Cloud Hosting

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2008-09-08 Print this article Print


In the face of free competitors, or lower-cost competitors, will Red Hat need to move toward something like cloud hosting to stay in the middle of the transaction?

I certainly understand that CentOS and other free Linuxes are out there, but as the use cases become more complex-cloud, integration of all the components and virtualization, live migration, security tools, etc.-as integration for anything gets more complex, the more likely you want the people who wrote it supporting it and the people who certify it supporting it.

It's not just about RHEL; it's RHEL, it's virtualization; it's IPA [Identity, Policy and Audit], our security suite; it's Red Hat Network and oVirt, the project around the automation tools around managing the virtual instances.

You start putting all that together and you start saying, "Well, how am I going to pull out one layer and put, you know, a community version in here?" It's a lot harder. So, as the use case around it all becomes more complex, it's more likely that people will see the value in the subscription and the support and the service. And so certainly I think that accrues to our benefit, as well, regardless of the specific business model.

The relationship between Red Hat and CentOS is unique to the open-source world. I happen to think it's good for Red Hat that CentOS exists, but what's your take on it?

I think you're right. I mean, it's very easy in any business to get complacent, and CentOS keeps us on our toes with every single day [because] if we're not adding value that day, the customer can stop paying us. CentOS is there.

Now, again, [CentOS is] not Red Hat Linux-you don't get the certifications, you don't get the updates. It's different-it's a different set of ones and zeros, it's different bits, it's not certified.

That said, [CentOS] has functionality that's similar, and that keeps us on our toes. If we're not delivering value to the customer, they can turn us off, they can go to CentOS, they can not pay us. So, it does keep us on our toes, but I think it keeps us on our toes in a good way.

On a somewhat related topic, I'm curious to hear what your impressions are of Ubuntu.

I'm very pleased that Ubuntu is out there and [increasing] awareness of Linux. I think that's a great thing. We really don't compete with them in any material way. I think there are some very clear distinctions between Fedora and Ubuntu that I think are material and important in terms of our view and the importance of open drivers and open standards.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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