Red Hat moves forward with new OpenStack release

Red Hat's latest release underscores just how important OpenStack is to the Linux giant's future.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Red Hat's bread and butter will always be Linux, but OpenStack is increasingly bringing home the bacon. For proof of Red Hat's commitment to OpenStack look no further then its release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5.

Red Hat will always be a Linux company but with its embrace of OpenStack, it's it's becoming a major cloud corporation as well.

Red Hat is making this investment in OpenStack, which also includes its recent purchase of the OpenStack integrator eNovance, because the company believes that customers are ready to invest in the OpenStack cloud. While I was at the OpenStack Summit in May, I saw many major enterprise companies actively seeking OpenStack-savvy employees and partners.

A recent IDG/Red Hat survey put numbers behind these observations. They found that 84 percent of surveyed enterprise customers had OpenStack as part of their private cloud plans.

That's more then enough to build a business on. 

OpenStack Platform 5 is Red Hat's third enterprise release of its OpenStack offering. It's designed to act as the foundation for OpenStack cloud's private cloud users, telecommunications companies, internet service providers, and public cloud hosting providers.

Beneath it, you'll find the newly released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.4.

Platform 5 starts with the OpenStack Icehouse release. On top of that, Red Hat had added several new features aimed at helping OpenStack technology's enterprise adoption. These features include:

Three-year support lifecycle, providing stability and support for enterprise cloud environments. Backed by Red Hat’s award-winning Global Support Services team and the world’s largest certified OpenStack partner ecosystem with more than 250 partners — including joint support relationships with hundreds of certified software, hardware, and services partners — Platform 5 gives customers confidence that they will receive support for their production environments.

Support for integration with VMware infrastructure, encompassing virtualization, management, networking and storage. Customers may use existing VMware vSphere resources as virtualization drivers for OpenStack Compute (Nova) nodes, managed in a seamless manner from the OpenStack Dashboard (Horizon). Additionally, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5 supports the VMware NSX plug-in for OpenStack Networking (Neutron) and the VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) plug-in for OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder).

Better placement of workloads across cloud resources. Server groups enable workloads to be spread broadly across the OpenStack cloud for enhanced resiliency of distributed applications, or located proximately for lower communications latency and better performance of complex applications.

Improved support for virtual machines, supporting new cryptographic security requirements from the United States and United Kingdom. Using the para-virtualized random number generator device added in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, cryptographic routines in guest applications will have access to better quality encryption and will experience improved performance.

Improved interoperability of networking stacks. The new modular plug-in architecture for Neutron eases the addition of new networking technologies to OpenStack deployments. The new architecture provides a path for customers with heterogeneous networking environments who want to use a mix of networking solutions in their OpenStack environment.

On top of that, OpenStack Platform 5 offers the OpenStack data processing service (Sahara) as a Technology Preview. This should enable faster provisioning and easier management of big data (Hadoop) clusters on OpenStack. The idea is that the combination of Hadoop and Sahara will give business customers a powerful platform for data-driven, cloud-based applications.

RHEL OpenStack Platform 5, is available now. Within the next few weeks, RHEL OpenStack Platform 5 engineered with RHEL 6, will be available. This version will work for companies that have yet to move from RHEL 6 to the brand new RHEL 7.

With support from companies like Cisco, Dell, and Intel, there seems little doubt that Red Hat's latest OpenStack release will quickly win over numerous enterprise companies. Red Hat, which lags behind Canonical's Ubuntu as OpenStack's most popular operating system, is working aggressively to build up its business audience.

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