Red Hat: Open cloud requires open APIs and stacks

Red Hat announced the release of its Deltacloud 1.0 API last week and insisted that a truly open cloud requires open APIs as well as open source cloud platforms such as OpenStack. Like its sibling CloudForms platform, Red Hat's homegrown Deltacloud API (a project now hosted by the Apache Software Foundation) is repositioned as a tool for building an open hybrid cloud
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor

Like Citrix, Red Hat once hoped to establish its own platform as the de facto standard for open cloud computing.  

And like Citrix, the Linux giant backed off that dream in light of the community's demands for multi-vendor backed open cloud platforms. Citrix donated its CloudStack code to the Apache Software Foundation and Red Hat (which had already donated Deltacloud to the Apache Software Foundation) opted to back the rival OpenStack platform, and reposition its CloudForms Iaas as a hybrid cloud management platform. 

In that vein, Red Hat now pushes its homegrown Deltacloud API as one of a number of open APIs that ought to be supported in an open cloud era. In a blog posted August 3, Red Hat announced the completion of Deltacloud 1.0 API and said that it can be used, like CloudForms, as a tool by enterprises for creating a hybrid cloud platform. 

An open cloud, Red Hat stated, "requires more than open source code, important as that is. It also requires, among other attributes, APIs that are open, pluggable and extensible. This lets users add features, providers and technologies from a variety of vendors or other sources. Critically, the API itself cannot be under the control of a specific vendor or tied to a specific implementation, but must be under the auspices of a third-party organization that allows for contributions and extensions in an open and transparent manner."

The new Deltacloud 1.0 API offers that, particularly with new support for what has become (at this point in the game) the quasi standard cloud API proferred by Amazon. Like CloudForms, Deltacloud can be used as a mechanism for creating an open hybrid cloud platform, Red Hat noted: 

With its 1.0 release, Deltacloud offers a variety of front-ends, which is to say interfaces through which users make a request to a cloud provider. New is a basic Amazon EC2 front-end, which can be used to communicate with a variety of cloud providers using the popular Amazon Web Services interface. This is primarily intended for users looking to migrate between EC2 and another cloud provider.

Red Hat's revised approach to the open cloud is smart, savvy and useful for its enterprise customers as well as its shareholders. Rather than engage in a silly API war, the Linux giant has quickly acceded to the wishes of the greater open source community and in doing so has ensured that its own cloud source code and APIs will be embraced rather than abandoned as other platforms and APIs, such as OpenStack and EC2, accelerate.

The Deltacloud API 1.0 offers a modular front and back-end approach to the open cloud, Red Hat explained in its blog: 

"This new EC2 interface joins the RESTful front-end that implements the Cloud Infrastructure Management Interface (CIMI) from the DMTF's Cloud Management Working Group. CIMI defines a logical model for the management of resources within the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) domain. This standards effort has gained broad industry support," the blog notes, adding that there is also a Deltacloud “classic” RESTful front-end that implements an API developed prior to the availability of the CIMI work within the DMTF.

Deltacloud's back-end, i.e. what talks to the cloud providers themselves, is equally modular. Cloud provider-specific code is encapsulated within what's called a “driver.” This allows support for new cloud providers to be implemented independently of other components of Deltacloud. Among other advantages, this makes it easier for cloud providers to write their own drivers should they wish to do so.
The Deltacloud driver list is already quite expansive ... and includes compute and/or storage providers for cloud providers such as Amazon, Rackspace, Fujitsu Global Cloud Platform, IBM Smart Business Cloud, OpenStack, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and VMware vSphere. (In this context, “cloud provider” means any infrastructure that can provide resources for a hybrid cloud—including virtualization management platforms.)




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