I said it before, I'll say it again. Red Hat will always be a Linux company, but it's betting its future on the cloud. Its latest moves, the release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.3 and the OpenStack-based Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI) 4.0, is Red Hat raising its cloud bet.
It starts, as all cloud projects do, with virtualization. The latest RHEV is designed to deliver traditional datacenter virtualization while providing an on-ramp to OpenStack RHCI. RHEV's new self-hosted engine allows it to be deployed as a virtual machine on the host. This in turn reduces its hardware requirements.
Red Hat is also doubling down on RHEV's advantages for OpenStack. The company states that RHEV "enables customers to deploy a common set of OpenStack services (Compute, Storage and Networking) that can be used by their datacenter virtualization platform through Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, as well as their private cloud through Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. With a cohesive environment between the private cloud and the datacenter, a variety of enterprises may now deploy traditional and elastic workloads without having to duplicate infrastructure layers."
Red Hat isn't going it alone on its new virtualization path. HP, NetApp, and Symantec/Vertias are all using RHEV's third-party plug-in application programming interface (API) framework to provide datacenter ready applications to work with it.
As for RHCI, it's designed to "provide organizations with a comprehensive Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform that bridges operations over existing traditional virtualization environments, as well as new private and public cloud resources." Needless to say, Red Hat would prefer if you used RHEV for your hypervisor, but, it can work with other hypervisors.
Beneath its virtualization layer, it, of course, runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It's also designed to work hand-in-glove with RHEL OpenStack Platform, and Red Hat CloudForms. The latter is "a heterogeneous management tool to unify operations for multiple hypervisor environments and cloud technologies."
Together Red Hat claims that these feature "tighter integration between these three components, enabling users to reduce image inconsistencies and duplications by only creating a single set of virtual images."
Red Hat's general manager of virtualization, Radhesh Balakrishnan, summed it all up in a statement: "Red Hat is excited about the updated offerings to meet the datacenter virtualization and elastic cloud needs of customers structuring their journey to an open hybrid cloud. These offerings are engineered to help build a more productive and efficient open private cloud and provide a more reliable infrastructure for IT and cloud operators. Now backed by the world's largest OpenStack partner ecosystem, Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure helps IT to bridge datacenter infrastructure silos and more effectively meet user needs."
I summarize the Raleigh, NC-based Linux power's announcements as Red Hat wanting to be your all-in-one, private or hybrid, OpenStack cloud provider. In Red Hat's perfect world, you'll use their complete software stack in your datacenter for all your cloud needs.
If you put your money on Red Hat, you'll have one vendor for all your cloud needs. And, if things go wrong, you'll only have deal with one vendor to deal with your problems. I think many businesses will find this an attractive option.