem which began with involvement in upstream projects followed by collaboration with the community on platform enablement focused on developing a single operating platform across multiple 64-bit ARM SoCs while using the same sources to build user functionality and consistent feature set between the new variant and Red Hat Enterprise Linux running on other architectures. The ultimate goal of this was a creation of standardized, more streamlined operating system for aarch64 that customers can deploy across a wide range of server implementations while maintaining application compatibility.

For the past two years, Red Hat has delivered Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM as a Development Preview to partners designing and building systems based on 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture. It helped to consolidate, stabilize and standardize ARM hardware support in the base operating system and get it to the necessary maturity level. In August, Red Hat announced the Beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for ARM that capitalizes on development efforts of ARM Partner Early Access Program (PEAP) and we look forward to continued collaboration with our ecosystem.

Red Hat’s goal is to provide customers with the ability to integrate ARM architecture seamlessly into their existing infrastructure environments and we are closely monitoring their requirements and applicable workloads as they pertain to our product portfolio.

In addition to the above plans, Red Hat recently announced support for additional architectures for Red Hat Software Collections 3 and Red Hat Developer Toolset 7. Newer versions of programming languages, databases, web servers, and other components are now available across x86_64, 64-bit ARM (aarch64), IBM z Systems (s390x), and IBM Power Little Endian (ppc64le) architectures.

In summary, Red Hat’s multi-architecture strategy is a multi-year commitment to our customers designed to bring our portfolio of open technologies to a broad spectrum of datacenter architectures – choice begets innovation, and innovation moves IT forward.

  1. I have a remark : what are you refering to by :
    “we delivered a Beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Power LE in August of this year.” ?
    RedHat linux is available on POWER since 1999. Since the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.1 in march 2015, Red Hat provides both little endian and big endian versions of Linux on IBM Power Systems.

    RedHat components that have been added to IBM POWER architecture in August 2017 were :
    – High Availability and Resilient Storage add-ons
    – The Red Hat Container Runtime
    – The Red Hat Developer Toolset
    – A Disaster Recovery Subscription for warm standby servers
    – Five-year Subscription and Support options

    Anyhow, thanks for your long-term commitment to multiple architectures !

    1. Thanks for your detailed overview. To answer your question, the reference to the Beta in that sentence was in conjunction with the following one that reads: “It enables the next-generation POWER architecture and testing is underway with our key customers and partners”. The next-generation mentioned is POWER9, support for which we’ve announced today: https://www.redhat.com/en/blog/red-hat-launches-support-latest-ibm-hardware-red-hat-enterprise-linux

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