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Kubernetes vs OpenShift - How Different Are They?

05th Sep, 2023
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    Kubernetes vs OpenShift - How Different Are They?

    Kubernetes and OpenShift are both container orchestration engines that allow you to manage and deploy containers across a cluster of nodes. Both platforms offer a variety of features that can be helpful for managing large-scale application development, management, and deployment. 

    Both Kubernetes and OpenShift systems have their pros and cons, but there are some key differences that may make one more suitable for your needs than the other. For example, OpenShift includes features such as built-in monitoring, security, and management. However, this also means that it can be more complex to set up and use. In contrast, Kubernetes has a larger community and is more lightweight and flexible, making it easier to get up and running.

    But which one should you choose for your organization? In this article, we'll compare Kubernetes Vs OpenShift in detail to help you make the best decision for your needs. 

    You can also enroll in online Kubernetes training or even brush up your skills while earning certification with this certification course 

    Kubernetes Vs OpenShift Software: An Overview  

    When it comes to container orchestration software, there are two main options: OpenShift and Kubernetes. While they both have their own benefits and drawbacks, we'll be comparing the two Kubernetes Vs OpenShift side-by-side in order to help you make a decision about which one is right for your project. 

    Points of DifferenceKubernetesOpenShift
    Programming Language UsedGoAngular JS and Go
    Release Year20142011
    Developed byCloud-Native Computing FoundationRed Hat
    OriginReleased as an open-source framework or project, and not as a productIt is a product, but with many variations. For example, open-source OpenShift is not a project and rather an OKD.
    BaseKubernetes is flexible when it comes to running on different operating systems. However, RPM is the preferred package manager, which is a Linux distribution. It is preferred that Kubernetes be run on Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian. This setup allows it to run on major LaaS platforms like AWS, GCP, and Azure.OpenShift, on the other hand, can be installed on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux or RHEL, as well as the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host.  Thus, it can also run on CentOS and Fedora.
    Web UIThe dashboard inside Kubernetes requires separate installation and can be accessed only through the Kube proxy for forwarding a port of the user’s local machine to the cluster admin’s server. Since it lacks a login page, users need to create a bearer token for authorization and authentication manually. Additionally, starting 2020, a Web UI client whose API backend runs in a local Kubernetes cluster now requires HTTPS access. Which puts users into the position of generating self-signed certificates in Kubernetes. All this makes the Web UI complicated and not suited for daily administrative work.OpenShift comes with a login page, which can be easily accessed. It provides users with the ability to create and change resources using a form. Users can thus visualize servers, cluster roles, and even projects, using the web.
    NetworkingIt does not include a native networking solution and only offers an interface that can be used by network plugins made by third parties.IT includes a native networking solution called Open Switch, which provides three different plugins.
    RolloutKubernetes provides a myriad of solutions to create Kubernetes clusters. Users can use installers such as Rancher Kubernetes Everywhere or Kops.OpenShift does not require any additional components after the rollout. It thus comes with a proprietary Ansible based installer, with the capabilities of installing OpenShift with the minimum configuration parameters.
    Integrated Image RegistryKubernetes does not have any concept of integrated image registries. Users can set up their own Docker registry.OpenShift includes their image registry, which can be used with Red Hat or DockerHub. It also allows users to search for information regarding images and image streams related to projects, via a registry console.
    Key Cloud Platform AvailabilityIt is available on EKS for Amazon AWS, AKS for Microsoft Azure, and GKE for Google GCP.Has a product known as OpenShift Online, OpenShift Dedicated, as well as OpenShift on Azure.
    CI/CDPossible with Jenkins but is not integrated within it.Seamless integration with Jenkins is available.
    UpdatesSupports many concurrent updates simultaneouslyDoes not support concurrent updates
    Learning CurveIt has a complicated web console, which makes it difficult for novices.It has a very user-friendly web console ideal for novices.
    Security and authenticationDoes not have a well-defined security protocolHas secure policies and stricter security models
    Who Uses itHCA Healthcare, BMW, Intermountain Healthcare, ThoughtWorks, Deutsche Bank, Optus, Worldpay Inc, etc.NAV, Nokia, IBM, Phillips, AppDirect, Spotify, Anti Financial, China Unicom, Amadeus, Bose, eBay, Comcast, etc.


