OpenShift and Kubernetes: Understanding the Pros and Cons of Each Solution

It is not fair to compare Openshift and Kubernetes directly because Kubernetes is only an independent open-source platform and Openshift is just an open-source offering by Red Hat. But Openshift is powered up by something called OKD or Origin Kubernetes Distribution underneath its cover. 

And this system includes Kubernetes as well as other open-source projects. So, we have got Kubernetes and Docker as the container runtime. They also have integration with Istio for service matching capabilities and many more. As Kubernetes is one of the components of Openshift, people get confused when comparing OpenShift vs Kubernetes

That is why we will cover the introduction, pros, and cons in a different way. So, let’s begin.

How Openshift Works?

OpenShift is a cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS). It allows developers to run containerized apps and workloads. Also, it lets them easily deploy, scale, and manage the applications, both on-premises and in the cloud. The most interesting part is it can provide additional functionality even though it is an open-source product.  

To do so, it uses Kubernetes as a base layer to provide orchestration functionality such as container orchestration, application lifecycle management, integrated security, and scalability. It comes with Red Hat offerings and is powered by Kubernetes on the inside. Openshift can also provide a great security and monitoring system, effective multi-tenancy features, built-in storage, and a CI/CD pipeline management system right out of the box.

Advantages of OpenShift

OpenShift provides a powerful set of features that make it a popular choice for managing and scaling containerized applications. Some of these advantages include:

Integrated security

OpenShift includes built-in security features such as role-based access control and network security, so you don’t have to worry about the security aspects and can focus on other work. 

Scalability with Flexibility

OpenShift supports a wide range of programming languages and frameworks. This allows developers to choose the best tools for their specific needs. And its Kubernetes distribution system can scale applications based on demand and can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.

Automation & Consistency

OpenShift provides automation tools and a consistent environment for building, deploying, monitoring, scaling, and updating applications throughout their entire lifecycle. This reduces a lot of workload on developers. 

Easy To Use

OpenShift is an open-source product. It means you can use it for free and also can customize it to specific requirements. Moreover, you will have a user-friendly interface and command-line tools. So, it has a user-friendly environment. 

Overall, Openshift’s additional functionality has made it a popular choice over Kubernetes. 

Disadvantages of OpenShift

There is nothing without flaws. Openshift has some disadvantages also. Let’s take a look. 

  • Limited vendor support: OpenShift is primarily supported by Red Hat. This may limit the availability of support and resources for organizations that use other vendors. 
  • Dependency on Kubernetes: OpenShift is built on top of Kubernetes. If there are any issues or limitations with Kubernetes, it will affect OpenShift. 
  • Complexity in the system: OpenShift can be complex to set up and manage, especially for organizations that are new to container orchestration. It is primarily a Linux-based system. it may not be compatible with Windows or other operating systems.

Introduction of Kubernetes over Openshift 

Kubernetes is a container orchestration system. Its main focus is to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications whereas OpenShift is a platform as a service (PaaS) that provides a more complete solution. Kubernetes does not have any additional functionality like Openshift. 

It only has the basics such as automatic scaling, and self-healing. Kubernetes requires more setup and management effort to run, while OpenShift provides a more user-friendly interface and command-line tools that make it easy for developers to deploy, scale, and manage their applications. Overall, Kubernetes is a powerful platform for basic-level infrastructure. 

Advantages of Kubernetes over Openshift 

Let’s take a look at some advantages that Kubernetes has over OpenShift.

Community & Portability

Kubernetes can run on various environments like on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid cloud environments. Also, it is a large community that has documentation, and available support. 

Customizability with Flexibility

Kubernetes provides an overall lower level of abstraction and more flexibility while Openshift is just with the Red Hat system. This allows more customization, fine-tuning, and the ability to run a variety of container runtimes and platforms. 


Kubernetes has a standard API and declarative configuration. This makes it easier to integrate with other tools and systems. Its stable ecosystem can adopt a wide range of great useful features. 

Overall, Kubernetes does scaling with its basic level features over Openshift. 

Disadvantages of Kubernetes over Openshift

There are some disadvantages that Kubernetes has over OpenShift.

  • Community Support: Kubernetes open-source community may limit the availability of support and resources for organizations that use other vendors. Here Openshift provides more robust support and resources.
  • Learning Curve: It requires a deeper understanding of container orchestration and cluster management. OpenShift provides a more developer-friendly environment and puts away the complexity of Kubernetes.
  • Scalability: Kubernetes is hard to scale, especially for large-scale production. OpenShift provides additional functionality like lifecycle management to make scaling easier. 
  • Higher maintenance and operation cost: Kubernetes requires more maintenance and operation efforts to keep the cluster running. OpenShift provides more automation tools that reduce the workload on the maintenance and operation teams.

Final Verdict

The choice between OpenShift and Kubernetes depends on your specific requirements. OpenShift is a more complete solution and is suitable for organizations. It wants a platform with additional functionality and an easy-to-use interface. Kubernetes is more suited for organizations that want a more basic container orchestration system and are comfortable with additional setup and management.

OpenShift is a cloud-based platform service and Kubernetes is a container orchestration system. Openshift can be complex to set up and manage and may have limited vendor support. But its easy interface, scalability with flexibility, automation, and consistency. This has made it a popular choice for developers. 

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