Red Hat Acquires Makara to Strengthen PAAS Capabilities

Red Hat shakes up cloud computing with the acquisition platform-as-a-service provider Makara to deploy, manage and scale applications on public, private and hybrid clouds.

Red Hat acquired cloud application deployment and management platform firm Makara to boost its platform-as-a-service credentials. Red Hat and Makara executives discussed the acquisition during a morning phone conference Nov. 30.

Red Hat has been "delivering scalable and flexible cloud infrastructure" before cloud computing became popular, said Paul Cormier, executive vice president and president of the Products and Technology group at Red Hat. By acquiring Makara, the company will be able to deliver "portability and interoperability" on the cloud, Cormier said.

With this acquisition, Red Hat has the pieces it needs to enhance its PAAS vision for the cloud. Makara offers an on-demand service hosted on Amazon EC2, which will add cloud services to the Linux giant's long list of technology offerings. More importantly, Red Hat can now "remove complexity" and "level the playing field" for customers developing new applications and moving existing applications to the cloud, said Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager of the cloud business unit at Red Hat.

With the Makara platform, organizations can provision, deploy, manage, monitor and scale Java and PHP applications to any public, private or hybrid cloud, said Isaac Roth, CEO and co-founder of Makara. The management software can transfer existing applications, aggregate logs from all virtual machine instances into a single persistent log, auto-scale applications when needed and control what resources are being used, he said.

While Makara specializes in JBoss and PHP applications, the platform also supports standard Java EE, Spring, Tomcast and LAMP, said Roth.

Red Hat will be incorporating Makara's technologies into the company's PAAS offerings, said Crenshaw. Instead of having a separate Makara product for customers, the Cloud Application Platform will integrate with JBoss Enterprise Middleware infrastructure, and there will be Makara technologies included in the upcoming Cloud Admin Portal, Cloud User Portal, PAAS Automation Engine and Application Configuration Engine, he said.

Anyone interested in the platform can check out the free trial of the management software on Makara's site, according to Crenshaw and Roth.

PAAS "needs to be open, needs to be portable and needs to be comprehensive," said Crenshaw.

With Red Hat PAAS, developers will be able to take an existing application and just migrate it "unmodified" and move it to any cloud, so long as the application works on Red Hat Linux and supported middleware such as JBoss, said Roth.

Red Hat's primary goal is to deliver PAAS that has "no vendor lock-in," since Makara lets organizations implement the platform onto any virtualized infrastructure, whether that's public clouds like Amazon EC2 or private clouds based on the likes of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Citrix Xen or VMware, said Crenshaw.

PAAS is an "essential" component of Red Hat's Cloud Foundations strategy, unveiled earlier this year, said Crenshaw.

Microsoft and VMware are the other software vendors targeting both private and public clouds, although Crenshaw mentioned Microsoft when he said Red Hat was one of the two companies that delivered the operating system, the middleware layer and all the tools for developing the applications. Both companies have been accused of locking customers onto their platform.

Red Hat didn't need Makara to tout its open credentials, since JBoss, which Red Hat acquired in 2006, already supports PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, OCAML, C/C++, Java, Seam, Hibernate, Spring, Struts and Google Web Toolkit applications, but it does add to its strength.

Red Hat has always promised choice to customers on how to develop applications, and the integration of Makara's software onto the PAAS architecture continues that tradition, said Crenshaw.