Red Hat Paves Open, Portable Path to the Cloud

Red Hat announces updates to its Cloud Foundations portfolio with a focus on openness and portability.

Red Hat announced updates to its Cloud Foundations portfolio and moved to deliver a cloud strategy the company described as the ultimate in openness and choice.

In a broad-based Webcast, Red Hat laid out its cloud road map, defining its Cloud Foundations strategy as one that promotes consistency between enterprise applications and the cloud. Red Hat is the only vendor that has the infrastructure capable of delivering an open-source, flexible cloud stack, incorporating operating system, middleware and virtualization, said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of products and technologies at Red Hat.

Furthermore, in a press release describing the effort, Red Hat said its stack is designed to run consistently across physical servers, virtual platforms, private clouds and public clouds. Red Hat's comprehensive solution set enables interoperability and portability, recognizing that customers have IT architectures composed of many different hardware and software components from various vendors. Cloud Foundations is offering capabilities that allow customers to use multiple clouds effectively.

"In our extensive research, we've found that open APIs and interoperability are essential to customers considering the cloud," said Gary Chen, research manager of Enterprise Virtualization Software at IDC, in a statement. "Our research shows that 80 percent of enterprises cite the lack of interoperability standards as a challenge in adopting cloud computing services. With Cloud Foundations, Red Hat is on the right track with cloud by accelerating interoperability and portability to prevent cloud lock-in."

Red Hat introduced Cloud Foundations in June 2010 during the Red Hat Summit in Boston. Cloud Foundations includes Red Hat's comprehensive line of products for implementing a private cloud, coupled with a detailed reference architecture and implementation cookbook, consulting services, and training offerings.

During the Webcast, Bryan Che, manager of cloud computing at Red Hat, said Red Hat's cloud strategy addresses portability in four key areas: portable computing, portable applications, portable services and portable programming models.

"We are focusing on all four of these areas for portability in the cloud because they form an essential whole," said Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager of cloud business at Red Hat, in a statement. "If you can migrate your computational power anywhere you want but your data is tied to a particular cloud, you are still stuck there. At Red Hat, we aim to offer customers the tools they need for the cloud combined with real portability and choice."

Regarding portable computing, Che said Red Hat's cloud management capabilities offer the tools a customer needs to implement and manage a cloud, providing scalability, robust resource management and portals through an included cloud engine, self-service portal, tools and Deltacloud APIs.

The Deltacloud APIs come out of the Deltacloud project, an effort started at Red Hat and submitted to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). The Apache Deltacloud project is an open-source implementation of a RESTful Web service API abstracting common proprietary infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) cloud management APIs. Moreover, Red Hat announced that it has submitted the API specification for Apache Deltacloud to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) as part of its participation in the DMTF Cloud Management Work Group. Red Hat's submission to DMTF is a step forward in the company's effort to offer users of IAAS clouds the benefits of portability across cloud computing deployments, Che said.

For portable applications, Red Hat's application builder provides cloud application lifecycle management, enabling developers to build assemblies to manage the complexities of creating, versioning, configuring, tracking and updating applications for the cloud, the company said. With portability of applications and workloads, customers can write an application once and deploy it anywhere.

Meanwhile, the cloud services from Red Hat provide customers with the technologies needed to implement commonly used application features, a key need for deploying private clouds, Red Hat officials said. With Red Hat's cloud services, customers are also able to move these features together with their associated workloads between multiple clouds. For example, storage services provide data persistence, and messaging services enable data to be moved in and out of the cloud, Red Hat's press release said.

And regarding portable programming models, Red Hat's platform-as-a-service (PAAS) solution protects a company's application investments by enabling developers to build once and deploy everywhere: on traditional servers, on virtualized servers, on private clouds and in public clouds, Che said.

Che listed several partners that will be helping Red Hat promote and deploy its cloud strategy, including Intel, Ingres, Symantec, Nimsoft and Wipro.

"Red Hat and Ingres have worked for years to deliver mission-critical infrastructure built on open source and open standards," said Roger Burkhardt, president and CEO of Ingres, in a statement. "We look forward to bringing this open approach to the cloud with the Ingres database as a certified solution with Red Hat Cloud Foundations. Customers can combine the Ingres, JBoss and Red Hat Enterprise Linux stack with the Deltacloud API to rapidly build applications that are portable between their private clouds and the leading public cloud providers."

"Intel has a long-standing relationship with Red Hat, working together on Linux, virtualization as well as cloud computing," said Billy Cox, director of cloud software strategy at Intel, also in a statement. "As part of Intel Cloud Builder, Intel has deployed Red Hat Cloud Foundations in the Intel labs. Together with Red Hat, we will continue to focus on the importance of interoperability, portability and security in cloud solutions."