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Companies interested in using Kubernetes to help manage their containerized applications have a new option from Microsoft and Red Hat that should ease them into the notoriously complex world of Kubernetes.

Azure Red Hat OpenShift is now generally available, the two companies plans to announce Tuesday at the Red Hat Summit in Boston. Fresh off his Microsoft Build keynote appearance on Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is expected to join Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst on stage to show off the latest installment in the partnership between the two companies.

OpenShift is Red Hat’s container-management software product based around the open-source Docker and Kubernetes projects, and it’s designed for mainstream to late-adopter enterprise computing customers that want the benefits of containers without the hassle of managing them. It’s available both as a cloud service and for on-premises servers, but the launch of Azure Red Hat OpenShift represents a new direction for Red Hat, said Satish Balakrishnan, vice president of product management, in an interview with GeekWire.

“We’re actually creating more choice but also creating a new model, where we’re offering this managed offering via Microsoft Azure. It’s the first of its kind in the world, in terms of a jointly engineered, supported and operated OpenShift platform,” Balakrishnan said.

The two companies announced Azure Red Hat OpenShift at last year’s Red Hat Summit. OpenShift is available on other public clouds, but Microsoft and Red Hat will jointly manage and support this service on Azure and customers will be able to pay for it through a single unified bill from Azure under a revenue-sharing agreement.

“A lot of the customers who we’re talking to that are interested in containers and Kubernetes are coming from a Red Hat background,” said Gabe Monroy, partner program manager at Microsoft. “They’re looking for OpenShift to help them in their journey to a more cloud-native world.”

In general, a lot of those customers built applications around Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) a few years back and are looking for ways to modernize their infrastructure. They’re one of the biggest driving forces behind the embrace of hybrid cloud computing strategies by cloud computing providers, who have recognized that lots of companies have applications they can’t or won’t move to the cloud and need products that bridge the gap between their data centers and new applications built on cloud services.

Red Hat engineers were given access to some of Microsoft Azure’s internal customer-support technology in order to make sure OpenShift would work as a jointly managed product, Monroy said. Red Hat and Microsoft also plan to jointly manage and support other Red Hat products on Azure, including RHEL, Ansible, and a combination of RHEL and SQL Server.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 was also introduced Tuesday at the conference, which should be the last one Red Hat puts on as an independent company while awaiting regulatory approval of its $34 billion takeover by IBM. That approval is expected to come through in the second half of the year.

Update 1:38pm: The Department of Justice announced late Tuesday that it has cleared the IBM-Red Hat deal, which is not a surprise but makes it all but certain that the deal will close in the second half of the year.

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