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Red Hat Linux for Edge Computing

By ·Categories: Tech Explained·Published On: February 28th, 2022·5.1 min read·

We’ve been working with the team at Red Hat® to curate a line of hardware to enable Red Hat Linux for Edge Computing. We wanted to take this opportunity to answer three important questions:

  • What is Red Hat Enterprise Linux, commonly referred to as RHEL?
  • How is Red Hat Enterprise Linux different from other versions of Linux?
  • What does Red Hat Enterprise Linux bring to the table for industrial edge computing applications?

What is Red Hat Enterprise Linux?

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is an operating system that provides the professional support and stability required for enterprise business applications. Of course, that explanation assumes you know what Linux is, so let’s back up a bit.

What is Linux?

Linux is an open-source operating system that was developed by Linus Torvalds and publicly released in 1991. Its principals were similar to the familiar UNIX operating system. However, unlike UNIX, the Linux OS was, and remains, free to download and use. Linux was quickly embraced by a passionate community of developers and programmers.

However, open-source software was not generally considered an ideal solution for business applications. Ongoing development of new functionality, bug fixes, and patches for Linux were primarily sourced from the public community of developers. In addition, technical support for Linux mostly came in the form of online forums and documentation created by the community. Developers were also free to distribute modified versions of Linux. This created a fragmentation of different distributions such as Debian, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu.

For businesses, centralized technical support tended to instill a greater sense of confidence when considering which operating system to utilize. That is one reason why Microsoft became the predominant OS developer.

How is Red Hat Different From Other Linux Distributions?

The team behind Red Hat set out to change the perception of Linux with the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in 2003. RHEL offers a distribution that pairs the capabilities of the Linux operating system with professional support channels, training programs, longer version lifecycles, and enhanced stability. Meanwhile, RHEL also retained the ease of development and flexibility of Linux, leveraging a rich community of capable programming professionals. You can essentially view the licensing costs for Red Hat as paying for official support and stability rather than the operating system itself. This is made even more apparent by the fact that the entire code base of RHEL is available to download for free.

Red Hat for Edge Computing

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) made a name for itself for server and cloud applications thanks to its security, ease of development, and full-featured support and training infrastructure. So what does it bring to industrial computing at the edge?

Most obviously, it brings with it all of the Linux advantages mentioned above. On top of that, your edge devices will also benefit from validated software updates and support from Red Hat. Any new features created by the Linux community are validated for security and stability. Only then are they offered as part of the next Red Hat version release. This combination of the features and flexibility inherent to Linux, with enterprise level support and validation is what makes Red Hat such an appealing option for edge computing.

Red Hat for Edge Computing Developers

Using RHEL, your team of edge developers can create applications in a familiar environment with both the rich community of Linux developers and official Red Hat support to provide guidance. Red Hat Enterprise Linux also provides a large ecosystem of tools, applications, frameworks, and libraries for building solutions. As a result, developers can produce fixes and new features more rapidly with fewer down-stream bugs, which is crucial as you’re aiming to expand your hybrid cloud architecture to include edge devices.

In addition, Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s version release cycles are significantly longer than other Linux distributions. This may sound like a downside if you’re always looking for the latest shiny new feature. However, long lifecycle components and systems are a big benefit for industrial applications. When you’re relying on technology for consistent business operations, a reduced frequency of updates and stable long-term operation are crucial considerations for operational uptime and reduced maintenance costs.

Containers at the Edge

Red Hat’s family of containerization software products, known as OpenShift, offer the ability to deploy and manage applications and workloads at the edge via Kubernetes open-source container technology. Originally designed by Google, Kubernetes is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Containerization has become a highly desirable Internet of Things computing approach thanks to its ability to manage system resources and quickly scale a consistent experience regardless of the end user OS. 

Red Hat OpenShift was designed to make it easier to create and manage Kubernetes containers. OpenShift offers two interfaces; a Command Line Interface primarily intended for developers and a Web Console UI graphic user interface dashboard primarily intended for operations teams.

Red Hat for Edge Computing Operations

Operations teams are focused on maintaining high availability of applications and scaling resources responsibly. Red Hat’s Web Console UI dashboard provides visibility into the health, capacity, utilization, and notable events of your edge computing devices.

Using the Web Console UI dashboard, Operations can spot which processes are consuming the most system resources so they can be investigated in-advance of potential service interruptions, or considered when planning resource expansion. Outliers in system activity are captured as events, allowing Operations to seek a root cause and avoid recurrences.

So, Is Red Hat Right for Your Project?

Using Red Hat Enterprise Linux for edge computing delivers a number of benefits: 

  • The ability to develop and deploy software in a Linux environment
  • Security and capability updates vetted by the Red Hat team
  • Official Red Hat support to assist with ongoing deployments
  • Access to the Red Hat Web Console UI dashboard to monitor resource management and scale effectively at the edge
  • Enterprise grade management of containerized applications at the edge using RedHat OpenShift

Interested in Red Hat Certified edge computers designed to withstand industrial environments? Explore our RHEL Certified hardware and reach out to one of our solutions specialists today.

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About the Author: Patrick Metzger

Patrick is the Partnership Marketer at OnLogic. His love for technology started with building computers from components with his father as a child and continues to this day. With a professional background in IT, Marketing, Media Production and SaaS, communication is the passion that brings it all together. Patrick currently lives in Richmond, VT, taking advantage of all the outdoor adventures Vermont has to offer.
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