    OpenShift is a Red Hat-backed platform built on top of Docker containers and the Kubernetes container orchestration system. It includes a wide range of features such as built-in security and monitoring, automatic scaling, and rolling updates. OpenShift also offers a number of different pricing options, making it a good choice for both small projects and large enterprises. 


    Kubernetes, on the other hand, is an open-source container orchestration system that was originally developed by Google. It includes many of the same features as OpenShift, but it can be more difficult to set up and manage. Kubernetes is also less widely adopted than OpenShift, which means that there are a fewer resources available for users who need help getting started. 

    When it comes to deciding between OpenShift and Kubernetes, there is no right or wrong answer. The best option for your project will depend on your specific needs and requirements. However, we have put up a list below to give you a better understanding of the two platforms so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. 

    7 Core Differences Between Kubernetes and OpenShift  

    When it comes to container management, two of the most popular platforms In the market are Kubernetes and OpenShift. Though both have a lot to offer in terms of features and capabilities, there is still a lot of differences between Kubernetes and OpenShift that could make one or the other a better fit for your specific needs.

    Here, we'll take a closer look at some of the key areas where Kubernetes and OpenShift differ, including security, web-UI, deployment approach, CI/CD, integrated image registry, and updates. 

    1. Product vs Project 

    One of the biggest differences between Kubernetes Vs OpenShift is that Kubernetes is an open source project while OpenShift is a product offered by Red Hat. This means that, while anyone can contribute to the development of Kubernetes, OpenShift is a more closed platform with a specific company behind it. 

    2. Security 

    Another key difference between Kubernetes Vs OpenShift is in their approach to security. Kubernetes offers a number of features to help secure your containers, including role-based access control (RBAC), network security policies, and encrypted secret storage.

    However, OpenShift takes things a step further by offering built-in Single Sign-On (SSO) and integrated identity management tools. This makes it easier to manage users and permissions across multiple clusters, and provides an additional layer of security for your containerized applications. 

    3. Web-UI 

    Kubernetes and OpenShift also differ in their web-based user interfaces. Kubernetes provides a basic UI that can be used for managing applications and viewing logs, but it lacks some of the more advanced features offered by Red hat Open Shift.

    For example, OpenShift's web interface includes tools for creating and deploying applications, monitoring clusters, and managing users and permissions. This simplifies the process of getting started with OpenShift, and provides a more comprehensive experience for managing your containerized applications. 

    4. Deployment Approach 

    When it comes to deployment, Kubernetes offers a number of different options, including self-hosted, managed, and hybrid deployments. This flexibility can be helpful if you're looking to deploy Kubernetes in a variety of different environments.

    However, it also means that there's a greater potential for deployment errors. OpenShift, on the other hand, uses a "container-as-a-service" model that simplifies the process of deploying and managing containerized applications. 

    5. CI/CD 

    Kubernetes and OpenShift offer different capabilities when it comes to Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. Kubernetes offers some basic support for CI/CD pipelines, but lacks the advanced features offered by OpenShift. For example, OpenShift includes built-in support for Jenkins and Tekton, and provides a unified platform for managing your CI/CD pipelines. You can improve the efficiency of your software development process by setting up and maintaining CI/CD pipelines in this way. 

    6. Integrated Image Registry 

    Kubernetes & OpenShift also differ in how they handle image registries. Kubernetes offers a basic container registry that can be used for storing and sharing Kubernetes image, but it lacks some of the advanced features offered by OpenShift. For example, OpenShift includes an integrated image registry that allows you to manage your images from within the OpenShift web interface. You will be able to find and use the images you need, and can help reduce the risk of accidentally using outdated or security-vulnerable images. 

