Tuesday, May 10 2011

Take Aways from @Redhat Summit

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Last week at RedHat Summit (presos, webcasts here) reinforced some of my views on RedHat. Although not the most prominent vendor in the cloud marketing media, they have not been sitting around. From Jim Whitehurst’s keynote, to the range of sessions on IaaS and PaaS, it’s clear the strategy is picking up momentum. With enterprise adoption of “cloud architectures” said to be ramping up in the next 24 months. The timing appears to be good.

shadowmanJim’s keynote was probably the most clear, concise and relevant that I have heard from a major vendor CEO. It can best be summarized in three bullets;
  • cloud is defined by the users
  • choice
  • implement based on value
Although everyone in the industry is aware of the gap between hype and reality, the view of RedHat’s CEO is that this is primarily a result of vendors trailing customers in trying to explain the shift to cloud based architecture. It is the users/customers that are defining “what is a cloud” and the marketing engines of the IT industry are left to debate this on the twittersphere. True or not, as a vendor, partnering with customers to develop solutions that can be applied to the specific business drivers is the only successful adoption model.

Recognizing the rapidly changing and fragmented solution market, customers are at great risk of selecting technologies that quickly enter a legacy position. The only assurance against this is the adoption of open solutions, common API driven integration points and careful attention to lock-in. There is a balancing act between the reduced customization cost of a fully integrated solution, its greater licensing costs and lock-in, vs. the increased implementation costs, lower licensing costs and lock-in. It’s an evaluation that needs to be done, when assessing the way forward.

Finally, the collection of architectural patterns that surround the cloud are often dependant on significant organizational change. In parallel, the technology, standards, products and solutions that support cloud architectures are changing rapidly. The only way to effect this change without creating a white elephant, is to focus on immediate value.

Although the road to cloud has been paved for a while, we are at a fork where enterprise adoption is starting to pick up speed. These principles are the foundations for successful enterprise navigation. The same principles are part of The Armada Group’s, Fast Track method.

Cloud Announcements

cloudforms logo2001

During the conference, RedHat released one product (OpenShift) and announced another (Cloud Forms).


Currently in alpha phase, the beta program is opening up and you can register today. The product is planned to be a supported version of a number of open source projects.

cloudforms-blockarchSome of these include (click diagram for block arch);

  • Aeolus Conductor – graphical UI
  • Image Factory – Daemon with a QMF interface for building cloud images
  • Image Warehouse – Daemon to move cloud images from cloud to cloud based on rules
  • Condor - messaging and scheduling (basis of existing MRG)
  • Delta Cloud – many cloud API
  • Katello - content provisioning management unifiying different tools, including;
    • Pulp
    • Candlepin
    • Puppet

The projects included in this product will change over time and some comments were made that over 100+ projects are being consider for incorporation.



Building on the power of JBoss, like other PaaS entries, it is all about the languages it supports.  OpenShift supports Java, Python, PHP and Ruby, including Spring, Seam, Weld, CDI, Rails, Rack, Symfony, Zend Framework, Twisted, Django and Java EE.


Some insight into the freemium business model are the three “modes” of the service which include;

  1. Express: Aimed at Ruby, PHP and Python applications delivered in a shared-hosting environment, it is free.
  2. Flex: Intended for Java Enterprise Edition and PHP apps, it can be deployed on JBoss or Tomcat and is intended for developers who want more control than they would get with the Express version.
  3. Power: Offers developers the most control at the operating system configuration level and is sometimes refered to as a hosted version of “CloudForms.”


Given the difficulty in generating near-term revenue with beta or alpha products, a few partnerships were promoted to help customers implement solutions today.


Joint development of virtualization products and services based around KVM. Included in this is the expectation of API integration of Tivoli products into Redhat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV). It’s a powerful strategy given the capabilities of IBM and the penetration of RHEL in enterprises. Press Release


A integration play with BMC Lifecycle Management and Redhat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV). When you do not have a saleable product and you have customers with need, then BMC has some of the tools needed to deploy cloud architectures. BMC also has a fairly significant footprint in the tools space with customers. It’s establishing a beachhead against VMware. Press Release


A license portability play, allowing users bring licenses from on-premise deployment to Amazon Web Services (AWS), but also a reseller capability allowing customers to buy pay-as-you go support on the AWS site. Press Release

So the puzzle pieces are in place. What is needed from RedHat is focused execution, focused execution, focused execution.

Contributed by: Brad Vaughan