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Kubernetes vs Openshift – What’s The Difference?

The usage of deploying and developing applications allows for a faster rate of development. Containerization is increasingly being used for various programs in recent years. Container management solutions such as OpenShift and Kubernetes are popular.

There are many similarities between Kubernetes and OpenShift with some additional features. However, there are some differences that we will discuss in this article, namely OpenShift vs Kubernetes.

Kubernetes is an open-source technology that aids in automating containerized app deployment, administration, and scalability. OpenShift, on the other hand, aids with multi-tenant deployment and continuous application development.

It extends Kubernetes with operation-centric and developer tools to enable fast application development. The enhancements also aid in the simple scalability and deployment of programs.

Today, Kubernetes and OpenShift are two notable names in this space, and they’ve played a significant role in the container revolution. Both have their user community to brag about. They are popular, effective, adaptable, powerful, and uncomplicated.

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

  • Concepts for development and IT teams that are productive and machine-independent
  • Cutting-edge, future-proof architecture
  • Distributed system modernization and large-scale app development
  • Dependable and scalable architecture
  • Strengthens developer productivity significantly

More than half of businesses have adopted container technology since 2020, up from fewer than 20% in 2017.

Here’s a quick overview of both container management solutions and their basic parameters:

Let us go through the intricacies of Kubernetes vs OpenShift to understand them better and identify their areas of strength:

DevelopersCloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)Red Hat
Programming LanguageGoGo, Angular JS
CategoryCluster Management SoftwareCloud Computing, PaaS
LicenseApache Licence 2.0Apache Licence 2.0
Released In20142011

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes was created at Google and published as an open-source tool in 2015. Later, Google transferred the entire project to the Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Kubernetes, known commonly as a (CaaS), which is an open-source container, is a service orchestration system that automatically deploys, scales, and manages containerized programs, accelerating the development process.

There is a certain amount of maturity since the Google taskforce has addressed it.

“Kubernetes (often abbreviated as k8s[3]) is an open-source container management system for automating application deployment, scaling, and management.” — Internet Archive

“Kubernetes (K8s) is a free and open-source framework for automating the deployment, scaling, and administration of containerized applications.” – Kubernetes

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Features of Kubernetes

  • Allows you to use on-premises, hybrid, or public cloud infrastructure, enabling you to shift workloads efficiently
  • Servers and containers are subjected to rigorous self-testing
  • Scalable enough to change storage requirements based on demands
  • Executable in a variety of settings and cloud configurations
  • Can pick the best container placement automatically
  • Integrates well with standard storage systems
  • User community is highly active and supportive
  • Support for a wide range of languages and frameworks has been dramatically enhanced

Who uses Kubernetes?

eBay, Comcast, Philips, AppDirect, Spotify, Nav, Nokia, Ant Financial, China Unicom, IBM, Amadeus, Bose, and many more use Kebernetes.

What is OpenShift?

OpenShift, created by Red Hat, is a containerization software solution whose main product is the OpenShift container platform, a PaaS controlled by Kubernetes.

Red Hat’s vendor, OpenShift, has frequently referred to it as “Enterprise Kubernetes.” The Go programming language and AngularJS were used to create it.

It is licensed under the Apache License. The original version makes it easier for developers to develop and deploy programs to the cloud. It adds tools on top of a Kubernetes core to speed up the development and deployment process.

A Red Hat press release presents Kubernetes as a “platform for big ideas. With the premier hybrid cloud, enterprise container platform, OpenShift enables developers to innovate and ship faster.”

Red Hat OpenShift is a Kubernetes-supported platform for cloud-native applications with corporate security.

“Red Hat’s OpenShift is a containerization software family. The OpenShift Container Platform is its flagship product, an on-premises platform as a service developed on Docker containers orchestrated and administered by Kubernetes on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux foundation.” – Wikipedia.

Features Of OpenShift

  • Multiple languages are supported, including Go, Node JS, Ruby, Python, Java, Perl, PHP, and more.
  • The DevOps approach allows for rapid app development
  • Allows containerized programs to be scaled automatically or manually
  • Security checks are embedded within the container and application stack
  • Prometheus is used for application visualization and monitoring
  • Users benefit from unified policy implementation
  • Container workloads in Kubernetes are supported
  • Simple migration to a newer operating system without the need to rewrite containerization orchestration

Who Uses OpenShift?

Deutsche Bank, ThoughtWorks, Optus, Worldpay, BMW, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain, Healthcare, Inc, and many more utilize OpenShift.

