Red Hat to release enterprise-ready OpenStack package

OpenStack will run on the company's flagship Linux distribution, Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat plans to release an enterprise-grade version of the OpenStack open source software for hosting IaaS deployments. The company has posted an unsupported preview edition of the package, ahead of its full commercial release expected in early 2013.

"From the Red Hat perspective, we feel the next release of OpenStack will be the right one to begin offering enterprise-grade services," said Brian Stevens, Red Hat CTO and vice president of worldwide engineering. "With the preview release, customers can get experience in operationalizing and deploying [OpenStack] and, most importantly, get their voices heard before our product is done."

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Red Hat's release of OpenStack will run on the company's flagship Linux distribution, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This version has been tested to work on RHEL 6.3 and requires Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) to operate. The company has already started working with a select group of customers that are trying the software.

The first commercial release will be based on the upcoming Folsom release of the OpenStack, due in September. The preview edition, in addition to OpenStack, will also include a number of Puppet modules to ease configuration. The commercial release will also come with an installer and greater integration with Red Hat's CloudForms hybrid cloud management software as well.

Begun two years ago by NASA and Rackspace, the OpenStack project is an effort to create a stack of open source software that can be used to provide IaaS cloud services. A modular software stack, OpenStack consists of separate programs to provide compute, object storage, image management, and other needed services for running cloud operations. The project rapidly gained popularity, attracting at last count the development efforts of over 3,300 programmers and 185 companies.

Red Hat has been devoting increasing amounts of its engineering efforts to open source cloud software projects. In April, Red Hat joined the OpenStack Foundation, which will shortly take reins as the governing body for maintaining the OpenStack project. Currently it is being managed by cofounder Rackspace, which wants to move the project to a more vendor-neutral party. In April, the project leaders released a survey that found that Red Hat was the third largest contributor to the project, after Nebula and Rackspace.

In addition to the OpenStack release, the company has led two other cloud projects. One is Red Hat CloudForms, which provides the ability to manage virtualized workloads across different cloud services. The other, Red Hat OpenShift, provides a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for developers who wish to run their applications directly on a hosted infrastructure.

OpenStack has been criticized for not yet being sufficiently developed for enterprise use. Red Hat, of course, disputes this idea. "There has been so much that has already happened with Fulsom release," Stevens said.

Red Hat will not be the sole provider of enterprise grade Open Stack software. Piston Computing currently offers a distribution. And Nebula, started by OpenStack cofounder Chris Kemp, plans to offer its own commercial products based on OpenStack within the next few months.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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