Reports of Dell's decision to deliver Ubuntu-powered cloud infrastructure should motivate you to evaluate Ubuntu as an alternative to Red Hat in the cloud.
Red Hat still stuck in cloud positioning mode
Just two months ago, I wrote about challenges with Red Hat's Cloud strategy as being focused on retaining existing customers, not attracting new ones. Red Hat has since tried to paint itself as the leader for cloud software, singling out EMC VMware as its primary competitor. However, it's important to note that the new positioning doesn't address the barrier to entry I noted in my previous post.
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InfoWorld blogger David Linthicum highlights an issue that Red Hat and other software vendors are facing as they consider cloud computing offerings and price points. He writes, "For instance, if you're selling cloud storage at 15 cents per gigabyte per month, but your customers end up spending $1 per gigabyte per month for your storage box offering, how do you suspect your customers to react?"
Linthicum's example is focused on storage, but it equally applies to the per-hour cost of running an operating system, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), on a public cloud versus in your data center. Cloud pricing encourages customers to price-check the yearly cost of a traditional software license or subscription versus the pay-per-usage cloud price for the equivalent software. That could cause existing customers at Red Hat to shift to the less-profitable cloud version.
Ubuntu's cloud growth
Stemming from Canonical's relatively modest customer base, especially outside of cloud deployments, the vendor behind Ubuntu doesn't have to worry about existing customers doing a similar price comparison between the pay-per-usage cloud approach and traditional support subscriptions. This is definitely an advantage for Canonical over Red Hat.
Ubuntu's usage on Amazon EC2 and Canonical's claim of 12,000 downloads of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud are further evidence of Ubuntu as a viable alternative to Red Hat in the cloud Linux and virtualization arena.