Kubernetes vs OpenShift – A Comprehensive Comparison Of Important Parameters

Subsequently, OpenShift is grounded on Kubernetes, and hence, there are a lot of similarities between both, but let’s look at the essential parameters of both platforms.

Product vs Project


One of the primary distinctions between OpenShift and Kubernetes is that one is a product and the other is a project.

Unlike OpenShift, which is a well-known product, Kubernetes is a framework or an open-source initiative. Kubernetes is an independent project with many side projects, a community, and a whole ecosystem.

In difficult situations, it provides users with the assistance of external specialists and the community. However, it is entirely up to the consumers to utilize the project or pay for its support and features.

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator certification may be used to certify one’s abilities as a Kubernetes administrator.

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OpenShift enables customers to install a product that provides paid support via a subscription. The subscription includes CloudForms, which aids in the enhancement of the product’s functionality.

Users must renew their cluster subscriptions, and the amount increases as the clusters grow in size. An OpenShift lesson can help you delve further into the OpenShift principles.


It is up to you if you would prefer to pay for and utilize support and all of the features that come with a product (OpenShift) rather than a project (Kubernetes, but also OKD) with a self-support approach.

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Helm Charts of Kubernetes is more versatile than OpenShift templates in terms of flexibility. The use of cutting-edge templates and packages in the Helm chart is difficult to install on OpenShift.

The OpenShift Automation Broker or Service Catalog may be simply deployed on Kubernetes. However, Helm is unable to locate assistance on OpenShift.

This makes it challenging for users to work with the former’s rigid templates.

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Whether Kubernetes or OpenShift, both take place in different environments, but with Kubernetes, users may discover greater operating system flexibility.

However, OpenShift’s installation has some limitations; Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host (RHELAH) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host (RHELAH) (RHEL).

OpenShift can also be installed in Fedora and CentOS. Kubernetes do not need any particular criteria in terms of the operating system.

Even if deploying Kubernetes requires some special efforts and skills, it is mainly driven by the updated cloud computing.


Kubernetes has become a de facto standard, and it is now accessible on more platforms than OpenShift.

However, if it boils down to Kubernetes vs Openshift, with the new, more flexible, and quicker installation, we can anticipate OpenShift as a viable cloud-based alternative to Kubernetes.



Authentication and authorization can help differentiate Kubernetes from OpenShift.

Although Kubernetes lacks login commands, it does provide some authentications that need work to set up and configure. OpenShift, on the other hand, includes an integrated server for improved authentication.

Both platforms provide authorization using Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). Security contexts are part of container requirements in Kubernetes, whereas OpenShift has a distinct Security Context Constraint (SCC).

In terms of security, When it comes to OpenShift vs Kubernetes, the former’s approach unquestionably outperforms the latter.

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OpenShift’s security rules are tougher than that of Kubernetes’. The majority of the container images and many official images cannot work with the OpenShift platform.

People can efficiently run essential apps on Kubernetes, but OpenShift’s security restrictions prevent them from doing so.

A certain degree of authorization is necessary to maintain the minimum security level, which OpenShift may offer. Users that utilize OpenShift have no choice but to understand the policies to deploy additional apps.


OpenShift takes a “secure by default” approach.

Deployment Approach


Deployment objects in Kubernetes (which may also be used in OpenShift with all other Kubernetes objects) are responsible for updating pods in a rolling update way and are implemented internally in controllers.

OpenShift provides DeploymentConfig, but Kubernetes has deployment objects. Controllers implement deployment objects internally and utilize them to update pods.

DeploymentConfig, on the other hand, is implemented by specialized pod logics rather than controllers.

It is best to use deployment objects when dealing with numerous concurrent updates because DeploymentConfig does not support it.

On the other hand, deployment is superior when managing with several simultaneous updates. Furthermore, DeploymentConfig can not handle concurrent updates. Still, with Kubernetes, you may have several of them, and it will scale them correctly.

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OpenShift took a different approach to deployment management. OpenShift has a comparable object called DeploymentConfig that is implemented not by controllers but by complex logic based on specialized pods that control the entire process.

It has certain disadvantages, but it has one crucial advantage over Kubernetes Deployment: hooks may be used to prepare your environment for an upgrade, such as altering database schema. It’s a valuable feature that is difficult to achieve with deployment (and no, InitContainers are not the same because it’s challenging to coordinate with several instances running).


People choose OpenShift DeploymenConfig over Kubernetes deployment objects owing to several advantages.

We prefer OpenShift DeploymentConfig over traditional Kubernetes Deployment since it offers more choices and supports ImageStream.

