Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat's General Manager, Virtualization and OpenStack, spent some time discussing the launch of Red Hat's packaging of OpenStack software. The package is called "Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4.0."
What did Red Hat announce?
Here's how Red Hat describes RHEL OpenStack Platform 4.0:
Key features and benefits in Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4.0 include:
- Full support for Foreman. Foreman is a life cycle management tool for provisioning of both physical and virtual infrastructure resources. Foreman eases the deployment and expansion process through remote physical servers and a graphical user interface that provides a real-time global view of system resources.
- Full support for OpenStack Orchestration (Heat). OpenStack Heat provides a template-based orchestration engine to quickly provision a broad range of infrastructure resources, from new compute nodes and application virtual machines, to specifying disk volumes, networks, security groups, and more.
- Full support for OpenStack Networking (Neutron). Neutron (previously named Quantum) delivers “networking-as-a-service” (software-defined networking) between interface devices, such as virtual network interface cards (vNICs), that are utilized by other OpenStack infrastructure services.
- Full support for OpenStack Telemetry (Ceilometer). Ceilometer collects and stores OpenStack resource metering and usage data. It also provides data query services for use with the enterprise operational support systems (OSS) and billing support systems (BSS) that are commonly deployed by service providers.
- Integration with Red Hat CloudForms. CloudForms offers a unified management interface for Red Hat and non-Red Hat datacenter virtualization solutions, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.
- Enhanced integration with Red Hat Storage Server. Red Hat Storage Server provides OpenStack Object Storage (Swift), OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder) and OpenStack Image Service (Glance), offering a robust and scalable storage solution for use with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.
All of this is tied together through deep integration with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its stability, military-grade security, broad application support, scalability, and overall high performance. By leveraging an OpenStack solution optimized for and integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux , organizations can focus on delivering innovative yet critical new services to customers on a hardened enterprise platform.
There are a number of open source projects that target being the leading platform for cloud computing. The communities behind Apache CloudStack, Eucalyptus and OpenStack are all hoping that their combination of technology and community will be the one that eventally takes the lions share of the market. Red Hat has some involvement with all of them, but has chosen to package OpenStack and offer it as an "enterprise-grade" product to its customers. Red Hat points out that it has been the number one contributor to the OpenStack project for the last two years.
Balakrishnan made it clear that Red Hat was looking for something that was open; had a large and vibrant community; was the platform for many client clouds; and had strong support for the virtual machine technology that Red Hat favors, KVM. OpenStack checked all the boxes and was the best choice.
Red Hat has always wanted to be the "go-to" company for everything open source. It has a long history of picking what appears to be the leading player in the competition among different open source projects and offering the technology packaged as a Red Hat product. Many times these have turned into successful products for Red Hat and on few occasions, Red Hat chose the wrong technology and some other community project comes to the forefront in the market. I remember Red Hat offering a packaged version of the PostgreSQL database as Red Hat Database Server. When MySQL became the leading open source database, the PostgreSQL-based version was quietly retired. Later a MySQL-based database product appeared with some fanfare.
What Red Hat has demonstrated time and again is that it has the capability of taking rapidly-moving open source projects and being able to offer reliable, stable, enterprise-ready products based upon those products. It has taken the upstream innovation offered by the open source community and has been able to package it in ways that offered a good customer experience.
Red Hat has partnered with a number of hardware suppliers who already have OpenStack products and services. The market, at this moment, appears to be a friendly, but competitive environment. OpenStack packages are being offered by Dell, HP (Public Cloud) and IBM. It is also being supported by software companies such as eNovance, Mirantis and Piston Cloud. It is being supported by a ever-larger group of cloud service providers, such as RackSpace.
Will Red Hat win and become the leading supplier of this technology? Only time will answer that question. What is very clear is that Red Hat sees an opportunity to use OpenStack to grow the market for open source software in general and Red Hat revenues in specific.