Red Hat's cloud and virtualization portfolio

Cloud Customers

Article from ADMIN 15/2013
Red Hat massively expanded its cloud portfolio during 2012. This overview can help you evaluate Red Hat's products in the context of VMware and others.

CeBIT's focus on the "Cloud" in 2011 prompted many cloud providers to launch new business models, and new cloud products in particular sprouted like mushrooms in 2012. This year, the use of cloud technologies could become standard even for normal users.

This proliferation of cloud technology has not changed the inflationary use of the term "cloud" one iota, but decision makers should now be able to distinguish between the different SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS offerings, online storage, software products targeted to help users build their own hybrid cloud, virtualization management solutions, and the cloud/virtualization features included in various operating systems. Clarity in this area can help you develop a customized strategy for building your own cloud offering and evaluating the relevant offers.

If you are a supporter of free software and open standards and are currently considering Red Hat as your cloud partner, you might well ask yourself  – in the face of a seemingly quite confusing product portfolio [1] in the cloud segment [2] – whether Red Hat's current offerings are guided by a recognizable product philosophy. If you look closely, you'll see that Red Hat's cloud strategy follows a higher level vision. In 2013, Red Hat could become the first provider to implement an open, vendor-independent, hybrid cloud solution based exclusively on free software, which – besides its own products – also manages VMware and others in a common interface.

Red Hat's Current Product Lineup

If you have been following Red Hat's product policy in the fields of Enterprise Linux, Enterprise Virtualization, JBoss Middleware, and Cloud Computing, you will have noticed that cloud computing was Red Hat's specific focus last year. The open source specialist presented several new solutions in June at the Red Hat Summit [3]. Most of these officially became available at the end of 2012, thus allowing a clearer picture to emerge of Red Hat's overall strategy in the cloud segment.

The officially available cloud creations, namely, Red Hat Hybrid Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) [4], Red Hat Cloud with Virtualization Bundle [5], and Open Architecture IaaS service [6], are designed to support companies who want to build their own private, public, or hybrid clouds. As early as November 2012, Red Hat's OpenShift PaaS platform became available commercially as the OpenShift Enterprise Edition. OpenShift Enterprise allows data center operators, for example, to integrate the Red Hat PaaS service with their own infrastructure.

The acquisition of cloud specialists Managed IQ, which was announced shortly before the end of 2012, completes the puzzle. However, you can only judge the benefits of the new IaaS creations in terms of building your own private and public clouds if you are familiar with the base products and components and know where their functions fit into Red Hat's cloud stack (Figure 1). After all, CloudForms 1.1, DeltaCloud 1.0, Storage Server 2.0, JBoss Middleware, and Enterprise Virtualization 3.1 form the foundation for the new products.

Figure 1: Red Hat's cloud architecture aims to integrate both its own cloud technologies, RHEV-M and OpenStack, and third-party cloud technologies with the help of its Delta Cloud API.

Cloud with Virtualization Bundle

At the top of Red Hat's cluster stack are the new products that became available at the end of December, which themselves are bundles of existing technologies, led by the CloudForms cloud management suite and Red Hat's Enterprise Virtualization and IaaS resources and services.

A first glance shows the program framework, before functions and procedures of increasing complexity become visible. The Red Hat Cloud with Virtualization Bundle is a package consisting of RHEV Version 3.1 and CloudForms 1.1 that sets out to facilitate an enterprise's entry into cloud computing by consolidating the virtualization strategy at the same time.

Corporations that have not yet taken the step of virtualizing their server environments can combine this step  – at least this is Red Hat's idea – by deploying the virtualization bundle while establishing an enterprise cloud, combining two projects in a single cycle to reduce the total cost of ownership. This product bundle contains all the components needed for building and orchestrating cloud and virtualization platforms, and it includes virtual machine management, system management, and application lifecycle management.

Hybrid IaaS

Red Hat Hybrid IaaS (Figure 2), as the name would suggest, is a classic IaaS product designed to help enterprises reduce the inherent complexity involved in building a hybrid cloud environment. To allow this to happen, the solution bundles the fundamental components of RHEV, the CloudForms framework, and RHEL as a guest operating system in a package that also includes the option of integrating additional cloud resources from a Red Hat Certified Public Cloud Provider [7] on demand.

Figure 2: Red Hat Hybrid IaaS leverages various infrastructure components, technologies, and products from the Red Hat modular kit.

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