Red Hat's cloud and virtualization portfolio

Cloud Customers

OpenShift Origin/Enterprise

OpenShift [8] is Red Hat's Cloud Application Platform, which was released under a community license in May 2012. The Platform as a Service (PaaS) product provides programmers development tools in the cloud, removing the need for them to set up their own environments for software projects.

The OpenShift platform is based on technology by Makara, a provider of cloud services that Red Hat acquired in 2011. In May of the same year, Red Hat announced that it would be putting OpenShift under an open source license (the Apache License). All OpenShift components centered around the community version, known as Origin server, have been available on GitHub since May 2012 [9].

According to Red Hat, OpenShift aims to revolutionize the market for PaaS. OpenShift provides software developers with numerous languages, frameworks, and SQL and NoSQL databases, and even allows them a free choice of the Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider who will ultimately host their applications (Figure 3).

Figure 3: OpenShift also includes the integration of cloud resources from a Red Hat Certified Public Cloud Provider where needed.

After completing the official beta phase last November, OpenShift (Figure 4) is now available as a commercial product under the name OpenShift Enterprise [10] and rounds off Red Hat's cloud portfolio in the PaaS sector. With OpenShift Enterprise, data center operators can incorporate OpenShift PaaS services relatively easily into their own infrastructure and assign their customers development instances.

Figure 4: OpenShift Enterprise allows data center operators to set up their own PaaS offerings based on the OpenShift platform.

OpenShift and OpenShift Enterprise are based on a number of Red Hat technologies; besides RHEL, these specifically include JBoss Enterprise Application Platform [11]. In contrast to the open source version OpenShift Origin, OpenShift Enterprise supports access via developer IDEs, the REST API, and command-line tools, in addition to a purely web-based console [12].

OpenShift currently supports the Java EE, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Perl programming languages. On top of this, OpenShift provides frameworks for various programming languages that accelerate the development of software, including Java EE, Spring, Seam, Rails, Rack, Symfony, Zend, Django, and Twisted. In terms of data storage, OpenShift supports all major database management systems, including MySQL, SQLite, and MongoDB. After the release of version 7 of the open source JBoss application server, which in turn is based on the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform  6, OpenShift now also supports Java EE 6, which – according to Red Hat – makes OpenShift more scalable and maintainable.


CloudForms [13] is Red Hat's open, hybrid cloud and systems management platform and thus the core of all cloud solutions presented so far, with the exception of OpenShift (Figure 5). The current version 1.1 was also presented at the Red Hat Summit 2012 and will replace Red Hat Network Satellite [14] in the future. Corporations can use CloudForms to create their own hybrid clouds that extend to the entire infrastructure of the company, relying on various components that, in turn, use different virtualization technologies for private and public clouds. Besides the ability to establish cloud mixes with CloudForms, corporations can also manage them without having to commit to any particular cloud provider.

Figure 5: CloudForms facilitates building and managing hybrid cloud mixes of infrastructure components.

The technical product description of CloudForms version 1.0 [15] provides an excellent overview of the intended components in Red Hat's cloud stack. According to this description, enterprises need CloudForms, Storage Server [16] (which is also designed as an appliance), JBoss Middleware, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) [17], and – underpinning all of this – Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) [18] to build a homogeneous Red Hat cloud. However, Red Hat does not seek to restrict the choice of cloud technologies to those that RHEV provides.

OpenStack Included

It is well-known that Enterprise Linux includes the open source cloud solution Eucalyptus [19]; RHEL 7 will also include OpenStack 2.0 (Folsom) [20]. Obviously, Red Hat views OpenStack as very important, as is evidenced by its joining the OpenStack Foundation. Incidentally, Red Hat revealed its open source (and, unlike Eucalyptus and OpenNebula, vendor-independent) OpenStack-related strategy in depth at the Red Hat Summit 2012 [21].

Another important piece of the puzzle related to Red Hat's vision of vendor-independent, hybrid clouds is the Deltacloud API [22], which Red Hat created in 2009 and handed over to the Apache Software Foundation in 2011. It was developed with the goal of abstracting the virtualization technologies, storage formats, and protocols deployed by numerous, independent cloud providers, thus making it possible to build a vendor-neutral cloud using, for example, CloudForms.

In August last year the stable version 1.0 of Deltacloud became available; it supports a considerable number of cloud vendors and cloud infrastructure solutions. Other than Red Hat's own RHEV-M and OpenStack, they include Amazon EC2, IBM SBC, VMware vSphere, Rackspace, and the open source cloud stacks Eucalyptus and OpenNebula.

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