Red Hat is mounting a multi-pronged bid to become a larger supplier of cloud computing. One of its key open source projects, Deltacloud.org, which builds a multi-cloud API set, recently moved into the Apache open source incubator.
That may seem like a lesser tremor in the earthshaking annals of present-day cloud computing, but the Apache Software Foundation remains the gold standard of high-quality open source production. A project highly compatible with other Apache software plus Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware may prove attractive to developers charged with developing internal or private clouds.
In many ways, the Deltacloud APIs amount to an effort much like the OpenStack project being mounted by cloud provider Rackspace, as it works with the NASA Nebula cloud engine and converts it into an alternative open source project. If both projects get off the ground, there will be two sources of rapidly evolving, cloud open source code.
"The goal is to get to the point where you don't have to think too much about the cloud provider," said Bob McWhirter, consulting software engineer at Red Hat, in a video posted on the Red Hat site on Deltacloud's beginnings. A private cloud implementer who used Deltacloud APIs would be able to run a workload internally, then "spill over to the public cloud" when demand warranted, he said.
The Deltacloud approach will be based on Representational State Transfer or RESTful interfaces that minimize operations and operate lightweight Web services over the HTTP protocol. The set of interfaces will allow "a full set of cloud services, including self service for end users," said Brian Stevens, CTO of Red Hat, in an interview.
Stevens said Deltacloud is an alternative and, he acknowledged, "competing" set of cloud APIs with the Rackspace effort. The APIs for OpenStack will be based on the Nebula cloud engine and Rackspace's Cloud Files storage system, he noted, "with Rackspace project managers" at the head of both efforts. That is, as an open source project, OpenStack, will have a vendor strain to it, he seemed to say.
Developers ultimately determine the success among competing forms of open source code by choosing one predominantly over the other, and the Apache logo will be a Deltacloud advantage, he added.
Clouds that will be supported by Deltacloud include Amazon's EC2, Rackspace, Eucalyptus Systems, Rimu Hosting, GoGrid, OpenNebula, and RHEV-M.
Additional recent moves into cloud computing by Red Hat include:
--Introducing at its Red Hat Summit and JBoss World event June 23 in Boston a stack of Red Hat software designed to be used in building and managing an infrastructure as a service platform, Red Hat Cloud Foundations, Edition One. It can also be used as a basis for platform as a service, said Stevens. Foundations includes how-to recipe books and best practices.
-- Red Hat added IBM, NTT Communications, and Savvis to its Certified Cloud Provider program -- those suppliers guaranteed to run Red Hat software successfully. The program, started in June 2009, previously had one supplier, Amazon's EC2.
-- Red Hat and Cisco Systems have integrated Cisco Virtual Network Link technology with Red Hat's virtual machine management product, Enterprise Virtualization. They have also integrated the Cisco Unified Computing System Virtual Interface Card with Red Hat's hypervisor, the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). The combination creates a network infrastructure that allows network and storage services to follow virtual machines as they are migrate live around the data center.
IT Service Management Must EvolveThe idea of technology being delivered as a service appeals to the 409 IT pros responding to our Service-Oriented IT Survey. But cloud providers are competing for that work, and CIOs are being selective.