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Platform Engineering

Red Hat Readies Developer Hub, a Backstage Enterprise Distribution

Red Hat has contributed five more plug-ins to the Backstage project, as it gears up to release its own enterprise-grade version.
Nov 7th, 2023 10:29am by
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Earlier this year, Red Hat launched into early preview a distribution of Spotify’s Backstage, an open platform for building developer portals. Once enterprise-worthy, the Red Hat Developer Hub will be Red Hat’s entry into the emerging market of internal developer platforms (IDPs).

The enterprise open source company has donated five new plug-ins, providing platform users to incorporate the Azure Container Registry, JFrog Artifactory (repository), Kiali (Istio observability console), Nexis (repository manager) and 3scale (API managements) into their IDP pipelines. Red Hat revealed these plug-ins at KubeCon+CloudNativeCon 2023, being held this week in Chicago.

The plug-ins join others previously donated by Red Hat covering Tekton, Quay, Keycloak, Open Cluster Manager, and Application Topology for Kubernetes. The plug-ins were created by the Janus Project, Red Hat community project roughly analogous to what Fedora is to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

“We realized that people are looking to improve productivity and engineering,” said Balaji Sivasubramanian, Red Hat senior director of developer tools product management. IDPs provide a central portal for enterprise developers to use. This streamlines the workload for developers in that all the tools they use to build an application are available in a central catalog. And this saves time for system administrators and the engineering staff, as it limits the number of tools they support.

“Developer productivity is really taking a hit, as new technologies are evolving and every group [in the enterprise] is building their own stack,” Sivasubramanian said.

Rather than build an IDP from scratch, the company followed its traditional path of adopting an emerging open source project, investing in features that would make it usable for the enterprise.

Backstage was adopted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in September 2020, and is currently at the incubating level. Just as Kubernetes provides a way to orchestrate containers, so Backstage provides a way to help orchestrate applications so they can be easily used by developers.

“Backstage was made to bring all the developers together so that everyone is aware of what engineering is working on,” Sivasubramanian said.

Spotify built Backstage for its own developers, not as a general release product, so much work still needs to be done to make it enterprise-grade. With this is mind, Red Hat officially joined the Backstage community last year at KubeCon, with the intent of helping build the community and contributing to the core software base, as well as offering an enterprise version of the product.

Sivasubramanian did not have an exact release date for the general availability of Red Hat Developer Hub, but said it is close, probably within the next few months. When released, the Red Hat Developer Hub will compete with other versions of enterprise Backstage from companies such as Humanitec and VMware.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma, JFrog.
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