Red Hat announced a sweeping cloud-computing initiative that includes a new offering for creating and managing cloud environments, as well as a new platform for developers using open-source technology to create cloud applications.
At its Red Hat Summit 2011 in Boston, the company announced the beta of Red Hat CloudForms, a product for creating and managing IAAS (infrastructure as a service) private and hybrid clouds. Red Hat also announced OpenShift, a PAAS (platform as a service) for developers who build on open source. CloudForms incorporates both ALM (application lifecycle management) and the ability to create integrated clouds from a range of computing resources with portability across physical, virtual and cloud-computing resources.
During a May 4 press conference, Bryan Che, senior director of product management and marketing at Red Hat, said CloudForms leverages Red Hat's technology and expertise of more than a decade of powering the mission-critical infrastructure and applications for some of the world's most demanding organizations.
By incorporating ALM capability, Red Hat CloudForms enables organizations to benefit from the elasticity and flexibility of cloud computing while retaining the ability to control and govern their application portfolio in the cloud. CloudForms addresses key problems encountered in first-generation cloud products: the cost and complexity of virtual server sprawl, compliance nightmares and security concerns, Che said. It also allows users to more easily configure and manage complex multi-tier applications, rather than having to independently manage large numbers of virtual servers. Once defined, these applications can be deployed, managed and moved between different clouds, virtualization environments and bare metal servers.
Moreover, Red Hat said the applications can be more quickly modified for time-critical security fixes, application updates or configuration changes. And compliance and security problems associated with clouds are substantially reduced because administrators know and control the applications, their configurations and where they are allowed to execute.
Red Hat officials said another benefit of Red Hat CloudForms is the ability to create hybrid clouds using existing computing resources, including virtual servers, from many different vendors, such as Red Hat and VMware; a range of public clouds from Red Hat Certified Cloud Providers such as Amazon, IBM and NTT Communications; and traditional in-house or hosted physical servers, including high-density racks and blades.
"With CloudForms, Red Hat is changing what CIOs expect from private clouds," Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager of the cloud business at Red Hat, said in a statement. "With its leadership in enterprise operating systems and middleware, Red Hat gives users an easier way to build hybrid clouds and manage what they really care about: applications. Red Hat CloudForms also lets them deploy and manage their applications on any type of server: physical, virtual and public cloud. This is very different than cloud products from virtualization-only vendors, which focus on managing virtual machines, not applications, thus creating significant new complexity and costs. By allowing users to manage applications, not just VMs, Red Hat makes the promise of cloud real, by reducing management complexity and increasing IT agility and innovation."
"Cloud computing is still relatively early in rolling out, yet many enterprise and service provider organizations are ready to move ahead deploying more applications in public, private and hybrid clouds," said Jay Lyman, senior analyst at The 451 Group, in a statement. "Tools such as application lifecycle management, particularly resource management, for these new cloud-computing environments are critical in moving efficiently to the clouds and once there, effectively managing cloud applications and resources."
Red Hat officials said CloudForms builds on the success of Red Hat Cloud Foundations, which the company announced at the Red Hat Summit in 2010. Red Hat plans to extend CloudForms to include a range of services to extend application portability from one cloud to another, including areas such as storage abstraction, messaging and high availability. Though Red Hat released CloudForms in beta at the summit, it is expected to be generally available later in 2011.
"Red Hat's delivery of CloudForms is a game-changer for the industry," Lew Tucker, vice president and chief technology officer for cloud computing at Cisco, said in a statement. "Red Hat CloudForms introduces a new level of openness and choice for application developers. Cisco is excited to continue our collaboration with Red Hat to drive innovation in the cloud."
"Red Hat and Intel have a long history of contributing to open source and open standards, and we're pleased to be collaborating on CloudForms to make it easier to deploy infrastructure as a service," Jason Waxman, general manager of high-density computing at Intel, said in a statement. "Intel is committed to delivering the features in Intel Xeon processors to support the most performance and energy efficiency for CloudForms Cloud and System Engines while facilitating deployment through the Intel Cloud Builders program."
Developers interested in signing up for the beta can go to http://www.redhat.com/cloudforms/beta.