    7. Updates 

    Finally, it's worth noting that Kubernetes Vs OpenShift differs in their approach to updates. Kubernetes use a "rolling update" model, which means that new versions of Kubernetes are released on a regular basis. This can be helpful if you're looking to stay up-to-date with the latest Kubernetes features, but it also means that you'll need to keep your Kubernetes cluster up-to-date.

    OpenShift, on the other hand, uses a "fixed update" model, which means that new versions of OpenShift are released less frequently. This can be helpful if you're looking for a more stable platform, but it also means that you might not have access to the latest OpenShift features. 

    These were just some of the core differences between Kubernetes and OpenShift. In general, Kubernetes is more flexible and offers more features than OpenShift. However, OpenShift is easier to use and can be a better choice if you're looking for a more comprehensive experience. 

    Kubernetes vs OpenShift Software: Features 

    Kubernetes Features  

    1. Automated Rollouts & Rollbacks 

    Kubernetes has automated rollouts & rollbacks, making it easy to deploy and manage applications in a dynamic environment. With Kubernetes, you can declaratively specify the desired state of your application, and Kubernetes will ensure that the application is always in that state.

    If there is an error during a rollout, Kubernetes will automatically rollback the changes, ensuring that your application is always available. This makes it easy to deploy and manage applications in a dynamic environment. 

    2. Load Balancing & Service Discovery 

    Kubernetes services can be used for service discovery & load balancing purposes. Each service is assigned a unique IP address and port number, which is used by the clients to access the services. The services are also assigned labels, which can be used to identify the type of service.

    The client side code uses the label to select a specific service from the list of available services. The kube-proxy component is responsible for forwarding traffic from the client to the selected service. Kubernetes also supports session persistence, which allows the client to maintain a persistent connection with the selected service. 

    3. Storage Orchestration 

    One of the key features of Kubernetes is storage orchestration. This refers to the management of storage resources in a Kubernetes cluster, and includes tasks such as provisioning, attaching, and detaching volumes, creating and deleting persistent volumes, and more. Storage orchestration is an important part of Kubernetes because it allows users to manage their storage resources in a single place, and makes it possible to automate storage tasks.

    For example, storage orchestration can be used to automatically provision new storage volumes when a container is created, or to attach and detach volumes from containers as needed. Additionally, storage orchestration can be used to manage the replication and backup of data stored in Kubernetes volumes. 

    4. Secret & Configuration Management 

    Kubernetes provides a mechanism for managing secrets and configurations. Secrets can be stored in JSON or YAML format and encrypted using a variety of methods, such as AES-256-CBC.

    Configuration files can be stored in JSON, YAML, or INI format. Kubernetes also provides a role-based access control model for secrets and configurations. This model allows administrators to control who has access to what secrets and configurations.

    Finally, Kubernetes provides a system for auditing secret and configuration usage. This system can be used to track which users accessed which secrets and configurations and when. Auditing is an important part of preventing accidental or unauthorized access to sensitive data. 

    5. Automatic Bin Packing 

    Kubernetes offers a number of powerful tools to help manage your containerized applications. One of the most useful is its automatic bin packing feature. This allows you to automatically pack your containers into bins based on certain criteria, such as CPU or memory usage.

    This can be extremely helpful in ensuring that your containers are efficiently utilized and that your application runs smoothly. In addition, Kubernetes also offers a number of other features such as container orchestration, self-healing, and horizontal scaling. As a result, Kubernetes is an extremely powerful tool for managing containerized applications. 

    6. Batch Execution 

    Kubernetes is a powerful container orchestration system that provides a number of features to help you manage your containers. One of those features is batch execution, which enables you to run containers in batches. This can be useful when you need to process a large number of items in parallel, or when you want to ensure that all items in a batch are processed before moving on to the next batch.

    Kubernetes also provides other features such as container resource management, auto-scaling, and self-healing that can help you operate your containers more efficiently. With Kubernetes, you can focus on running your applications, rather than managing the underlying infrastructure. 

