Red Hat aims for enterprise OpenStack deployment dominance

Red Hat Enterprise Linux integration could ease OpenStack adoption, but complexity and cloud competition stand in the way

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Third step: Make deployment more automatic. Hence, support for Foreman, a Puppet-based tool for managing the lifecycles of virtual servers. Puppet and Foreman are both third-party open source products with existing user bases, not new tools, so all the expertise and scripting already created for them can be put to use.

Fourth step: Nitty-gritty. Red Hat is adding support for other OpenStack components, including Heat for launching application stacks, Neutron for networking, and Ceilometer for instrumentation and monitoring.

One OpenStack to rule them all?

Does all of this together make for a thing -- let's call it "Red Hat Enterprise OpenStack" -- the way it does Red Hat Enterprise Linux? That's the ambition and the direction, anyway -- to make the whole thing into a single deliverable product, not just a bag full of tools.

Though Red Hat's work in this area is ambitious, it's likely to run into two issues.

First is the tension that could be felt between Red Hat and all the other OpenStack partners. The more OpenStack becomes synonymous with Red Hat, the more it's likely to be seen as being co-opted by Red Hat for its own ends. Most any name-brand-backed incarnation of a major open source project has been racked with this tension before. Look at the way Canonical's stewardship of Ubuntu has created as many rifts and divisions as it has partnerships and alliances, or how Google's end-user editions of Linux (Android, Chrome OS) have been accused of being mere ad-pushing and metrics-harvesting tools.

Second is how the competition in this space, outside of OpenStack and its partnerships, isn't standing still for a second. Microsoft is charging ahead with both Windows Server and Windows Azure as a unified and consistent way to create public, private, and hybrid clouds. And Amazon -- whose APIs CloudStack supports -- still reigns supreme for easy public cloud creation despite all its quirks (low granularity of instances, unpredictable service).

Perhaps with Red Hat at its back, OpenStack will finally start showing the kind of broader adoption that Enterprise Linux itself enjoys. But it's more likely that OpenStack will remain a technology for a small, self-selecting crowd: those who have no choice but to build their cloud from scratch.

This story, "Red Hat aims for enterprise OpenStack deployment dominance," was originally published at 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 on Twitter.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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