OpenShift vs Kubernetes: 7 key differences

OpenShift and Kubernetes are different cloud-related containerization technologies that have been discussed since their inception.

In this article, we compare the two options so you can understand what each does and which one you should choose.

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What is Kubernetes?

In 2014, Google developers developed Kubernetes, an open source container-as-a-service (CaaS) framework. It is a portable, open source containerization system that allows developers to easily manage workloads and services.

This framework can automate the deployment, scaling and operation of applications and allows developers to leverage features such as process automation, container balancing, self-monitoring and memory orchestration, to name a few.

What is OpenShift?

OpenShift is Red Hat’s family of containerization software solutions. Essentially, Openshift is a Kubernetes cloud container platform that is containerization software or a platform as a service (PaaS).

The platform is also partially based on Docker, another popular containerization software. The package offers integrated monitoring, centralized policy management, consistent security and, of course, compatibility with Kubernetes container workloads.

It also supports several programming languages, including Go, Node.js, Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl and Java.

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The two technologies look very similar at first glance, especially since they both operate under the Apache 2.0 license, but there are still many differences between them.

We will compare these two factors with the following.


Openshift wins in this category because of its stricter security policies and its secure-by-default option, which significantly improves security. Running the containers as root is also prohibited, which is a common violation and security hole.

Kubernetes, on the other hand, has no built-in authentication or authorization capabilities. This means that developers can manually create better tokens and other security and/or authorization procedures.


Since Kubernetes is an open source framework that can be installed on almost any cloud service like AWS or Azure and Linux distributions including Ubuntu, it offers much more flexibility than Openshift when it comes to deployment options.

The robustness of Openshift on the proprietary atomic host Red Hat Enterprise Linux, also known as RHELAH, Fedora or CentOS, greatly limits the freedom of deployment for developers.

Update and release

Kubernetes is again the winner with an average of four releases per year. The framework also supports multiple, simultaneous updates.

Openshift receives an average of three issues per year. There is also no update for the Openshift DeploymentConfig.

Horizontal relationships

Kubernetes’ open architecture and flexibility means that even if the framework doesn’t offer native networking solutions, developers can simply plug in a third-party networking plugin of their choice and they’re done.

Openshift has an advantage here because it has its own networking solution called Open vSwitch. It is also supported by three native plugins that add additional functionality.


The open-source architecture of Kubernetes gives it profit and flexibility. The platform supports headset models that are very easy to use and very flexible.

Openshift supports templates, but they are anything but flexible and easy to use.

Container image management

It’s a pretty simple equation. Openshift allows developers to use image streams to manage their container images. Kubernetes, on the other hand, does not have this functionality.

Technical development assistance

After all, it’s much easier to find support for something on Kubernetes when you have a larger user base and a fairly active community of developers who are constantly improving the platform.

Although Openshift supports multiple languages, it has a much smaller support community, mostly limited to Red Hat developers. So finding a solution to a problem can take a little more effort.

So while Kubernetes can help you automate tons of application deployment, operations, and scaling, Openshft can work with Kubernetes to help you run applications more efficiently.

Both platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages. Apart from that, the choice really depends on your specific application scenario and, depending on the strengths or weaknesses, which variant best suits your project.

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frequently asked questions

How is OpenShift different from Kubernetes?


What is Red Hat OpenShift compared to Kubernetes?

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Does OpenShift use Kubernetes?

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