IBM recently revamped several IBM Cloud starter kits to use Red Hat Universal Base Images (UBIs).
What are base images?
Containers de-couple apps from the underlying platform by encapsulating an operating system, language runtime, and dependencies along with the application. The container base image usually contains the first two things (operating system, runtime) and a package manager for adding dependencies. The base image is often a black box to developers, but it is critical to the reliability and security of the final application container image.
Why use UBIs?
By using UBIs in your starter apps on IBM Cloud, you reap all the benefits from using a true enterprise grade Linux operating system—Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)—as your application host. UBIs contain a pared-down version of RHEL, but unlike the full RHEL versions, base images are freely redistributable. Simply by using the Red Hat UBIs, your applications will leverage an operating system that provides stability, reliability and security tools, guidance, and timely fixes.
For example, a specialized Red Hat team is charged with updating and maintaining fundamental libraries like glibc and OpenSSL in UBIs. This means that you reduce operational risks as you scale out and migrate your applications into production environments just by building your application containers with Red Hat UBIs.
You can also run your Red Hat UBI-based application containers on any OCI-compliant platform (Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud Kubernetes Services, or otherwise) without paying licensing fees. Additionally, Red Hat UBIs are developed, tested, and maintained by Red Hat, so you can be confident that the image is a solid, supportable base for your enterprise application.
Which starter kits are based on UBIs?
Currently, UBI-based starter kits are available for Node, Java, Python, and Go. You can positively identify UBI-based starter kits because they carry the "Red Hat UBI" tag. If you would like to check out these starter kits, you can find them here.