Kubernetes vs OpenShift – A Detailed Comparison


July 23, 2019


April 27th, 2023

Category Blog, DevOps


Gartner predicts that by 2022, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, which is a significant increase from fewer than 30% today

Containerization is the latest jargon today, in the world of IT, primarily to develop and deploy apps in an accelerated manner. In the era of serverless computing and container technology, containers have become highly popular for a long time now. With the increase in popularity, there is an increase in the complexity levels of large containerized applications. Here comes the need for efficient container management platforms that can help in easily managing containerized applications. Today, Kubernetes and OpenShift are two big names in this arena and have become major players in the container revolution. Popular, effective, scalable, robust, and simplistic – both have their own user community to boast of.

Here is a certain feature list that is present in both – Kubernetes as well as OpenShift:

  • Productive, machine-agnostic concepts for development and IT teams
  • A modern, future proof architecture
  • Modernization in distributed systems and large-scale app development
  • A robust and scalable architecture
  • Enhances the productivity level of developers to a great degree

By the year 2020, more than 50% of companies will use container technology, up from less than 20% in 2017

Openshift vs Kubernetes: A Brief

Here is the first glance at both the container management platforms and their introductory parameters:




Developers Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Red Hat
Programming Language Go Go, Angular JS
Category Cluster management software Cloud computing, PaaS
License Apache License 2.0 Apache License 2.0
Released In 2014 2011

Let us go through the nuances of Kubernetes and OpenShift, understanding them further and knowing their strength areas:

Kubernetes: An Overview

“Kubernetes (commonly stylized as k8s[3]) is an open-source container orchestration system for automating application deployment, scaling, and management.”

Source: Wikipedia

“Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications”.


Originally born at Google, Kubernetes was released in 2015 as an open-source tool for all. Later, Google handed over the entire project to Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), operated by the Linux Foundation. Kubernetes is an open-source container as a service (CaaS) orchestration system that automates deploying, scaling, and managing containerized apps, speeding up the development procedure. Since it has been handled by Google taskforce, there is a certain level of maturity that exists.

Key Features Of Kubernetes

  • Offers the freedom to take advantage of on-premises, hybrid, or public cloud infrastructure, letting you effortlessly move workloads
  • Rigorous self-checking of servers and containers
  • Scalable enough to modify storage needs based on requirements
  • Executable in varied environments and cloud setups
  • Can automatically choose the ideal container location
  • Seamless integration with popular storage systems
  • Strong and active user community support
  • Wide enriched support to multiple languages and frameworks

Companies Using Kubernetes

  • Spotify
  • Nav
  • IBM
  • Nokia
  • AppDirect
  • Philips
  • Ant Financial
  • China Unicom
  • Amadeus
  • Bose
  • Comcast
  • eBay

Openshift: An Overview

“OpenShift is a family of containerization software developed by Red Hat. Its flagship product is the OpenShift Container Platform—an on-premises platform as a service built around Docker containers orchestrated and managed by Kubernetes on a foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”

Source: Wikipedia

“The Kubernetes platform for big ideas. Empower developers to innovate and ship faster with the leading hybrid cloud, enterprise container platform”

Source: OpenShift

Red Hat® OpenShift® is supported Kubernetes for cloud-native applications with enterprise security

Developed by Red Hat, OpenShift is a containerization software solution whose prime product is the OpenShift container platform, a PaaS managed by Kubernetes. OpenShift has been often called “Enterprise Kubernetes” by its vendor – Red Hat. Red Hat OpenShift is a CNCF Certified Kubernetes offering, indicating interoperability between OpenShift and other Kubernetes offerings. It has been written the Go programming language and AngularJS. It possesses an Apache License. The original version facilitates developers to develop and deploy apps to the cloud and appends tools over a Kubernetes core to fasten the development and deployment process.

Features Of Openshift

  • Supports multiple languages such as Go, Node JS, Ruby, Python, Java, Perl, PHP, etc.
  • Rapid app development with DevOps methodology
  • Enables scaling of containerized applications automatically or manually
  • Inbuilt security checks across the container and application stack
  • Application visualization and monitoring through Prometheus
  • Unified policy implementation for users
  • Compatible with Kubernetes container workloads
  • Easy migration to newer OS without rebuilding containerization orchestration

Who Uses OpenShift?

  • Optus
  • HCA Healthcare
  • Deutsche Bank
  • BMW
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • ThoughtWorks
  • Worldpay Inc

Kubernetes vs OpenShift – A Comprehensive Comparison

Subsequently, OpenShift is grounded on Kubernetes and hence, there is a lot of similarity between both. Yet, there are some variances between both platforms, depending on important parameters.

Parameters Kubernetes Openshift
Point of Origin It is an open-source project/framework, not a product It is a product with many variations. All OpenShift products are open source and derived from OKD, an open-source project maintained by Red Hat.
Installation Can be installed on almost any Linux distribution Has limited options when it comes to installation
Key Cloud Platforms Available on GKE on Google GCP, EKS on Amazon AWS, and AKS on Microsoft Azure Red Hat offers OpenShift Online and OpenShift Dedicated as multi- and single-tenant managed offerings on AWS. Red Hat and Microsoft jointly support an additional managed cloud offering, Microsoft Azure Red Hat OpenShift.
Security & Authentication Well defined but not as stringent as OpenShift Stricter security policies and authentication models
Usage of templates Kubernetes Helm templates are flexible and easy to use OpenShift templates are less user-friendly and flexible
Releases It almost has 4 released a year It falls behind in schedule with mostly 3 a year
Deployment It has Deployment objects implemented through controllers It has DeploymentConfig objects implemented through logic
Updates Deployment supports many concurrent updates at a time DeploymentConfig does not support concurrent updates
Management of Container Images There is no specific feature for the management of container images ImageStreams is ideal for easy management of container images and is unique to OpenShift
CI/CD CI/CD is possible with Jenkins but it is not integrated within the tool Seamless CI/CD integration with Jenkins available
Learning Curve Kubernetes does not have a very easy web console and hence a tad difficult for novices OpenShift has a very useful web console and hence becomes attractive and easy for newbies
Initial Rollout It is a little difficult for an initial rollout since it has additional components to go along Has an easy rollout since it acts as a complete cluster solution with minimal add-ons
Enterprise Usage Kubernetes caters to all categories but has nothing specific to enterprises OpenShift was designed keeping in mind the enterprise and has many components meant for that
Networking Brings along interfaces that can be utilized by 3rd party network plugins Has OpenvSwitch, a native networking solution that gives 3 varied plugins
Web User Interface Separate installation for dashboards, manual creation for the login page Login page already available, easy creation of resources through a form
Latest About Kubernetes
Latest About OpenShift

Openshift vs Kubernetes: Which One to Choose, Is Always A Tough Question

Both are open-source; both have a common base with Kubernetes at the core of OpenShift; both are popular, and both aim to facilitate faster application development. Because of its unique features and reliance on Kubernetes, OpenShift does have the added advantage of easy installation. Kubernetes is experienced and well-proven; it does require a proper strategy for installation.

Kubernetes is a standardized version and is available on an increased number of platforms than OpenShift. But, OpenShift has many inbuilt components that make app containerization faster and effective.  On top of both, comes a crucial decision – choosing the IT service provider who has the experience, expertise, and infrastructure to help you with the entire application development lifecycle. That holds more crucial and hence should be thought of, very sincerely.

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