Red Hat pushes cloud vision, new Azure-like service

Red Hat Inc. hyped its cloudcomputing strategy on Wednesday, including a new platform-as-a-service offeringthat could compete as an open source alternative to Microsoft Corp.’s Azure platform.

The PaaS offering is part of RedHat’s recently announced Cloud Computing Foundations strategy, which itreferred to as a portfolio that will promote interoperability and portabilitybetween enterprise applications and the cloud. The strategy is Red Hat’sattempt to provide the software, architecture and consulting services to ITshops to run hybrid, private and public clouds.

Red Hat’s PaaS service is basedon JBoss Enterprise Middleware and the company’s cloud engine for the lifecyclemanagement of applications. It aims to give enterprise developers, cloudservice providers and software vendors the ability to build new apps or portover existing ones to a wide choice of private and public clouds.

This means that IT shops will beable to take the programming models they use across hybrid cloud services. Thecompany said JBoss accommodates multiple development frameworks including, RubyRails, Java, and SpringSource.

Bryan Che, a manager of product management at Red Hat’scloud computing team, said a key aspect of having a portable hybrid cloud whereapps and resources can move around freely between on-premise and off-siteclouds is to offer portable programming models.

“It’s not just enough to move your computing resources,” hesaid.

With its PaaS service and the rest of Red Hat’s portfolio,Che said, customers will be able to move the preferred programming models theyuse, along with the application itself and all of its dependencies.

To help drive home its pitch, thecompany also announced that film studio Dreamworks Animation has already builtout one of the “largest private clouds in the world” using its cloud services.

The open source software firmsaid that with many companies offering “bits and pieces” of cloud solutions,Red Hat’s vision is to focus all of its assets on cloud computing. The end gamefor Red Hat is to make it as easy as possible for enterprises to moveapplications and data from one kind of cloud to another kind of cloud.

Gary Chen, a research manager covering enterprisevirtualization software at research firm IDC, said that because rarely anything in IT is an“all or nothing proposition,” the idea of hybrid clouds have become moreattractive to many enterprises.

He said that portability will be the main industry challengevendors will need to solve to truly dominate in the cloud services space. Asfor Red Hat’s strategy, Chen said the company looked to be “on the righttrack.”

Paul Cormier, executivevice-president and president of Red Hat’s products and technologies unit, said thatRed Hat and Microsoft are the only two companies that can offer the entirestack necessary to run a hybrid cloud-enabled IT environment. He added thatsome virtualization vendors lack the operating system and a “credible middlewareoffering” to make this claim.

This comes just a few monthsafter the company’s annual summer user conference, where Red Hat first announcedthe Cloud Computing Foundations plan and CEO Jim Whitehurst pointed tovirtualization giant VMware Inc. as Red Hat’s “largest competitor.” The Red Hatchief said that his company and VMware are the only two players that have thecomponents to really do cloud-based architectures.

Whitehurstadded that cloud computing favours open source because proprietary models leadto vendor licencing, pricing, and lock-in concerns.

In addition to facilitating opendeveloper choice through the platform service offering, Red Hat also announcedthe launch of — a new Web site for cloud application developersto interact about open standards and other cloud portability issues.

On the topic of open standards,Red Hat said it has submitted its API for the Apache DeltaCloud project to theDistributed Management Task Force. This is an effort to boost adoption for astandard that it says will help drive the development cloud standardsthroughout the tech industry.

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