Red Hat Enters OpenStack Rodeo

Red Hat Distribution OpenStack (RDO) comes in free and commercially-supported versions for private cloud builders.
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Red Hat has launched its own version of OpenStack at a time when surveys show many companies are interested in building out a private cloud. The free Red Hat Distribution OpenStack (RDO) may appeal to firms looking for a standardized approach, as well as lock-in avoidance in their cloud architecture.

That contrasts with building a private cloud from a virtualization vendor's proprietary software, or copying the de facto standard of Amazon Web Services APIs through an implementation of Eucalyptus Systems code.

Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens, a member of the OpenStack board, announced the availability of RDO Monday at the OpenStack Summit, underway in Portland this week. RDO will run with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4, the community-based Fedora version 18 or clones, such as CentOS. CentOS is used as the basis for Oracle Linux.

A community forum has been set up for RDO users, along with documentation and sources of information on the latest Grizzly release of OpenStack. Support for RDO is also community based. For commercial support, Red Hat offers OpenStack Early Adopter Edition.

In addition to its own version of OpenStack, Red Hat offers the OpenShift development platform. At the end of 2012, it purchased ManageIQ to give it multi-hypervisor management and virtual machine orchestration capabilities.

[ For a closer look at what Red Hat got when it purchased ManageIQ, see Red Hat Buys ManageIQ, Gains Hybrid Cloud Tools. ]

"We're trying to invest heavily in an open, hybrid cloud strategy ... We've never been as well positioned as we are now," said Ashesh Badani, general manager of Red Hat's cloud business unit, during a recent interview at the Cloud Connect show April 2.

There are already several OpenStack implementations on the market. CloudScaling bases its Open Cloud System on OpenStack. Piston packages up OpenStack on a cloud key memory device and lets the customer load into the boot space of a top-of-rack switch. Nebula offers a controller that slides into a rack and converts it into an OpenStack cloud.

OpenStack distributions are available from Ubuntu and Suse as well, but Red Hat is noted for its heavily tested Enterprise Linux. Red Hat is the brand of Linux most frequently chosen for cloud production systems. And many cloud applications run under Linux. Three-quarters of Rackspace workloads are based on Linux, while two-thirds of Amazon Web Services workloads run on Linux, said Badani.

One differentiator among OpenStack vendors is which version of OpenStack they decide to include in their products. Both Red Hat and CloudScaling use Grizzly, which came out a few days ago. Piston prefers the older (and what it regards as more stable) version, Folsom.

Red Hat gained an ability to provide storage live migration as a result of its October 2011 acquisition of Gluster, which created the open source GlusterFS storage file system. It was added to Red Hat Storage Server 2.0 last June. A customer may use it to scale out storage systems across multiple storage domains.

Red Hat's RDO had been in a free developer preview form for two months before Stevens' announcement.

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