Red Hat plans to do for OpenStack what it did for Linux

Red Hat plans to do for OpenStack what it did for Linux

Summary: Red Hat transformed Linux from being a hobby operating system to being an enterprise operating system and now it has the same plan for the OpenStack cloud.

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Red Hat will use the same plan with OpenStack.that it used to make Linux a star

In 2002, Linux was on its way to becoming a major business operating system, but it wasn't there yet. Then, Red Hat dedicated itself to make Linux an enterprise operating system. Ten years later Red Hat was the first billion dollar pure play open-source company. Today, Red Hat announced a similar plan for the OpenStack cloud.

Just as with Linux, Red Hat knows there's no way it can make OpenStack the de facto cloud software of choice for the enterprise by itself. In a blog posting, Red Hat's OpenStack team wrote, “A huge community is contributing to OpenStack. More than 180 participating companies and 400 contributing developers have produced six software releases in just a little over two years. Some organizations will choose to leverage all that innovation directly by implementing, testing, patching and supporting community releases on their own.”

Others, such as Boris Renski of Mirantis, a major OpenStack system integrator, worry that new OpenStack member VMware will undermine OpenStack. Red Hat certainly has no love for VMware. In 2011, Red Hat declared VMware its biggest enemy. But, Red Hat isn't worried. It has faith both in OpenStack and its plan on how to turn it into a profitable business as well as great software. 

In its OpenStack positioning statement, Red Hat doesn't address VMware or its other OpenStack frenemies by name. Instead, the Raleigh NC-based firm is taking the same tact as it did with Linux: It's emphasizing its open-source expertise.

The team said: “Collaborating through upstream projects is at the heart of the economic and business model that makes open source such an effective way to develop software. Red Hat leverages the work done by vibrant open source communities such as OpenStack, thereby allowing our customers to take advantage of the work done by hundreds of companies and individual developers, not just Red Hat. However, working through communities isn't about just taking open source code and doing the downstream testing and hardening necessary to make it into a commercial product.”

They continued, “It's about participating in upstream communities as contributors and having a policy that drives code enhancements and fixes into the upstream. In many cases, Red Hat employees are among the key maintainers of and contributors to those upstream projects. This helps ensure that we take the greatest advantage of the strengths associated with open source development and that we maintain the technology expertise to provide fast and knowledgeable support to our customers.”

Specifically, ”Much of this work involves working closely with partners such as chip and system vendors. At a low level, take ACPI-based power management, for example. It's a hardware specification and interface for controlling the power consumption of a processor by offering mechanisms to dynamically change processor speed or to put processors in low power sleep states. Implementing such capabilities requires working with processor vendors such as Intel and AMD; system vendors such as IBM, HP and Dell who must decide how their systems designs and BIOSs support ACPI; and upstream Linux kernel maintainers to extend system schedulers and other subsystems as needed. While proprietary vendors work with partners as well, the level and scope of participation is often greatly enhanced with open source.”

For Red Hat, working with the hardware vendors and upstream software developers is just part of the story.

“Red Hat has a long history of working closely with technically sophisticated and demanding customers to improve Linux across a wide range of metrics such as scalability, real-time performance and security. … Increasingly, customers are not only involved with the process of developing the software on which they base their business. They’re driving the agenda.”

Sometimes this work isn't that exciting. There's not going to be “Oh shiny!” iPhone 5 moments. The statement continues: “Done properly, the outcome is somewhat boring -- systems that just work. Predictable behavior. A lack of exciting failures. Even a good night's sleep for system admins. That's good boring.”

Does that sound familiar to you? It sure does to me. It's exactly the same approach Red Hat took to making Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) the most popular business Linux in the world.

There are almost 200 companies trying to turn OpenStack into a commercial service and product. Even with VMware in the field, I wouldn't bet against Red Hat being the big OpenStack winner in the long run. Afterall, we know their approach worked perfectly when it came to Linux.

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Topics: Cloud, Data Centers, Linux, Open Source, Servers, Software Development, Virtualization, VMware

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15 comments
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  • A community with different agendas and little cooperation / trust

    Yeah. That sounds like a recipe for success.
    LBiege
  • Red Hat plans to do for OpenStack what it did for Linux

    Red Hat always brings the best expertise to the projects they have been part of.


    Hooah!
    RickLively
  • I don't think companies should declare enemies

    It's unnecessary and undignified. Vendors can and should compete for customers, but I can't see what good it does to hype it up even internally, much less externally. It certainly doesn't strike me as professional or otherwise business-like. It's enough to sell the best product you can as hard as you can with the expectation that the competition will do the same.

