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Red Hat Launches Cloud Development, Management Platforms

New PaaS and IaaS systems will compete against offerings from VMware, Amazon and Google.

Open-source software vendor Red Hat continues to expand its cloud computing middleware product line, unveiling new Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service offerings Wednesday and launching a new partner program around its PaaS technology.

"This is one more building block to bring our Red Hat cloud offerings to the next level," said Paul Cormier, executive vice president and president of products and technologies, in a keynote speech at the company's Summit conference in Boston.

The new CloudForms Infrastructure-as-a-Service product is primarily targeted at systems administrators and IT operations managers, said Scott Crenshaw, vice president of Red Hat's cloud business unit. OpenShift, the new Platform-as-a-Service offering, is for developers who build cloud applications.

Last year Red Hat debuted Cloud Foundations, a package of tools, blueprints and best practices for businesses to take the first steps toward building a cloud system using existing Red Hat products. CloudForms and OpenShift are new products that build on Cloud Foundations, Crenshaw said.

"This is a whole lot more functionality than we had last year," he said.

CloudForms is designed to help businesses create and manage IaaS private and hybrid cloud systems. It includes application lifecycle management capabilities for governing an organization's application portfolio in the cloud, and configuring and managing complex multi-tier applications. CloudForms also helps create hybrid clouds using existing IT resources such as virtual and physical servers.

CloudForms helps companies tackle the growing problem of managing multiple hypervisors, multiple virtual machines and even multiple virtualization clusters, said Bryan Che, senior director of cloud product management and marketing at a Summit press conference. It provides cloud infrastructure services, such as migrating data in and out of cloud systems, and offers more robust resource management capabilities than traditional IaaS systems, he said.

"At Red Hat we really feel that we're redefining the capabilities that are necessary from an Infrastructure-as-a-Service standpoint for an enterprise to build out these hybrid and private clouds," Che said. "This is a solution that's entirely going to transform our customers' expectations and the value that they can derive from cloud [computing] because we can deliver end-to-end capabilities that customers need."

Cormier called CloudForms "the most comprehensive resource management [product] across bare metal, virtualized servers and public clouds that enables the application on the cloud for complete application life-cycle management."

CloudForms, now in beta and slated for general availability later this year, will compete most directly against VMware's vCloud software, as well as Rackspace's OpenStack project and products from smaller companies such as Eucalyptus.

Next: OpenShift PaaS Targets Open Source Developers


OpenShift, the new PaaS offering, creates a platform that open-source software developers can use to build and deploy cloud applications.

"This, we feel, is the best Platform-as-a-Service that's designed for people who are open-source developers," Cormier said, "but more importantly, designed by people who are open-source developers."

Built on the Deltacloud cloud interoperability standard, OpenShift supports a long list of development frameworks for Java, Python, PHP and Ruby languages including Spring, Seam, Weld, CDI, Rails, Rack, Symfony, Zend Framework, Twisted, Django and Java EE, according to Red Hat.

Red Hat is offering OpenShift in three packages: Express, a free service for relatively simple cloud deployments that Red Hat will manage; Flex, which gives customers more control over deployments; and Power, which gives businesses complete control over cloud deployments.

The OpenShift packages, particularly Flex, incorporate cloud technology Red Hat acquired late last year when it bought Makara, a developer of tools for deploying and managing cloud applications.

Red Hat also launched the OpenShift Partner Program, an expansion of its cloud ecosystem to include third-party open source software developers who work with the Platform-as-a-Service product. Early participants include Appcelerator, BitNami, Contendo, Couchbase, Dyn, EnterpriseDB, eXo, MongoDB, Mu Dynamics, OpenCrowd, OpSource and Zend.

OpenShift will compete most directly against VMware's Cloud Foundry PaaS system, and more generally against cloud development environments such as Salesforce.com's Force.com, Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk and Google's App Engine.

Express and Flex are available now as "developer previews," which allow users to deploy cloud applications but do not provide a service level agreement. They will be generally available later this year, as will the Power package of OpenShift services.

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