Red Hat and Quanta Cloud Technology, a hardware supplier to cloud providers, have teamed up to create a prepackaged version of OpenStack, Linux, and the Ceph open source storage system as a combination that's ready to be plugged in and go to work.
Quanta Cloud Technology (QCT) is a subsidiary of Quanta, a Taiwanese white-box company that's deeply involved in the Open Compute Project (OCP). OCP is aiming to design standardized, open source servers and switches. A set of preconfigured Red Hat software will be loaded onto Quanta servers, storage, and switches to produce an easy-to-install OpenStack-as-a-unit in a private cloud.
The versions of Linux and Ceph involved are Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Red Hat Ceph Storage, along with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. The combination represents a renewed effort by Red Hat to become a leader in OpenStack implementations. That effort has run into bumps and setbacks.
From the start, OpenStack implementations have been tough inside the enterprise. Intel invested heavily in Mirantis, an OpenStack consulting firm, in hopes of increasing the amount of OpenStack implementation expertise available. Mirantis was involved with implementations at PayPal and Gap stores in San Francisco, among others.
[Want to read about the PayPal OpenStack implementation, with help from Mirantis? Read PayPal Declares It's 100% OpenStack Cloud.]
Red Hat started working closely with Mirantis, but Mirantis never committed to using only Red Hat's Linux. In June 2014, Mirantis announced it was partnering with Canonical to produce its own version of OpenStack based on the version in the Ubuntu Linux distribution.
Tensions became evident as Red Hat reportedly said it would not support its widely adopted RHEL on the Mirantis OpenStack cloud, according to Diversity Limited's Ben Kepes's blog post on April 5. Red Hat's President Paul Cormier has previously denied that the company refused to support RHEL on other distributors' versions of Linux.
As Red Hat set up its own OpenStack consulting practice, Mirantis posted a new slogan on its website: "OpenStack software that works for you, not for your 'trusted vendor,'" a thinly veiled reference to Red Hat.
In addition to competing on OpenStack distributions, Red Hat has had to compete with the highly packaged hardware and software systems that several vendors offer as ready for private-cloud-like operations. Such "hyper-converged infrastructure" comes from HP Enterprise, VCE, VMware, and Cisco, where the servers come preloaded with virtualization, networking, and storage. Red Hat, by joining up with QCT, gains a skilled hardware builder and and configuration partner, something it hasn't had before.
QCT general manager Mike Yang said in the announcement that Red Hat customers are "seeking to emulate the efficiencies achieved by public cloud providers." By joining forces with Red Hat, the two can produce OpenStack and Ceph-based environments that customers can view as "jointly tested and validated," he said.
Late last year, QCT and Red Hat opened a Cloud Solution Center in San Jose, Calif., and another in Taiwan, giving prospective customers a test drive of their combined technologies. The two have developed several reference architectures for implementing OpenStack at different scales and cost-levels.
Quanta sponsored a Taiwan Ceph Summit on March 17 and additional demonstrations of the combined technologies will be held in cities around the world throughout 2016, Yang said.
If software suppliers can work closely with hardware partners on preconfigured systems, the consulting expense frequently cited by early OpenStack implementers may start to shrink. The difficulty of implementing a frequently changing open source cloud stack was what fueled Mirantis' early growth as a consulting company to 750 employees and attracted a $100 million investment by Intel. OpenStack is still changing rapidly, but the partnership of an open source software supplier with an open source hardware supplier may finally help organizations better manage those changes.