OpenShift – Free for life – Experiment without expiration

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Cloud has become most integral part of most of the enterprises and many businesses are banking on the services provided by Cloud Service providers. The delegation of managing infrastructure to experts and focusing on the core business, definitely seems to be right choice. This trend mandates every developer to get acquainted with Cloud enabled systems and understand how it actually works. Luckily, there are many Cloud Service Providers, who are providing trial packages that range from 1 year long subscription, or servers nodes that wake/sleep for a duration or ready to go services without worrying about underlying OS and managing virtual machines. While various carriers are providing trial based services, interestingly one of the carrier is providing non-expiring cloud subscription for free and its definitely worth exploring for hobbyists and learners.

The service is provided by redhat and it is known as – Openshift. Its pretty easy to get started with the Openshift and it doesn’t require Credit Card information to be punched in (Sounds cool!). The basic package provides 3 small gears that combines total 1.5 GB RAM and 3 GB disk space. That’s all for no cost and free for life. One of the coolest thing is to use the control panel, which provides cartridges (a package containing software). There are no hassles of creating VMs and downloading softwares to setup. Its a user friendly interface and with just few clicks you can get started.

Openshift Cartridge

Openshift Cartridge

The cartridges range from Continuous integration server, databases, BPM, CMS, backup servers, JEE application servers, Serverside JavaScript stacks, PHP, Python, Ruby, Perl, Go etc. All of these are available to experiment at one click. Additionally, some of the cartridges are available with different versions of softwares e.g. Ruby and Python has cartridges based on different versions of each language. If that’s not all enough for you and want your own flavor of cartridge, the service also provides option to upload one. And there is more Openshift also provides option to create scalable application, which can manage increased load as you tend to grow.

Once you are done with application setup on Openshift control panel, the local machine can be set using rhc client. The source code is stored inside git managed repository and upon committing the changes, the Openshift hooks ensure that the application is restarted. You can also use ssh to access the application remotely. Application hosted on OpenShift, also gets a secure URL accessible over internet suffixed with rhcloud.com.

All this said, the free version isn’t suitable for running Customer or Business facing applications. Openshift provides options to go for pay as you go model and the options can be customised to increase disk space, CPU and RAM.

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