Route vs Ingress


However, on Kubernetes, you have many more options because Ingress is known as an interface supported by various servers including AWS ELB/ALB, Kong, HAproxy, Traefik, GCE, and others, including Nginx.

On Kubernetes, although you may use several upgrades, my favorite is integration with cert-manager, which allows you to automate SSL certificate administration.

There will be no more manual steps for certificate issuance and renewal, and due to the connection with Letsencrypt, you will be able to use trustworthy CAs for free!

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Long before Kubernetes introduced Ingress, Red Hat required an automated reverse proxy solution for containers operating on OpenShift. So now we have Route objects in OpenShift that perform essentially the same thing as Ingress in Kubernetes.

The primary distinction is that routes are implemented using plain old HAproxy, which may be replaced by a commercial solution based on F5 BIG-IP.


So, which one is superior? Although it does not have as many capabilities as some Ingress implementations, we believe HAproxy in OpenShift is considerably more mature.

Regardless, both are fantastic. Ingress is younger and less developed than Router, but they both perform an excellent job.


This is a feature that we truly miss in Kubernetes and our favorite in OpenShift. OpenShift’s ImageStreams make it simple to handle container images.

This also simplifies the process of updating tags for pictures in the container registry. It enables the download and modification of whole images without the use of any additional programs.

Users may easily submit container images and manage virtual tags using OpenShift’s ImageStream.

Do you know how “simple” it is to alter an image’s title in a container registry? Without external tools such as skopeo, you must download the entire picture, make changes locally, and then push it back.

It’s also not an excellent approach to promote apps by changing container tags and amending deployment object definitions.

That is why we adore ImageStreams, and the following are the key reasons and features:

  • With ImageStream, you upload a container image just once and organize its virtual tags internally in OpenShift – in one project. You would always use the devel tag and only change the reference to it internally. In contrast, in production, you would use the stable or prod title and manage it internally in OpenShift without dealing with the registry.
  • When using ImageStream with DeploymentConfig, you can create a trigger that begins deployment when a new image emerges or a tag changes its reference. This is ideal for development situations where the program deploys itself every time a new version is produced (no CICD required).


OpenShift’s ImageStreams are fantastic! Users can conceal the source of images by using ImageStream. For the deployment environment, OpenShift is an excellent choice. When comparing OpenShift with Kubernetes administration, the ImageStream of OpenShift stands out the most.

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User Experience

When comparing OpenShift with Kubernetes, the user experience may better depict the differences between the two. Due to the sophisticated and cutting-edge interface, users continue to struggle to learn and manage containers.

Users may log into clusters with the help of OpenShift. However, to get credentials and generate files in Kubernetes, users must utilize other tools.

Switching between namespaces or projects is rather easy using OpenShift. However, with Kubernetes, you have to use extra resources.

A single command user in OpenShift may create container images and utilize them in many environments.


However, in the case of Kubernetes, this is problematic. OpenShift delivers a fantastic user experience, particularly for novices. In terms of user experience, OpenShift outperforms Kubernetes.

Integrated CI/CD

Red Hat built OpenShift long before the Kubernetes project was discovered, and it was always a PaaS platform.

Switching from their solution (they utilized something called gears instead of containers) to Kubernetes made it easy to add new capabilities, one of the most interesting of which is integrated Jenkins.

Several CI/CD software options are available, but Jenkins remains the most popular, ubiquitous, generic, and mature solution.

It is also often used in conjunction with Kubernetes clusters to create container images, run Continuous Integration activities on them, and deploy them as containers across various environments using Continuous Deployment pipelines. Because it is so popular, having it as a built-in feature of OpenShift makes the entire CI/CD process a lot less unpleasant.

Here is a list of our favorite integrated Jenkins features on OpenShift:

OAuth authentication – utilize your OpenShift login to connect to Jenkins, and depending on your project role, one of three Jenkins roles will be provided to you (view, edit, or admin).

It finally works as a Single-Sign-On with OpenShift 4. (in version 3, you have to log in to service each time using the same credentials).

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Once again, an additional OpenShift functionality makes it simple to deploy your apps using CI/CD pipelines. In this aspect of OpenShift versus Kubernetes, OpenShift, with its extra functionality, simplifies app deployment via CI/CD pipelines.



Another critical consideration in the OpenShift versus Kubernetes debate is networking. Kubernetes abstractly handles network traffic.

Although some Kubernetes components do not have native networking solutions, they do provide third-party plugins. Users may carry out their various activities using these plugins.


