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Red Hat Puts Fedoras on IaaS & PaaS

It calls the beta IaaS effort CloudForms and the not-yet-ready-for-prime-time PaaS solution OpenShift

Red Hat took a flying leap Wednesday and landed with both feet on the cloud where it hopes to knock VMware, which it perceives as its biggest enemy, for a loop.

It announced that it's going into both the Infrastructure-as-a-Service and the Platform-as-a-Service business, pushing past its year-old first-generation Cloud Foundations widgetry.

It calls the beta IaaS effort CloudForms and the not-yet-ready-for-prime-time PaaS solution OpenShift.

CloudForms is described as a collection of upwards of 60 open source projects that can be used to automate the creation of private and hybrid clouds and - thanks to built-in ALM - manage multi-tier applications across multiple clouds, virtualization platforms and heterogeneous physical servers because the widgetry exploits Red Hat's Deltacloud APIs.

It supports Amazon, IBM and NTT Communications clouds along with Red Hat and VMware virtualization.

Taking a jab at VMware - and underscoring its implicit shift in focus - Red Hat claims CloudForms is "very different than cloud products from virtualization-only vendors, which focus on managing virtual machines, not applications, thus creating significant new complexity and costs. By allowing users to manage applications, not just VMs, Red Hat makes the promise of the cloud real by reducing management complexity and increasing IT agility and innovation."

Guess we'll see about that. For what it's worth, it did get Cisco, VMware's BFF, to call it a "game changer" even though Red Hat says that getting to the cloud is not dependent on "expensive migration from physical to virtual servers."

Red Hat's promising to extend CloudForms to include "a range of services to extend application portability from one cloud to another, including critical areas such as storage abstraction, messaging and high availability."

Unlike CloudForms, OpenShift is not all open source - at least not yet - and owes its existence to Red Hat's acquisition last year of Makara, the Java PaaS-on-EC2 start-up.

Typical of Red Hat the sales pitch will be that it's "ending the lock-in of PaaS."

Complements of those Deltacloud interoperability APIs again - and you can bet your sweet bippy there's a standards war lurking around the interoperable API corner - developers are supposed to be able to move their apps around to any Red Hat-certified public cloud with the flick of a one-line command.

Currently Red Hat-certified clouds are kinda thin on the ground but open source developers will be able to build and host applications on Red Hat infrastructure or run on EC2. Red Hat's infrastructure, by the way, is spread across multiple regions and countries.

OpenShift will be offered as a free multi-tenant Express edition, a dedicated Flex edition with built-in monitoring and a Power edition for large-scale Linux deployments on completely custom architectures or standard n-tiers.

Obviously it will compete with VMware's recently unveiled and completely open source Cloud Foundry, Microsoft's Azure, Google's App Engine, Salesforce.com's Heroku acquisition, even HP's expected entry as well as start-ups like Engine Yard.

Red Hat figures what will distinguish OpenShift in this merry field is its JBoss middleware - with its transaction and messaging services and business rules - and its plethora of supported development languages and frameworks including Spring, Seam, Weld, CDI, Rails, Rack, Symfony, Twisted, Django, Zend, Java EE and Eclipse. Support for Java EE 6 is planned.

(Obviously we have now entered the macho realm of my cloud is bigger than your cloud.)

Express supports Python, PHP and Ruby apps; Java support is reportedly on the way.

Flex, deployable on JBoss or Tomcat and offering more control and automation than Express, supports PHP and Java EE apps as well as SQL and NoSQL data stores and a distributed file system. MySQL, MongoDB and Memcache are available.

Power, which isn't available yet, is supposed to offer control down to the operating system configuration level, greater scalability and failover. It's expected to have an image configuration system, a scripting template system, an image library for re-using templates, and a way to dynamically define multi-VM architectures that span clouds. It won't demand a web front-end.

CloudForms is supposed to hit release in the fall. Currently Red Hat is offering no support or SLAs for OpenShift, which is still a developer preview that only supports one application per user with a limit of 128MB of disk.

Ultimate pricing wasn't disclosed.

Red Hat has set up an OpenShift Partner Program to encourage third-party integration and fan its ecosystem. Third-party solutions can be packaged as pluggable modules called cartridges. Appcelerator is its first mobile development platform; OpSource, EnterpriseDB, Dyn, eXo, BitRock, Couchbase, Mu Dynamics, OpenCrowd and Cotendo have also obliged.

See http://openshift.redhat.com and http://openshift.redhat.com.

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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