    7. Dual Stack IPv4/IPv6 

    Kubernetes comes with native support for both IPv4 and IPv6. Dual-stack support also allows for greater flexibility in networking and reduces the need for network address translation (NAT). NAT can cause issues with some applications, so having the ability to use Kubernetes without NAT is a valuable feature. This gives users the ability to connect Kubernetes services with any other IPv4 or IPv6 enabled endpoints.

    In addition, this dual-stack support helps to ensure that Kubernetes services are available even in environments where not all nodes have been upgraded to IPv6. As a result, users can take advantage of Kubernetes' many features without having to worry about compatibility issues. 

    8. Horizontal Scaling 

    One of the major features of Kubernetes is horizontal scaling. This means that the system can scale up or down based on demand, making it very flexible. For example, if you have a service that is getting a lot of traffic, Kubernetes will automatically spin up more instances of that service to handle the load.

    Conversely, if traffic drops off, Kubernetes will scale down the number of instances to save resources. This horizontal scaling is one of the key features that make Kubernetes so powerful. Additionally, it provides built-in redundancy and fault tolerance, meaning that if one instance goes down, there are others to take its place. This ensures that your services are always available, even in the event of an outage. 

    OpenShift Features  

    1. Scalability 

    OpenShift is a next-generation application hosting platform that enables developers to quickly create, deploy, and manage applications in a cloud environment. One of the key features of OpenShift is its scalability. The OpenShift platform is designed to be highly scalable so that it can accommodate a large number of users and apps.

    This makes it an ideal choice for businesses that need to host a large number of apps or for developers who want to create a new app without having to worry about scaling issues. Thus, OpenShift makes it easy to deploy and manage scalable applications without the need for complex infrastructure. 

    2. Flexibility 

    OpenShift provides a high degree of flexibility when it comes to managing applications. This is due to the fact that it is based on a microservices architecture, which allows independent scaling of individual components.

    In addition, OpenShift makes it easy to quickly roll back changes that do not work out as planned. This BHAG OpenShift puts the focus on the application itself, rather than on infrastructure management.

    As a result, developers can spend more time coding and less time troubleshooting infrastructure issues. If you also want to innovate faster and explore the secrets of development then DevOps training courses will benefit you in many ways. 

    3. Open Source Standards 

    OpenShift features include built-in support for popular open source standards, such as Docker containers and OpenShift Kubernetes orchestration. This makes it easy to deploy and manage applications using existing tools and workflows.

    OpenShift also provides an integrated development environment (IDE) for writing, building, and deploying applications. The IDE includes a containerized development environment that can be used on any OpenShift support cluster.

    This enables developers to work in a consistent environment regardless of the underlying infrastructure. In addition, OpenShift provides a centralized management console for administering clusters and applications. This console makes it easy to monitor resource usage, deploy applications, and scale deployments as needed. 

    4. Container Portability 

    OpenShift is a container management platform that enables the rapid development and deployment of applications. One of its key features is its ability to provide container portability, allowing applications to be easily moved between different environments. This can be particularly useful when moving applications between development, testing, and production environments.

    By being able to easily move containers between different environments, OpenShift helps to speed up the application development process and reduce the risk of errors. In addition, OpenShift also provides a number of other features such as built-in security and scaling that can help to further improve the development process. 

    5. Automatic Installation & Upgrades 

    OpenShift is known for container-based applications that make it easy to deploy and manage your applications in a cloud environment. One of the key features of OpenShift is its automatic installation and upgrade process. This ensures that your applications are always up-to-date with the latest security patches and features.

    In addition, OpenShift also provides a highly scalable and cloud-ready architecture that can easily handle large workloads. This makes it an ideal platform for enterprises that need to deploy applications at scale. Finally, OpenShift also offers a wide range of integrations with popular DevOps tools, making it easy to add your applications to your existing workflow. 

    6. Automation 

    OpenShift easily automates the provisioning, management, and scaling of container-based applications. OpenShift also offers built-in application lifecycle management functionality, such as rolling updates and canary deployments. OpenShift provides a self-service web console and command line interface for developers to create, manage, and deploy their applications.

