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Can Red Hat do for OpenStack what it did for Linux?

Brandon Butler | June 18, 2013
Red Hat hopes freshly-announced commercial OpenStack cloud computing distribution will propel it through next decade of growth.

Subramanian says this crowded market could actually be good for Red Hat. The company already has a formidable standing in enterprises with its RHEL OS, and now customers will have the ability to get an open source cloud from the same provider. This "one throat to choke" mentality could make for easier onboarding of OpenStack within the enterprise. As the top contributor of code to the project, Red Hat could have an advantage in supporting OpenStack for customers, Subramanian says.

Not everyone's drinking the Red Hat Kool-Aid though. "Delivering and deploying OpenStack is an integration challenge that extends well beyond the OS," says Forrester analyst James Staten. Deploying private clouds is not as easy as just throwing some code on top of RHEL. There are issues related to storage, networking and perhaps most importantly, cultural changes within an organization to support a private cloud.

Red Hat has an answer for the technical implementation: Also announced this week was a partnership with Mirantis, one of the leading OpenStack consultancies. Mirantis has a series of OpenStack tools in a package named Fuel for deploying OpenStack clouds.

The bigger question may just be how big the private cloud market will get, and how many of those clouds will be OpenStack based. Organizations are increasingly outsourcing their IT functions to service providers and using the public cloud, as evidenced by AWS's massive growth. But, at the same time they also want to retain control of their operations, which could open opportunities for private clouds. Staten says VMware, Citrix and others have had trouble gaining footing for private clouds deployments.

For Red Hat executives say they are not discouraged. "We did this already, it's the exact same playbook as what we did with Linux," Cormier says.


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