Red Hat CloudForms promises management, federation for OpenStack clouds

Gina Narcisi

Red Hat Inc. announced a series of updates to its OpenStack distribution, including the Red Hat CloudForms version 3.0 for advanced cloud management and federation across multiple cloud services. The updates should help service providers that are striving to become cloud providers.

The company also announced that cloud providers, managed services providers and system integrators would join ranks alongside hardware and software vendors in its OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Program.

Red Hat's OpenStack announcements highlight the company's support for an open, hybrid cloud strategy, and will help service providers to offer the types of cloud services enterprises are asking for, said Dave Bartoletti, senior analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.  

"Red Hat is focused on enabling partners -- both enterprises and service providers. Right now, service providers are most likely a better target because service providers will adopt OpenStack much faster than enterprises," Bartoletti said. "Red Hat is helping service providers become cloud providers faster with an easier way to provision OpenStack with cloud management tools."

Red Hat CloudForms: OpenStack cloud management tools promote hybrid cloud strategy

As enterprises adopt Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service, they increasingly have to broker a number of different capabilities across different cloud providers, said Bryan Che, general manager of cloud for Red Hat. And cloud providers know enterprises refuse to be locked into a single provider or technology.  Red Hat CloudForms version 3.0 will offer both providers and enterprises an open architecture for the federation and management of multiple cloud services, Che said.

More on Red Hat and OpenStack cloud management:

Red Hat, Intel launch initiative to drive OpenStack cloud adoption

OpenStack tutorial: A guide for cloud providers

Red Hat's OpenStack distribution raises concerns

"CloudForms 3.0 offers much-improved hybrid cloud federation capabilities, Che said. "[The software] now includes much more sophisticated polices and orchestration capabilities for federation."

Red Hat CloudForms, a virtual appliance for managing public, private and hybrid clouds, is based on technology procured from Red Hat's acquisition of ManageIQ in 2012. CloudForms 3.0 expands the software's existing management and automation capabilities for infrastructure platforms -- such as VMware vSphere, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Amazon AWS -- to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. The software also includes enhanced management capabilities for Amazon Web Services, Red Hat said.

 "It's really important for the cloud service provider to automate and provide orchestration across all the elements of the data center -- such as compute, storage and the network," said Cliff Grossner, directing analyst of data center and cloud for Campbell, Calif.-based Infonetics Research Inc. "Red Hat is really going after the cloud provider market, and really wanting to be the orchestration platform of choice," he said.

The multi-cloud management approach being taken by Red Hat will give providers the opportunity to not only offer federation across different cloud provider services to their customers, but also federation for different types of clouds, Forrester's Bartoletti said. "Providers could offer OpenStack-based cloud services to some customers, or resell another cloud service to customers more easily," he said.

OpenStack Partner Ecosystem: Enabling providers will boost OpenStack adoption

Red Hat's OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network has grown at a consistent clip, with a 30% growth in partner participation since its launch in June 2013, Red Hat said. In addition to hardware and software providers, Red Hat has expanded its Partner Network to include system integrators, managed service providers, telecommunication and cloud providers, said Mike Werner, senior director of global ecosystems for Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat.

Red Hat also extended its Enterprise OpenStack Certifications, which will now include OpenStack Object Storage (Swift) and OpenStack Image Storage (Glance) certifications, the company said.

The quicker Red Hat can empower its partners -- including service providers -- with OpenStack tools and certifications, the more comfortable the enterprise will be with the open source platform, Forrester's Bartoletti said.

"I think a lot of enterprises are going to start to kicking the tires with OpenStack next year, but they really need a partner to help get started," he said. "There really is a rush for traditional service providers, systems integrators and value-added resellers to have a cloud story, and business customers are going [to] want to buy [OpenStack] from a provider that offers enterprise-grade management and integration services."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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