Openshift Vs Kubernetes: Difference Between Openshift & Kubernetes

OpenShift and Kubernetes are based on containerization. It can be considered as bundling of different applications for effective development, management, and deployment across different infrastructures. It enables scalability and offers more efficient application development. More than 75% of Businesses are expected to leverage containerization by 2022.     


This article is about the two commonly used platforms: OpenShift and Kubernetes. Let’s have a look at their features and differences.

What Is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration project that helps users manage clustered groups of hosts running Linux containers. It is a portable containerization system, helping developers in service management. Some of the features are automatic application deployment, operations, scaling, container balancing, self-monitoring, etc.

It was developed at Google. In 2015, it was donated to Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Hence, the Kubernetes community is managed by CNCF, and volunteer contributions are looking for development and releases. Red Hat is associated with Kubernetes even before the launch. Since then, it has become the second leading contributor to Kubernetes. 

What is OpenShift?

OpenShift is a software product that contains Kubernetes container management components with added security and productivity features. It is an enterprise open-source container orchestration platform. The word ‘OpenShift’ refers to downstream container orchestration technology. It is derived from OLD open source projects.


This family of containerization software, OpenShift, is created by Red Hat. According to Red Hat, Kubernetes is the kernel of distributed systems, while OpenShift is the distribution. OpenShift can be considered as containerization software and a PaaS. It is partly created on Docker (containerization platform).

Some of the features of OpenShift are built-in monitoring, consistent security, compatibility with Kubernetes container workloads, integration with a variety of tools, centralized policy management, self-service provisioning, etc. It allows developers to develop, test, and deploy applications on the cloud. It supports programming languages like Python, PHP, Ruby, Java, etc.

OpenShift and Kubernetes Working

OpenShift and Kubernetes both manage clusters, a group of containers. The cluster consists of two sections: Master and Nodes. Each node has its own Linux operating system. Containers run in nodes. The master maintains the overall state of the cluster, and nodes perform the actual computing work.

OpenShift is based on Kubernetes and has a lot in common. However, there are several differences between both platforms. Let’s have a comparison of OpenShift and Kubernetes features. 

Kubernetes Vs. OpenShift

Kubernetes and OpenShift have robust and scalable architecture that enables rapid and large-scale application development, deployment, and management. Also, they both run on the Apache License 2.0. Apart from these similarities between Open-Shift and Kubernetes, there are differences too.


As compared to OpenShift, Kubernetes is more flexible as an open-source framework. It can be installed on almost any platform such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, GCP, Ubuntu, Debian, etc. Whereas OpenShift requires Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host (RHELAH), CentOS, or Fedora. For businesses that are not using these platforms, OpenShift limits the possibilities.

Both products are based on Linux but run in a different environment.


The security policies of OpenShift are stricter as compared to Kubernetes. There are no built-in authorization and authentication facilities in Kubernetes. The developer needs to create bearer tokens and other authentication procedures manually. Whereas in OpenShift, there is a secure-by-default option for enhanced security purposes.


The support community of OpenShift is smaller than Kubernetes. There is a large active community of developers in Kubernetes. They actively work for the betterment of the platform. Whereas the support community of OpenShift is limited to mainly Red Hat developers.


The average number of releases in Kubernetes is around 4 per year, whereas OpenShift has three.


Kubernetes and OpenShift both are complex in terms of rolling out. Kubernetes has countless options for creating cluster on-premises such as Rancher Kubernetes Everywhere (RKE). Whereas OpenShift avoids the need for additional components after the initial rollout. Hence, there is an Ansible-based installer for installing OpenShift with the least configuration parameters.


Several concurrent and simultaneous updates are supported by Kubernetes, whereas OpenShift does not support DeploymentConfig.


Kubernetes users need to employ third-party network plug-ins for networking solutions. Whereas OpenShift has Open vSwitch, a network solution that has three native plug-ins.


The Helm templates of Kubernetes are flexible and easy to use. In comparison, OpenShift templates are complex and not user-friendly.


The dashboard of Kubernetes is needed to be installed separately. The access is made via Kube proxy. There is no login page. As a result, the web-UI of Kubernetes is not much helpful for daily administrative work. Whereas, OpenShift has a login page. Hence, it can be easily accessed. It allows creation and change of resources via a form.

Integrated Image Registry

In Kubernetes, there is no integrated image registry concept. Users need to set up their own Docker registry. Whereas OpenShift has an integrated image registry. It can be used with Red Hat or Docker Hub. The registry console of OpenShift also helps in searching for images or image streams.

Container Image Management

Kubernetes does not provide container image management. Whereas the container images in OpenShift are managed by Image Stream.

Check out: Kubernetes Vs. Docker: Primary Differences You Should Know

Difference between OpenShift and Kubernetes

The comparative features of OpenShift and Kubernetes can be listed as

Criteria                                    OpenShiftKubernetes
DeploymentLimited optionsMore flexible
SecurityEnhanced security,


No built-in authorization and authentication facilities
SupportSmaller, mainly Red Hat developers.A large active community of developers
ReleasesOn average 3 per yr.On average 4 per yr.
RolloutAnsible-based installer for installing OpenShift with the least configuration parameters.Countless Options
UpdatesDoes not support DeploymentConfigSeveral concurrent and simultaneous updates
NetworkingOpen vSwitch (three native plug-ins)Third-party network plug-ins
TemplatesComplex and not friendlyFlexible and easy
Web-UIWeb console with login pageNo login page
Integrated Image RegistryHas an integrated image registryDoesn’t have
Container Image ManagementImage StreamDoes Not Provide

Also Read: 12 Interesting Docker Project Ideas For Beginners

Which One Is Better?

OpenShift and Kubernetes are both open-source platforms that aim to facilitate application development and container orchestration. They offer easy deployment and management of containerized apps. Both are based on a similar core. The web console of OpenShift allows users to perform around 80% of tasks directly.  

The selection between OpenShift and Kubernetes depends on the user requirements and how flexible the interface is required for the development.

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