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Red Hat Bets the Farm on Hybrid Clouds

Red Hat has talked to enough enterprises – ‘cause that’s where the money is – to know that what they want now is a hybrid cloud.

Red Hat has talked to enough enterprises – ‘cause that’s where the money is – to know that what they want now is a hybrid cloud. The capex and opex temptations are just irresistible. How to get there is the problem.

To ensure Red Hat get a chunk of this hybrid action it’s proposing to let enterprises manage a hybrid cloud (presumably through its CloudForms management widgetry) so it looks like part of their on-premise Red Hat infrastructure.

It figures that since a nice percentage of the cloud-hungry enterprises out there are using RHEL in-house anyway, they’ll have little compunction about using it in the public cloud – initially just Amazon – (underscore JUST AMAZON) – if Red Hat guarantees that their (sometimes cloud-shy) enterprise apps – which are the whole point of the exercise – will run the way they’re used to in the cloud without any rewriting or tinkering.

It’s “wicked expensive” as well as a big pain in the neck to ensure that apps don’t break but if everything is uniform, applications and data can glide back and forth between the public and private cloud, and there’s no more lock-in.

And that, in a nut shell, is what Red Hat president, products and technologies Paul Cormier said Wednesday in an interview that Red Hat is doing – or, should we say, where it’s going.

Red Hat doesn’t care anymore, he said, whether customers use the proprietary VMware (Red Hat’s great enemy and the enterprise’s pet) or Microsoft (ditto). Screw it. It’ll support their hypervisors. Red hat being cheaper maybe, and open is the frosting.

Microsoft could prove to be a problem if it ever really got organized because it’s end-to-end like Red Hat but applications run on operating systems not hypervisors and that’s VMware’s long-term problem. It doesn’t have one and Red Hat does. Na Na Na Na Na.

Whether any of this has to do with KVM not being really prime time – or the fact that only 10% of Linux workloads are virtualized (supposedly RHEL is more efficient) – is unclear.

In a canned statement Cormier said, “Cloud computing has introduced a new era of IT and has brought enterprises to their most critical IT strategy decision this decade. We strongly believe that enterprises need to embrace an open hybrid cloud approach, combining all their existing resources into their cloud infrastructures, crossing physical, virtual and public cloud resources.”

In his opinion the customers’ alternative is to start from scratch and jettison what they’ve got (ouch!); silo everything (VMware’s solution); or go hybrid Red Hat’s way, making its OpenStack preference one of many – although right now OpenStack doesn’t even feature in the equation, only Amazon EC2 does.

To help get to Red Hat’s nirvana the company will deliver four hybrid cloud solutions later this summer. These prepackaged solutions integrate virtualization, cloud management, public cloud capabilities and the good ole Red Hat operating system (RHEL) on which everything is based.

They include Red Hat Hybrid Infrastructure-as-a-Service; an application-building, VMware Cloud Foundry-like OpenShift Enterprise PaaS now in various flavors; a VMware-taunting Red Hat Cloud with virtualization starter bundle restricted to in-house use; and the newfangled Red Hat Storage 2.0.


Each of them will cost $500 a guest. Red Hat says that’s cheaper per guest than VMware’s VSphere virtualization platform with no cloud in sight.

The OpenShift Enterprise PaaS will bundle Red Hat’s CloudForms management framework along with RHEL, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and JBoss middleware.

It will work inside the customer’s data center or in the cloud including an eventual DevOps edition that tests, auto-scales, packages and deploys the application. Then there’s the scale-out, open source, software-based Red Hat Storage 2.0, the first release of the clustered file system since Red Hat acquired Gluster in October.


It’s just reached general availability and can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud to create a petabyte-scale distributed NAS out of hundreds of dual-socket x86 server nodes and find data through a proprietary hashing algorithm, not a metadata server, removing a performance and scalability hump.

There’s Storage Server for On Premise and Storage Server for Public Cloud. It’ll work on Amazon and concatenate Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage (EBS).

It costs 29 cents - 30 cents a gigabyte compared to about $1 a gigabyte for rival products, according to storage VP Ranga Rangachari.

Red Hat Storage is available now. The rest come later this summer.

A couple of technology previews show off Red Hat Storage’s link to Apache Hadoop for Big Data; another touts its Virt-based graphical Console Management Station. When they might be production-ready is unclear.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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