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Red Hat Open Hybrid Cloud aids private, public cloud management

Hardware, virtualization, public and private cloud are all converging and need to be managed as one environment. Enter Red Hat's Open Hybrid Cloud.

BOSTON -- Data center managers who already have a full plate have to figure out how to manage their on-premises systems along with public cloud services and deliver them all in a digestible format to their enterprise.

Indeed, data center hardware, virtualization, public and private clouds are all converging into one environment and need to be managed as such, said Paul Cormier, Red Hat executive vice president and president of products and technologies, during his keynote at the 2013 Red Hat Summit here this week.

"As this convergence happens, there is increasing pressure on the business to consume this innovation," Cormier said. "Then they are looking to their IT departments to manage all this transformational infrastructure as one."

Red Hat has put development of its cloud platforms and cloud management offerings on the fast track for the last 12 months to satisfy business leaders who hunger for innovation and to assist IT pros tasked with managing these rapidly expanding cloud infrastructures, he said.

The result is Red Hat Open Hybrid Cloud, which is made up of two new platforms: one based on OpenStack and a management platform also based on open systems.

Clouds built on open source

The Linux foundation and the collaborative environment of the open source community have delivered the underpinnings of cloud computing and changed the pace of innovation and cost of doing business, Cormier said.

"Cloud would not be here without Linux and open source software. We would not have that capability," Cormier said. "Every major infrastructure initiative is based on an open sourced project."

Indeed, most cloud providers rely on open source technologies -- a departure from the corporate world where proprietary platforms from such companies as Microsoft dominate. For instance, Windows Server 2008 R2 is deployed in 82.5% of data centers and Red Hat Enterprise Linux is deployed in 36.9%, according to TechTarget's recent Data Center and Reader's Choice survey of more than 1,100 IT respondents.

The 800-pound gorilla based in Redmond, Wash., wasn't mentioned by name, but there were plenty of allusions to how a collaborative environment fostered by the open source movement is better than a closed and proprietary offering.

"Problems can't be solved by one company. This is why open source is thriving," Cormier said.

That's true, and even companies that have already invested in proprietary platforms from VMware have begun to consider open source options.

Hitachi Data Systems Corp., for instance, already has its own proprietary converged stack that is tightly integrated with vSphere. But the buzz about OpenStack has reached the point where the company's technical product manager of integrated solutions, Jonathan Chinitz, decided to attend the Red Hat Summit to do some surveillance.

"I'm spending most of my time trying to figure out: Is it real? Who's using it? Who's doing what with it?" Chinitz said.

Hitachi has invested a significant amount of time and money to develop its stack, but "[t]here's a lot of talk internally about what to do with OpenStack," he said.

However, changing platforms midstream may not be worth the trouble.

"Take a whole stack, and it's blue. Then you say, 'I want a red stack.' It's not just one piece; it's the whole stack. So all of the machinery that has seven or eight modules in OpenStack -- we would have to rebuild [it] to make it OpenStack compatible," Chinitz said. "That's a big effort."

Red Hat Open Hybrid Cloud

For IT personnel who are sold on OpenStack and need to manage both on-premises and public cloud infrastructure, there's Red Hat's Open Hybrid Cloud.

It consists of the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform for advanced cloud users who want to build an OpenStack-powered cloud, and Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure, which offers a way to implement Infrastructure as a Service for traditional applications and cloud-aware applications, with open cloud management spanning them. Both will be available in July.

Red Hat used technology from its ManageIQ acquisition to manage both that cloud offering and the cloud platforms of its competitors.

It also made another recent acquisition to complement its hybrid cloud with Gluster to add a software-defined storage component to support big data and OpenStack initiatives. Cormier said that another critical component Red Hat customers requested was OpenShift, based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware, to provide a cloud-based application development platform.

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