Red Hat Delivers Business Model for OpenShift PaaS

Red Hat announced its new business model and pricing for its OpenShift platform as a service (PaaS) offering at the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World 2012 conference.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) has announced the business model and pricing plans for its OpenShift platform as a service (PaaS) offering to provide support to companies in application development and deployment.

Available as a free service since May 2011, OpenShift PaaS delivers to developers a cloud application platform with a choice of programming languages, frameworks and application lifecycle tools to build their applications. Red Hat announced the new business model and pricing plans at the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World 2012 events in Boston on June 26.

€œOver the past year since we debuted OpenShift, we€™ve seen the power of an open, flexible PaaS for developers,€ Brian Stevens, CTO and vice president of worldwide engineering at Red Hat, said in a statement. €œWe€™ve made major progress over this year with the addition of new programming languages, the release of the open-source project OpenShift Origin and plans for our enterprise PaaS offering. Building on this strong momentum, introducing our model and plans for OpenShift with enterprise-grade support from Red Hat today is a huge step forward for Red Hat and developers who are looking to take an open hybrid approach to the cloud.€

The OpenShift platform supports Java EE 6 and offers comprehensive lifecycle support for Java in the cloud, Red Hat said. The code that powers Red Hat's OpenShift platform was made available to the open-source community through the OpenShift Origin project in April 2012. Then in May, Red Hat announced plans to extend OpenShift PaaS to enable enterprises to use both DevOps operational models, as well as traditional application management methodologies.

Building on this, Red Hat announced plans for its supported, OpenShift PaaS hosted offering, which will initially be delivered in two tiers: FreeShift and MegaShift. OpenShift PaaS is available now in Developer Preview. FreeShift and MegaShift are expected to be available later this year along with the new pricing structure.

FreeShift, the first tier of OpenShift PaaS, offers three small gears and is available for free. It includes the ability to autoscale; offers access to the languages, frameworks and data stores developers like to use; and leverages community-provided support. Developers using OpenShift PaaS today will have the opportunity to automatically migrate to FreeShift, which will continue the same experience they already are enjoying.

MegaShift is the initial paid tier of OpenShift PaaS. It will extend the FreeShift offering with larger gear capacity, up to 16 gears, and the ability to add storage space past the 1GB per gear in FreeShift. MegaShift users will get support from Red Hat. Pricing for MegaShift is planned to start with a $42 monthly platform fee and a per-gear-hour fee for gears past the first three.

€œPlatform as a service is becoming an increasingly efficient and powerful tool for building both new applications; but also for modernizing legacy and traditional ISV applications in the age of mobile, social and the cloud,€ said Martin Schneider, research manager at 451 Research, in a statement. €œThe beauty of open, flexible platforms like OpenShift is that they provide developers with the required toolkits to create cloud applications, or enhance existing environments without exorbitant 'per-user' costs or fear of platform or vendor lock-in.€

Meanwhile, Red Hat also announced that JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) 6.0, which became generally available last week, is now available in€™s developer preview. Red Hat said this combination offers customers an open-source Java PaaS solution that enables hybrid cloud scenarios and helps to usher in the era of cloud-enabled application servers for HTML5, mobile and enterprise. The company claims OpenShift is the industry€™s first PaaS that runs Java EE 6 Full Profile.

Distinctions such as this may become important, as researchers at Gartner say PaaS will consolidate around certain usages. Gartner forecasts that worldwide PaaS revenue will reach $1.8 billion in 2015. Moreover, Gartner analysts predict a rapid aggregation of PaaS offerings into suites of functionalities, providing users with well-integrated and optimized platform services€”from the same or different suppliers, co-located in the same data center to provide appropriate levels of performance, security, manageability and availability. This process will take place in steps. Initially, around 2013, PaaS functionalities will consolidate around specific usage scenarios, paving the way for integrated comprehensive PaaS offerings to emerge from 2015 and beyond.

"Clearly, from the attention given to this segment by the industry's giants, it is likely that they are viewing PaaS as a strategic undertaking as much as an incremental market opportunity," said Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner. "As PaaS suites mature, they may emerge as critical enabling technologies for many cloud-based businesses; at the same time, as companies adopt these platforms, the providers of the platforms will likely leverage them to expand their ecosystem, leverage their natively developed application services [SaaS] or extend their on-premises solutions."