"Eighty to ninety percent of clouds are driven by open source technologies," noted Michael Evans, Red Hat's VP of corporate development, in a recent interview. Use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware is a natural fit with such open source code as the Apache Web server and ServiceMix enterprise service bus, or the Eucalyptus cloud APIs. Red Hat finds its customers "want Red Hat subscriptions that can be used with an external cloud provider" as well as in-house, Evans said.
By working with independent application suppliers, it can guarantee that Enterprise Linux packaged with a particular application and converted into, say, Amazon Machine Image (AMI) files, is ready to run in Amazon's EC2 cloud. Together, Red Hat and the application supplier will come up with pricing by the hour or week or month that fits the user's cloud computing style, said Evans.
So Red Hat Tuesday established what it calls its Premier Cloud Provider Program. Existing Red Hat customers can move their in-house applications to the cloud, certified by Red Hat that they are ready to run. Or, independent software vendors can package their applications with Red Hat Linux and have them certified to run on various clouds.
The first Premier partner in the program is Amazon, which will work with Red Hat to ensure that application suppliers that want to run their software on EC2 produce the right combination of application and Enterprise Linux in the virtualized, AMI format.
The Amazon cloud started out running applications under Linux only. It added Windows Server 2003 last October.
"We are expecting that our expanded Red Hat relationship will help more customers take advantage of Amazon Web Services," said Terry Wise, Amazon director of partner relations, in the announcement yesterday.
Added Evans, "Cloud providers want end users to know that it's safe to deploy their applications in the cloud." Red Hat will expand its certification process to other clouds after getting started with Amazon, he said.
"Cloud providers want every application in our catalogue running on their set of resources. They want 'an Apple iPhone store' of applications," he noted.
"We need to provide reasonable guarantees that it's safe to run your application in the cloud," he said.
InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the current state of open source adoption. Download the report here (registration required).