Red Hat ramps up OpenStack via collaborations with NetApp, eNovance

Collaboration with NetApp aims to make OpenStack a hybrid framework for interoperating with public clouds, and could set it up for a new level of enterprise usage

If you're seeking evidence that OpenStack might finally have arrived with enterprises after three years in the wild, look no further than two collaboration announcements today from OpenStack kingpin Red Hat at the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta.

The first and ostensibly biggest of the collaborations is with NetApp and involves the joint creation of what's described as an "open hybrid cloud reference architecture" for OpenStack -- a way for public and OpenStack clouds to interoperate based on an open technology set and for OpenStack to work all the more closely with NetApp's storage and data management solutions.

No prizes for seeing how this is also a way for NetApp to sell more of its own storage solutions, which already integrate with many public clouds and enable hybrid architectures. And it's not as if NetApp doesn't already have solutions that work with OpenStack. Red Hat and NetApp have also collaborated before on OpenStack-related projects, most notably "Manila," a service for allowing access to distributed file systems. Once that project's completed (there's no timetable for it yet) it will likely be a big part of NetApp's strategy to bolster its products through OpenStack.

But the idea that OpenStack could become a hybrid framework for interoperating with existing A-list public clouds is intriguing -- doubly so if Red Hat makes integration between public and private clouds easier to realize with OpenStack.

Red Hat's other major announcement is with eNovance, an OpenStack vendor that builds private clouds for service providers (among others) and manages applications deployed on major public clouds. The companies are collaborating to add telecom and network functions virtualization (NFV) features to OpenStack -- something eNovance has specialized in. The idea is to make OpenStack more useful in carrier-grade applications and to create a set of network virtualization features that aren't dependent on a proprietary solution. (One possible analogy for the latter is how Asterisk provided a solid open source alternative to proprietary PBX systems.)

If all that sounds a bit left-of-center for most enterprises, think in terms of how "carrier-grade" is a synonym for "enterprise-grade and then some." ENovance got into the OpenStack game fairly early on -- and in fact pioneered the use of the orchestration tool Puppet to manage OpenStack in installations for select customers -- and it has made hay out of proffering OpenStack to outfits with needs that are far more demanding than the average enterprise. Having Red Hat as a partner could bring its work to the broadest possible audience -- something Red Hat excels at.

These two projects hint at the next stage for OpenStack and how Red Hat is attempting to shape the IaaS. Where once it was enough just getting OpenStack into peoples' hands and having it adopted as a robust solution for creating private clouds, the next stage beckons. The real work done with OpenStack in the wild can be harnessed, turned around, and put back into the hands of other users. Some of that might result as a by-product of work done by high-end solution providers like eNovance; some of it might come as further extensions of OpenStack solutions from the likes of NetApp.

The bigger question, though, is: Are partnerships of this caliber a sign OpenStack has finally arrived, as its proponents have been insisting? The platform's detractors have been skeptical, but perhaps there will be more positive signs on display this week at the Summit.

This story, "Red Hat ramps up OpenStack via collaborations with NetApp, eNovance," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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