Can the OpenStack open source private cloud software be tamed for enterprise use? Red Hat is trying: It is expanding its CloudForms management software to encompass Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack deployments.
The latest version of CloudForms, 3.0, also includes more support for managing workloads on AWS (Amazon Web Services).
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OpenStack is one of the "foundational pillars" of Red Hat's open hybrid cloud strategy and portfolio, according to product manager Bryan Che.
CloudForms provides a management interface for running cloud operations, either within the data center or from public cloud services like AWS and those based on VMware vSphere.
Running as a virtual appliance, CloudForms allows users within an organization to provision their own cloud resources via a self-service portal. Behind the scenes, it also manages the placement of workloads, enforces quotas, generates reports on usage and possible points of optimization, and runs clean-up operations after a computing task has been completed.
For OpenStack deployments, CloudForms can now manage cloud-based computational resources, from initial provisioning to retirement. Users can set up their own OpenStack instances, with CloudForms handling the approval process, if one is in place. It can provide charge-back reports so the appropriate business unit can be billed for usage.
For administrators, CloudForms provides a dashboard and reports on OpenStack usage across the organization. It will also provide tools for configuring OpenStack instances.
In addition to supporting OpenStack, CloudForms offers additional controls for AWS as well. It now allows administrators to apply usage policies to AMIs (Amazon Machine Instances) that are self-provisioned by users. It works with Amazon's IAM (Identity and Access Management) to manage users and workloads.
CloudForms now also works with the Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud), allowing organizations to set up private networks within AWS. Additional tools have also been provided to track an organization's usage of AWS, and these tools can alert administrators when pre-defined thresholds have been reached.
In addition to being offered as a virtual appliance, CloudForms is also a component of the Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure, which also includes RHEV and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution with OpenStack.
In a recently published survey of its clients, IT research firm Gartner found that OpenStack is increasingly being viewed by organizations as an option to mitigate against being locked into proprietary cloud services.