Red Hat Releases Hybrid Cloud Management Solution

When Red Hat bought ManageIQ almost two years ago, the plan was to take the small startup's proprietary cloud management and automation technology and distribute it through Red Hat's familiar business model of open sourcing.

With Monday's general availability release of CloudForms 3.1, a product that essentially rebrands ManageIQ's technology, Red Hat has made good on its intention to open-source the platform.

The 3.1 release, announced on the first day of the VMworld conference, has been engineered to manage enterprise-grade hybrid clouds across multiple infrastructure platforms and premises, Joe Fitzgerald, general manager for cloud management at Red Hat, told CRN.

[Related: Red Hat Acquires Cloud Services Provider eNovance]

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"Cloud management platforms are at the peak of the cloud management hype cycle right now, which means they are getting a lot of visibility for enterprises," said Fitzgerald, who was a co-founder of ManageIQ before coming to Red Hat.

In addition to being the first fully open-source product to result from the ManageIQ acquisition, CloudForms 3.1 is the first Red Hat product that can automate the functionality of five of the most popular cloud environments. It can run atop private clouds built with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager and offers extended integration into Amazon Web Services, VMware's vSphere and Red Hat's own Enterprise Virtualization system.

Red Hat has been a major supporter of the OpenStack project, so it's no surprise the 3.1 release introduces a number of new OpenStack capabilities.

"Enterprises don't want to have five different tool sets. So we were very focused to have this cloud management solution that goes across the various platforms. Enterprises can mix and match," Fitzgerald said.

Many clouds are all VMware today, but are adding OpenStack components, Fitzgerald said. With CloudForms, they can manage those separate infrastructure environments with the same management tools and on the same dashboards.

The 3.1 release also adds several features to CloudForms, including an upgraded user interface. The new version enhances automation and introduces a set of APIs to better enable integration with other tools and processes.

CloudForms ships as a virtual appliance. The open-source release went into beta about 10 weeks ago and has so far been downloaded 2,800 times, Fitzgerald said.

Jeff Chandler, president of American Technology Solutions, a MSP that partners with Red Hat, told CRN, "We are excited about this announcement from Red Hat and the industry leadership it demonstrates."

"The hybrid cloud market is really starting to gel and Red Hat is playing an important role in IaaS," Chandler said.

ManageIQ was founded in 2006, and offered a proprietary cloud management platform in its first years that was built on the Red Hat distribution of Linux and with OpenStack components. The company had partnered with Red Hat for a couple years prior to its full acquisition by the North Carolina-based software vendor for $104 million.

Fitzgerald said his experience since joining Red Hat has imparted on him a greater appreciation of Red Hat's commitment to open-sourcing technologies.

"I have a completely different appreciation for how open source works," he said.

"Before, I used it," he said. "But now I see Red Hat not only contributes engineers and leadership, but brings maturity. It has stuff for hardening it, securing it [and] testing it."