    The "beat Google" fixation of a certain prominent CEO who shall remain nameless prompted me to respect him even less than I did before.
    John L. Ries
    • You personally have anything to loose, then name nameless.

      “The "beat Google" fixation of a certain prominent CEO who shall remain nameless prompted me to respect him even less than I did before.”
      RickLively
      • We get enough MS-controversy around here

        Without my needlessly naming Steve Ballmer.
        John L. Ries
        • Srsly?

          I honestly thought you meant Steve Jobs with that comment. Ballmer at least wants to beat the competition through legitimate means, not by abusing the legal system.
          Han CNX
  • Red Hat over praised

    Credit for RedHat success is directly linked to the versatility and forward thinking of the Linux kernel team and the developers at gnome. the other fluffy crap that Red Hat has incorporated over the years is just Red Hat trying to private eyes Linux ..Debian is a true reflection of the versatility of Linux in the enterprise level more than Red Hat ever going to be. As long as we got Debian we are fine....Red Hat cloud whatever with open-stack has to be proven
    shebroman
    • What is private eyes Linux?

      “Red Hat cloud whatever with open-stack has to be proven”

      Its not only Red Hat, there are others that are part of OpenStack...
      RickLively
      • Privatize?

        As daboochmeister pointed out here not long ago, Red Hat does make their source code available to anyone. Even if they have made it more difficult to copy:

        http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2011/03/04/red_hat_twarts_oracle_and_novell_with_change_to_source_code_packaging/

        Therefore, Red Hat meets the letter, though perhaps not the spirit, of the GPL.

        SUSE is another commercial Linux distribution, while Canonical's Ubuntu is a cross-between Debian and RHEL/SUSE. Anyone can download and install the Ubuntu binaries as well as the source code. However, Canonical provides paid support options for those needing it as well.

        Debian has not obfuscated its source code as did Red Hat in 20111. Thus. Debian meets both the letter and the spirit of the GPL.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Red Hat plans to do for OpenStack what it did for Linux

    They are going to take a dying platform that was never well thought out and try to convince people to use it even though it won't run the majority of their apps, have security issues, and be unstable? Sounds about right, that's what they did with linux.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Microsoft disagrees...

      “try to convince people to use it”

      Windows Azure's spring fling: Linux comes to Microsoft's cloud
      zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/windows-azures-spring-fling-linux-comes-to-microsofts-cloud/12869
      RickLively
    • Not really.

      Linux was nowhere near dying when Red Hat came on the scene in 1993. Nor was it dying in 2002 when they released Advanced Linux Server (what later became RHEL). While Linux has never had formal design specifications, the developers seem to be able to get most big design decisions done well.

      Linux can run many different forms of apps, including Windows ones via WINE. Of course, it can also run pretty much any x86/PPC/ARM app available with the in-tree KVM hypervisor.

      All software will have security issues; while some of the security issues in the Linux kernel have been embarrassing, they're no worse than the mound of security issues you see in other systems like Windows.

      I will, however, agree that most Linux distributions are incredibly unstable. There are some out there that have decided to even forego having an installation framework. That's how it goes with free software; you have good maintainers and bad ones. Fedora – and by extension, Red Hat – seem to be two of the few good maintainers.
      Andrew Wilcox
    • Truth Hurts

      Linux runs the world, from supercomputers to smartphones to the Internet to Google and Amazon. You have nothing left now but a yesterday's fading, crash-prone desktop market. Hurts, doesn't it?
      ricegf
  • Need honest members to not rush out and apply for patents

    As happened with HDMI5 some members rushed out and patented items that were crucial to HDMI5 success. I hope that this will not happen with OpenStack. If it does, the members can attest that the ideas were presented in meetings and were thus not original patentable ideas.

    It must remain free and Open
    lsatenstein@...
  • Professional Journalism

    "is taking the same tact as it did with Linux"

    Dammit Dammit DAMMIT

    Cannot you at LEAST, if you profess ANY semblance of being a professional journalist, use words WHICH YOU UNDERSTAND!

    And if you don't understand them, DAMMIT, LOOK THEM UP!

    Thereafter you will not beclown your 'professional status' by using the wrong word, when you misheard something once upon a time, but use the phrase anyway, when a moments reflection on the true meaning of the words would convince anyone but a moron journalist THAT IT IS WRONG.

    The phrase is 'taking the same TACK'. It comes from sailing. It has nothing to do with 'tact'. And it would be stretching to consider that you really meant that Red Hat intended to be diplomatic, careful and solicitous in its dealings on this subject. Because you did not mean that.
    Geoffrey Newbury