CloudForms was originally positioned to be a standard open source cloud Infrastructure as a Service platform.
Since the company first discussed its plans for CloudForms and OpenShift last May, there have been many development in the cloud space, not the least of which is the advancement at least two more community-focused open source cloud platforms known as OpenStack and CloudStack.
Red Hat announced in April that it will develop its own OpenStack cloud IaaS distribution. The CloudForms hybrid cloud management platform, which will support OpenStack, is also designed to run with Red Hat's OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service offering.
OpenStack was originally developed by Rackspace and NASA but now counts more than 175 backers including Dell, Intel, AMD, Rightscale and IBM. Even VMware has publicly nodded to OpenStack's advancement, partnering with Piston Computing to develop an OpenStack layer to VMware Cloud Foundry.
In an hour-long conference call today, Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens acknowledges that some of CloudForms' functionality overlaps with other open source IaaS solutions especially in areas of self service and automation but he emphasized CloudForms as a comprehensive platform for open hybrid cloud management with application management included.
CloudForms offers more than just automation on top of virtualization, the common denominators of core IaaS platforms, he said. "There may be overlap in some capabilities ... [but with some other offerings] all you can do is build cloud automation on a virtualized silo and make it into a cloud silo," Stevens said.
For example, CloudForms gives customers the ability to create and manage hybrid clouds and applications that run in these mixed on-premise and public cloud infrastuctures.
With CloudForms, users can build a hybrid cloud that combines an on-premise cloud with any trusted public cloud such as Amazon or Rackspace. They can also deploy and manage one Application Blueprint and policy across multiple on-premise clouds, public clouds and virtualization technologies, Red Hat said.
CloudForms is part of the Red Hat IaaS stack comprimised of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Enterprise Virtualization, JBoss Enterprise Middleware and Red Hat Storage stack.
CloudForms is based on the company's open source DeltaCloud APIs but will incorporate full support for Red Hat's OpenStack distribution.
Today's repositioning of CloudForms is well timed as enterprises increasingly ponder how to build and mix their on-premise cloud data with data stored in public clouds.