However, OpenShift provides users with its traditional networking program. The program’s OpenvSwitch is an out-of-the-box solution with an architecture that provides customers with three different plugins.

OVS-subnet, OVS-multitenant, and OVS-network policy are the three plugins. As a result, OpenShift outperforms Kubernetes in terms of networking.


In terms of networking, OpenShift once again outperforms. Thus, in terms of networking, OpenShift beats Kubernetes.

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Service Catalog


Another point of difference between the two is the service catalog. In the case of Kubernetes, the service catalog is an optional component that must be installed separately.

Following the completion of the installation, it is necessary to re-contact the existing service brokers. The Kubernetes service catalog provides fewer options for services within clusters. It has more provisions for managed services.


OpenShift has a service catalog with two default service brokers. It also enables users to incorporate another service broker for managed services, like in Kubernetes.


The OpenShift service catalogs enable users to install selected apps with ease. In comparison, the latter is superior in terms of the service catalog.



Kubernetes may be installed on your own devices as well as on a variety of platforms. As a result, the cost is determined by the medium used and the number of resources necessary.

Most providers, such as Google Cloud, Amazon EKS, and Azure AKS, offer price calculators that allow customers to enter their precise requirements and arrive at a pricing plan that fits them. You can read about it on the website.


OpenShift provides its services via various hosting platforms, including AWS, Azure, self-hosting, and Red Hat managed solutions.

Every forum has its price, with Azure starting at $0.76/hour, AWS beginning at $36,000/year, and Red Hat offering both a free plan and a $50/month plan if several projects are necessary. You can learn more about the plans on their website.


In terms of pricing, there is no obvious winner because it depends on each consumer’s demands. Both platforms are evenly priced; nevertheless, it all boils down to preference.

Pros and Cons

Kubernetes Pros

  • Kubernetes is compatible with simple apps dues to its subtle security policies
  • It has extensive community support which consists of experts and developers
  • You can install Kubernetes on several operating systems

Kubernetes Cons

  • The container image management is poor
  • Kubernetes learning curve is steep

OpenShift Pros

  • OpenShift has better container image management which makes it easy to deploy images
  • Its security features are airtight
  • The user interface is perfect for beginners

OpenShift Cons

  • OpenShift is not flexible
  • It has a relatively small and limited support community

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Similarities between Kubernetes and OpenShift

Kubernetes is the basis of OpenShift. However, owing to the add-ons and extensions described below, OpenShift isn’t the Kubernetes distribution.

It is different enough from other Kubernetes deployments to be classified as a platform in its own right. Because OpenShift is built on Kubernetes, the basic ideas of both technologies are the same.

Users create configuration files to describe how containerized applications should be deployed and then deploy and manage those apps across server clusters. Both platforms are also compatible with the same configuration languages, YAML and JSON.

Furthermore, both offer load-balancing and routing features and might even be deployed in the public cloud or on-premises. OpenShift also fully supports Kubernetes APIs. Thus any application which can run on Kubernetes may likewise run on OpenShift.

Differences between OpenShift and Kubernetes

The primary distinction between OpenShift and Kubernetes is OpenShift’s support for tools and extensions.

The primary command-line tool for cluster administration in most Kubernetes deployments is kubectl. The command line for OpenShift is known as OC.

In most respects, it is comparable to kubectl, but it adds capabilities that make tasks more accessible, such as container image deployment and cluster logging.

For log management, OpenShift additionally uses Fluentd, Elasticsearch, and Kibana. Kubernetes is compatible with these tools and several additional logging tools; hence, in the case of Kubernetes, users select how to manage to log.

Furthermore, OpenShift has a web management console; Kubernetes includes a comparable interface as an optional add-on, but it is not a fundamental component of Kubernetes.

Aside from tooling changes, OpenShift differs from native Kubernetes. Although many vendors offer Kubernetes distributions, OpenShift is a Red Hat product exclusively available through Red Hat.

Nonetheless, as previously said, Red Hat provides OpenShift as a service on several public cloud platforms.

OpenShift nodes must also be configured with Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS, but Kubernetes nodes can operate any Linux-based operating system – including Windows in the case of worker nodes.

Conclusion: Kubernetes vs Openshift – Which One Is Better?

OpenShift and Kubernetes are both open-source technologies designed to make container orchestration and application development easier.

They make containerized programs easy to deploy and administer. Both are built on a common core. OpenShift’s online console allows users to conduct about 80% of operations directly.

The choice between OpenShift and Kubernetes is determined by the user’s needs and how flexible the interface is necessary for development.