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Red Hat Escalates Private Cloud Fight With VMware

Red Hat combines its Enterprise Linux with OpenStack to push its own private cloud stack alternative to VMware, Microsoft platforms.

Red Hat is offering companies with a big stake in Linux an alternative to building their private clouds with either VMware or Windows Server. It's combined its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with the open source code modules of OpenStack to produce its own cloud computing platform.

In effect, Red Hat would like its success with an enterprise version of Linux to translate into a second generation of success in private cloud computing. At its Red Hat Summit user group meeting this week in Boston, it announced the combination of RHEL and OpenStack as "Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform."

It also announced on Wednesday a partnership with the OpenStack consulting firm Mirantis to allow greater ease of implementation of on-premises, OpenStack clouds. Mirantis has produced Fuel, a deployment system that automates many steps in creating an OpenStack cloud. Red Hat, along with other investors, provided Mirantis with $10 million in venture capital on June 6.

For those who think of Red Hat as just an open source operating system, and perhaps JBoss middleware company, remember Red Hat bought the company that produced the open source KVM hypervisor, Qumranet. That move laid the groundwork for future moves because OpenStack uses KVM as its default hypervisor over other choices, such as open source Xen.

[ Want to learn more about Red Hat's push into cloud computing? See Red Hat Enters OpenStack Rodeo. ]

Red Hat already enjoys a great deal of success in public clouds. RHEL is frequently powering workloads on Amazon Web Services or Rackspace because companies have come to depend on it in production settings. That's one reason Piper Jaffray analysts three years ago named Red Hat as one of three companies most likely to benefit from IT's interest in cloud computing.

Red Hat has made a number of moves recently that saw it edging up to a private cloud platform. It previously launched its OpenShift platform-as-a-service for building applications in the cloud, and CloudForms for managing workloads on premises or in the public cloud. This April, it offered its own distribution of the OpenStack code, but had not yet integrated it with its server-side Linux.

Companies that already use RHEL can build out private clouds with the Red Hat platform and find that they're largely compatible with public cloud offerings from HP, Rackspace and IBM. Third parties like Ravello are even trying to make it easier to run KVM on Amazon's EC2.

Red Hat's cloud platform includes Red Hat Storage Server, which allows the combination of distributed storage into a private cloud storage system.

Red Hat also announced Wednesday a second piece to its approach to private cloud construction: Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure. It combines Red Hat's virtualization environment with management capabilities derived from its ManageIQ acquisition last December. They include end-user self-provisioning, host cloud server provisioning and workload middleware provisioning. The infrastructure software set is meant to move existing Red Hat virtualized data centers several steps forward into more of an automated, end-user, self-service operation.

Both Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform will become generally available in July. No subscription pricing was announced.

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