Red Hat has revealed details of how it will turn OpenShift into a paid product, including how much the platform-as-a-service will cost.
The hosted development platform, which has been in beta since May last year, will split into two versions: FreeShift and the paid-for MegaShift. These will be released before the end of 2012, the company said on Tuesday.
"Introducing our model and plans for OpenShift with enterprise-grade support from Red Hat today is a huge step forward for Red Hat and developers who are looking to take an open, hybrid approach to the cloud," Brian Stevens, Red Hat's chief technology officer, said in a statement.
The OpenShift PaaS automates many of the detailed infrastructure administration elements needed to build a scalable web application. It does this using 'gears', which are containers with a set of resources for running code in the cloud. These gears house 'cartridges', which bring together the frameworks and components used to create an application.
Cartridges are enabled for PHP, JBoss, Ruby, Perl and Node.js, and Red Hat offers embedded cartridges that support MySQL, MongoDB and phpmyadmin. However, the PaaS can be customised to support any programming language, according to Red Hat.
Gears can be run in tandem to support one application — for example, three gears can collectively support one MySQL app — or can be used separately, with one gear per application.
FreeShift vs MegaShift
When it arrives, FreeShift will allow developers to use three OpenShift gears for free. These "small" free gears will come with 512MB RAM, 1GB of disk space and 100MB of swap space, according to Red Hat. 'Swap space' is an additional, slower form of RAM. If an individual gear uses up its memory allowance, then inactive pages in memory will be moved into the swap space, at the cost of increased latency.
The paid-for MegaShift version will cost a flat rate of $42 (£27) per month, plus a monthly fee for gears. Developers can subscribe to up to 16 gears. Beyond the three free small gears, customers can pay for up to 13 medium gears, with 1GB RAM, 1GB of disk space and 100MB of swap pace. Medium gears will cost $0.12 per hour, and extra small gears (within the 16-gear limit) will cost $0.05 per hour.
By comparison, Amazon Elastic Cloud instances, which are roughly similar to Red Hat gears, cost $0.08 per hour for a 'small' standard Linux on-demand instance and $0.12 per hour for Windows. A small standard instance has 1.7GB RAM and one EC2 compute unit — a virtual processor equivalent to a 2007 Xeon. A medium instance, with 3.75GB RAM, costs $0.16 per hour for Linux systems.
Red Hat said it plans to offer further OpenShift versions for businesses that need more than 16 gears. Developers on the existing beta will be able to use FreeShift, but will need to subscribe to MegaShift to use gears over and above the three free provided.
The major OpenShift competitors include Windows Azure, Google App Engine, certain components of Amazon Web Services, Citrix CloudStack, Cloud Foundry from VMware, EngineYard and Heroku. In April, Red Hat made the code underpinning OpenShift open source as OpenShift Origins.
ZDNet UK's Jack Clark contributed to this article