Red Hat Opens Up PaaS Cloud Marketplace

Seven years after the failed Red Hat Exchange, a new attempt to sell partner services emerges.

Red Hat today is announcing the OpenShift Marketplace in an effort to help grow its market share in the emerging cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) space.

OpenShift is Red Hat's PaaS platform. First introduced back in 2011, it was initially based on technology Red Hat acquired from technology vendor Makara in 2010.

The basic idea behind the OpenShift PaaS is to enable a platform for developers to easily build and deploy applications to the cloud. While developers can build their own capabilities with OpenShift, the ability to easily get services from third-party vendors is an option that is now opening up with the OpenShift Marketplace. Initially, Blazemeter, ClearDB,, MongoLab, New Relic, RedisLabs, SendGrid and Shippable have signed on with Red Hat to become part of the OpenShift Marketplace.

Approximately 2,000 new users a week are coming to the OpenShift Online service, Ashedh Badani, vice president of Cloud and OpenShift at Red Hat, told eWEEK. Red Hat also has an on-premises OpenShift Enterprise and a core open-source community OpenShift Origin project.

From a technology perspective, Red Hat is partnering with a third-party provider to actually enable the Marketplace, Chris Morgan, technical director of the OpenShift Partner Ecosystem at Red Hat, explained to eWEEK. Morgan noted that Red Hat traditionally has not resold other software vendors' products.

Back in 2007, Red Hat did in fact first attempt to become a reseller for its partners' technologies with the Red Hat Exchange (RHX) effort. RHX, however, was closed down by 2010 as a failed effort. Badani said there were some lessons learned from the RHX experience, but more importantly, the software world has changed dramatically since 2007.

"Ultimately, what we want to do is to make as frictionless as possible the interaction between application creators and service providers," Badani said. "If we can do that successfully, then the platform becomes more valuable."

In 2014, the concept of a software marketplace is widespread and well-understood, which was not the case back in 2007, according to Morgan. Red Hat has learned from the RHX experience as well as from other vendors that have deployed software marketplaces, he noted.

From a financial perspective, in most marketplace-type scenarios, there is some form of revenue sharing that occurs. It's not yet entirely clear how much money Red Hat stands to make from the OpenShift Marketplace initiative, though the overall goal is about growing OpenShift adoption and usage.

"A challenge we have had in the past is setting financial metrics that are too high too early," Badani said.

Badani noted that the product and sales teams have been working together to set up the OpenShift Marketplace. Morgan added that Red Hat has always been good at letting other vendors be a sales channel for Red Hat's technologies, and now it's time for Red Hat to become a sales channel for partner solutions.

Overall, the OpenShift PaaS technology has helped to lead a shift in Red Hat's own corporate culture.

"When we started OpenShift Online, that was the first time in Red Hat's history where we had a public cloud offering where we were front and center," Badani said. "We went from doing product orders and subscriptions to taking credit cards from people, and now we're moving to yet another level."

With OpenShift Marketplace, Red Hat is now playing the role of broker, connecting partner technologies to Red Hat customers, he said.

"We're going through massive changes in the IT industry, and we're not your father's Red Hat anymore," Badani said. "We're going through changes as a company to embrace the changes that are going on around us."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.