If an enterprise cloud is really all about the apps, it helps to support the effort across the board -- on bare metal, in containers, and with virtualization.
Red Hat is making it happen by repackaging three of its signature enterprise products -- OpenShift, OpenStack, and CloudForms-- and adding cross-integration between them.
Called Red Hat Cloud Suite for Applications, this offering delivers all three products at once. Red Hat plans to have each of the different layers of Cloud Suite (OpenStack, OpenShift) service a different kind of application type, and to have a management layer (CloudForms) let each of them interoperate.
Red Hat differentiates itself from the crowd by being an entirely open source stack, albeit groomed and shepherded mainly by Red Hat itself.
Rob Cardwell, vice president of application platforms for Red Hat, explained in a phone call how the repackaging and integration between all three products was designed as a response to requests from Red Hat customers using the trio. "There's a blend and an overlap between the infrastructure offerings of OpenStack and the platform layer," Cardwell explained, noting a "healthy attach rate" between OpenStack and CloudForms customers.
Because all the products are open source, "you can get the [integration] components without buying the whole bundle," Cardwell said, "but you wouldn't bother using them if you didn't have the whole stack anyway." Also, by packaging the three together, "this puts Red Hat on the record to continue investing in those integration points" -- that is, to maintain the development of the integration between all three.
More attention will be paid to how much real success OpenStack enjoys in enterprises, how much work is needed to leverage it, and whether other solutions might better fit the needs of enterprises. Here, Red Hat is attempting to address or acknowledge all of these issues at once. That second issue has long been OpenStack's biggest sticking point, and CloudForms provides a degree of convenience there -- such as by allowing teams to work with OpenStack via a self-service Web portal.
Those curious to try out Cloud Suite will have to line up for an early-access program first; a date for general availability hasn't been announced.