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Red Hat Expands its Cloud Strategy

by Jean-Jacques Dubray on Aug 31, 2010 |

Red Hat announced last week new elements of a comprehensive Open Source Cloud strategy, which was first announced last June. The focus is on Interoperability and Portability. Larry Dignan, ZDNET editor in chief, reported:

Paul Cormier, president of Red Hat’s products and technology business, said Red Hat is aiming to align all of its products with cloud computing.

 Elements of the strategy include:

  • Open Source
  • No customer lockin to a particular Cloud provider
  • Hybrid Cloud Environment as the de facto model
  • PaaS based on JBoss supporting Java EE, Spring, Ruby... with containers for transaction, messaging and integration

Overall, Red Hat aims at ensuring portability of:

  • computing resources
  • applications
  • services
  • programming models

Tim Prickett Morgan explained:

The portable computing part of the Cloud Foundations stack is based on the Cloud Engine, which is the Enterprise MRG grid and messaging middleware equipped with a forthcoming hypervisor, due with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, that Cormier says will have features to control the quality of service levels of VMs through allocation of CPU, memory, network, and disk.
This Cloud Engine includes an administrator portal for controlling users, groups, and permissions; storage management software; billing and accounting modules; resource management tools; and a job scheduler. It is wrapped lovingly in the Deltacloud APIs so other tools can plug into the Cloud Engine and so it can reach out to other tools and parts of a cloudy stack.

Bryan Che, manager of cloud computing at Red Hat, explained:

Red Hat's cloud management capabilities offer the tools a customer needs to implement and manage a cloud, providing scalability, robust resource management and portals through an included cloud engine, self-service portal, tools and Deltacloud APIs.

Larry added:

The moves make a lot of sense and position Red Hat well. After all, lock-in concerns are a big issue for technology executives investigating cloud computing. Given that Red Hat has many of the pieces for cloud computing the strategy positions the company as more of a Switzerland as other vendors pitch their IT wares.

Yefim Natis, distinguished analyst with Gartner, commented:

To achieve the full [...] benefits of cloud computing, applications must be deployed over a native cloud-enabled application infrastructure. Mainstream organizations must prepare to evaluate a full range of deployment options, including cloud, when planning their future application infrastructure investments,

Yefim provided a complete analysis of the announcement on his blog, here are some of his comments:

In real terms the new new in this announcement is only the “Cloud Engine” layer that plays two roles: (1) enabling portability to multiple underlying virtualization technologies and (2) managing the VMs on behalf of application instances (tenants).
Red Hat is not planning to be a provider of PaaS — only enabler of other people’s PaaS (for now)
Many Cloud providers prefer open source enabling technology because they are able to specialize it. 

Last week also Red Hat strengthened its relationship with Apache DeltaCloud initiative

Red Hat has submitted the API specification for Apache Deltacloud to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) as part of its participation in the DMTF Cloud Management Work Group

DeltaCloud is hosting APIWanted.org, a site where you can submit your ideas on Cloud APIs.

Last year, William El Kaim had published an article on InfoQ advocating similar themes. Will the Cloud be open and portable? or closed and proprietary? Is DeltaCloud a key element to make the Cloud open or is the initiative doomed into vendor politics like WS-*? Is the emergence of PaaS inevitable? Will the Cloud be hybrid or will the data center quickly vanish?

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PaaS by Chris Czarnecki

The PaaS offering is interesting. It is clear Red Hat are doing great work in the Cloud Space, I just find their marketing a little confusing. They have a big advantage over many other vendors in that they have a complete solution stack from virtualization to development tools. It will be interesting how this competes with VMWares Cloud Foundry and their offering built around the Spring Framework.

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