Red Hat Releases OpenStack Distribution for Cloud
Since the cloud and open source are supposed to go together like peaches and cream (ah, the joys of summer), it might come as a surprise that Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) lacked an official OpenStack distribution. But that now has changed with the announcement of a public preview of an OpenStack release based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Here are the details, and why they matter for the open source channel.
OpenStack clearly has been on Red Hat’s radar for a while. Back in April 2012, Red Hat became an official “Platinum Member” of the OpenStack governance community. It also claimed at the time that “Red Hat has already become one of the top code contributors to OpenStack in the open source community,” and promised that a Red Hat OpenStack distribution was in the works, but wouldn’t talk details.
This most recent announcement, then, simply makes public a project that apparently has been in development at Red Hat for a while. But it nonetheless stands to have major implications for a range of partners and customers in the open source channel, with whom Red Hat has indicated its desire to build stronger relationships around OpenStack:
Red Hat has been working with an early group of customers who have been strong advocates for a commercial release of OpenStack from Red Hat, and who have been instrumental in providing the feedback and testing required to bring this preview release to completion. The company now seeks to work with a wider group of customers to further develop Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution and its usage with other Red Hat products. In addition, Red Hat is working closely with key partners such as Rackspace to provide fully managed Red Hat OpenStack-powered clouds in the future.
Heating Up the Open Source Cloud Space
Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution — which for now remains an unsupported public preview — may open new opportunities for parties in the open source channel which are closely aligned with the company.
But it also puts pressure on Red Hat competitors that were early adopters of OpenStack, such as Canonical. A Red Hat OpenStack distribution stands poised to undercut its Ubuntu equivalent and help even out the advantages Canonical had seemed to enjoy early on in the cloud space in comparison to other major open source organizations.
Of course, there remains time for Canonical to shore up its cloud offerings before Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution reaches production-ready status. OpenStack already is well integrated into Ubuntu and ready to deploy now. If you want to do the same with Red Hat, you’re mostly on your own, at least at the moment.
In any case, while it remains to be seen whether Canonical or Red Hat will prove to be the stronger contender in OpenStack deployments, the increased focus on the platform, and on the cloud more generally, that Red Hat’s announcement brings undoubtedly is good for the open source channel from a broader perspective. It strengthens open source in the cloud space against proprietary competitors, and helps build a more integrated ecosystem around the cloud.