Red Hat OpenShift Commons Adds Fuel To Cloud Foundry Competition

Red Hat looks to boost its cloud development platform by giving it a Commons where developers may exchange best practices.
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Red Hat is attempting to breathe fresh life into its struggling OpenShift open source development platform by creating OpenShift Commons, a place where it hopes developers will collaborate and share best practices around trends such as DevOps and container use.

OpenShift is a platform as a service meant to bundle all the tools and services IT teams need to develop and deploy apps to a public or private cloud. Cloud Foundry is its main open source rival platform. OpenShift brings together Docker containers, the Google-sponsored Kubernetes container cluster management system, the Red Hat container host, Atomic server, and many development tools and languages.

Red Hat envisions that technology base surrounded by discussion groups in the Commons led by Red Hat staff and other Commons participants.

The initiative might be viewed as just another general purpose, goodwill gesture for open source developers, except for the fact that it includes Docker, the company behind the container formatting engine used by many of the developers Red Hat hopes will adopt OpenShift. Red Hat was an early partner of Docker's and highlighted Docker containers during its summit last April in San Francisco.

[Want to learn more about Red Hat's early entry into containerization? See Red Hat Linux Containers: Not Just Recycled Ideas.]

In addition, Red Hat announced two big partners in OpenShift Commons -- Cisco and Dell, which have an interest in an alternative to Cloud Foundry.  

Many of Cisco's competitors, including IBM, VMware, Pivotal, and HP are lined up behind the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service. The support includes contributing funding to the Cloud Foundry Foundation that governs it. But Cisco has hedged its bets, too; it is also a supporter and user of Cloud Foundry, as shown in this YouTube video.

OpenShift has faced a series of setbacks. Last year Red Hat ally Rackspace had intended to lead a launch of OpenShift technologies into the open source cloud project OpenStack. It launched Project Solum, which was designed to provide a platform-as-a-service inside OpenStack. Then VMware offered to relinquish control of Cloud Foundry, and Rackspace switched to becoming a founding member and donor to the foundation 11 months ago.

Since then, OpenShift has launched OpenShift Enterprise as an on-premises development platform. OpenShift started out available online from a Red Hat data center, then became available as a low-cost development platform on Amazon's EC2.

In addition to Docker, Cisco, and Dell, early OpenShift members include Amadeus, AppDirect, GetUp Cloud, and Shippable. The developers at GetUp Cloud built the company's software over the last two years on OpenShift.

Matt Baker, executive director of Dell enterprise strategy, said in the announcement that the Commons would prove one of the places for "cross-ecosystem collaboration," a place where Linux and Microsoft .Net developers could exchange views or container users discuss the merits of different container formats.

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