    OpenShift also gives developers access to a pre-configured set of developer tools, such as Jenkins and Eclipse IDE. Additionally, OpenShift provides support for SELinux security policies and integrates with Kerberos for single sign-on authentication. 

    7. Edge Architecture Support 

    OpenShift offers edge architecture support allowing for easy integration at the edge of the network. OpenShift also provides a unified management console and CLI. This gives users the ability to Preview, Promote, and Rollback deployments from a central location. OpenShift also makes it easy to integrate with existing CI/CD tools. This allows for a smooth transition to using OpenShift without having to learn new tools.

    Lastly, OpenShift boasts enhanced security features. These include Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and built-in secret management. RBAC provides fine-grained control over who has access to what resources. Secrets management allows for the secure storage of sensitive data such as passwords, API keys, and certificates. These features make OpenShift a secure and powerful platform for managing container-based applications. 

    What is Container Orchestration Software?    

    In computing, container orchestration software is a tool used to manage and automate the deployment, scaling, and management of containers. This includes managing the layout of containers on a system, as well as their networking and storage. Orchestration software also handles tasks such as monitoring and logging, and can be used to manage both virtual machines (VMs) and containers. 

    There are many different types of container orchestration software available, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Some of the most popular options include Kubernetes training online, Docker Swarm, Apache Mesos, and others. 

    When choosing an orchestration tool, it's important to consider the specific needs of your application or workload. For example, if you're looking to deploy a large number of containers, you'll need a tool that can handle high levels of orchestration. On the other hand, if you're only deploying a few containers, you may not need as much functionality and can choose a simpler tool. 

    Once you've selected an orchestration tool, you'll need to configure it to work with your container environment. This usually involves setting up a cluster of nodes, which can be done using physical servers or VMs. Once the cluster is up and running, you can then start deploying containers onto it. 


    Kubernetes and OpenShift are both great choices for orchestrating containers, but they have different strengths. If you’re trying to decide which one to use in your organization, it’s important to understand the differences between them. In general, Kubernetes is more bare-bones, while OpenShift has more features.

    If you’re not sure which one to choose, our recommendation would be to start with Kubernetes and Docker certification for building, testing, and deploying Docker applications. After that, you can move to OpenShift if you need the extra features. Ultimately, the best way to decide is to try out both and see which one works best for you.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Does OpenShift use Kubernetes?

    OpenShift container platform is built on top of Kubernetes and includes a centralized control plane and container runtime. OpenShift also adds a number of features and utilities on top of Kubernetes, such as integrated container builds and deployments, a web console, and pre-configured applications.

    While OpenShift can be used without Kubernetes, it is designed to work with Kubernetes and uses many of its core components. As a result, OpenShift provides an easy way to get started with Kubernetes without having to learn the details of how it works. However, users who want more control over their applications may prefer to use Kubernetes directly. 

    2What is the difference between Docker Kubernetes and OpenShift?

    Docker Kubernetes and OpenShift are two popular container orchestration platforms. Both platforms allow users to deploy and manage containerized applications at scale. However, there are some key differences between the two platforms. Docker Kubernetes is designed to use with the Docker container runtime.

    OpenShift, on the other hand, supports Docker container runtime & even provides a number of additional features, including built-in scaling and rollback capabilities. As a result, OpenShift may be a better choice for users who require more advanced orchestration features. 

    3Should I learn Kubernetes or OpenShift?

    The cloud-native world is full of container orchestration choices. But which one should you use of the two heavyweights: Kubernetes Vs OpenShift. If you're looking for a lightweight solution that you can easily customize to your specific needs, Kubernetes is probably the better choice.

    However, if you need a more complete platform with out-of-the-box features and support for running workloads in a hybrid cloud environment, OpenShift is worth considering. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your specific needs and requirements. 


    Abhresh Sugandhi


    Abhresh is specialized as a corporate trainer, He has a decade of experience in technical training blended with virtual webinars and instructor-led session created courses, tutorials, and articles for organizations. He is also the founder of Nikasio.com, which offers multiple services in technical training, project consulting, content development, etc.

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