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Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Foundation for the open hybrid cloud
June 11, 2013
Jim Totton, vice president and general manager, Platform, Red Hat
Red Hat espouses a vision called open hybrid cloud, but it’s important to note that this is not merely “cloud washing” or a response to the latest fad. Rather, it’s based on a foundation that Red Hat has been building for years, and stems from the experience and credibility we’ve established in helping to create the market for commercial Linux. This long-held vision has been informed by a decade of collective feedback from our customers, and helps avoid some of the pitfalls that are often created within enterprise software – sometimes by vendors themselves. Examples of pitfalls are the purpose-built solutions that enterprises adopt that end up becoming rigid and inflexible infrastructure silos. These silos are expensive to maintain, often implement non-standard interfaces and API’s, and result in vendor lock-in.
Today, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the leading commercial Linux platform1. And it is because of the platform's success that we can credibly articulate our open hybrid cloud vision, knowing that many of the same lessons we've learned over the years in the development of a traditional operating system will also be useful to customers moving to the cloud. In fact, the open hybrid cloud is defined by Red Hat Enterprise Linux for several reasons. Let's dissect the phrase, and see why.
Open Hybrid Cloud
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is open. Not open as in open source, although this is certainly true, but open because of a commitment to open standards, open APIs, and open innovation. This openness allows for customers to maintain architectural freedom, the ability to incorporate the latest and best-of-breed technologies, and, ultimately, freedom from vendor lock-in.
This means more than simply a combination of public and private cloud. Hybrid means deployment flexibility – physical, virtual, or cloud. Hybrid means on-premise and/or hosted. Hybrid also means the ability to incorporate legacy systems, applications, and data – integrating these disparate systems in a way that can take advantage of investments already made.
While many contend that cloud is an off-the-shelf solution, this is not true. Cloud is a collection of attributes that define operating principles and solution architecture. These attributes include the ability for resources to be available on-demand; elastic scaling; hassle-free automation; resource pooling; and measurable results. Red Hat Enterprise Linux delivers all of these within the core feature set of the operating platform. The powerful scripting and shell capabilities give rise to on-demand and automation, while the ability to deliver consistency and portability through the packaging model of Red Hat Enterprise Linux means rapid scaling. Finally, capabilities like KVM, Linux Containers, and Cgroups allow for resource pooling and fine grained resource management. Thus, Red Hat Enterprise Linux instantiates the promise of cloud by virtue of the underlying capabilities it delivers.
Despite these details, one might ask, “why should I trust Red Hat to deliver the promise of open hybrid cloud, and what does Red Hat Enterprise Linux have to do with this?”. We would respond with several supporting points.
1. Red Hat knows how to make open source enterprise grade. We have done this with Linux, and are doing this with cloud infrastructure software. Our experience here can deliver significant value to customers who demand certified, tested, and supported solutions.
2. Infrastructure solutions require more than binaries. They require a broad and viable partner ecosystem and a long, stable solution lifecycle. These are inherent capabilities that we deliver with Red Hat Enterprise Linux every day, and over a ten-year lifecycle.
3. Linux is the foundation for the cloud1, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the commercial leader in the Linux space. Many customers have chosen Red Hat Enterprise Linux as their cloud foundation. Whether describing the underlying infrastructure or widespread guest operating systems, Red Hat Enterprise Linux brings market leadership and defacto knowledge of the cloud architecture.
4. OpenStack, an emerging standard for building private cloud solutions, leverages Linux everywhere. Linux is the runtime underpinning of OpenStack components like Nova, Keystone, and Horizon. KVM, the leading Linux hypervisor, is a popular choice for the hypervisor inside of OpenStack solutions. Finally, the most popular choice for virtual guest operating systems in OpenStack deployments are, you guessed it – Linux! As recently announced at the OpenStack Summit in April, Red Hat is gearing up for significant support of OpenStack within the OpenStack foundation, with a distribution of OpenStack called RDO, and with an early adopter version of Red Hat OpenStack.
Simply put, while the concept of an open hybrid cloud may be relatively new, and its potential in the enterprise only beginning to be realized, the basis for this concept has actually been with Red Hat and its customers since Red Hat Enterprise Linux was first introduced. Not long ago we wrote that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the original cloud operating system, and it's true; Red Hat Enterprise Linux remains the OS of choice for enterprises seeking a portable, open, scalable, customizable system that is ideal for building applications in the cloud. It is, in fact, the cornerstone of our vision for the open hybrid cloud. It is a vision that started not when the concept of the cloud became fashionable, but has existed and grown over may years, fueled by an OS that was not only born in the cloud but to serve the companies moving to the cloud.
1. Source: Worldwide Client and Server Operating Environments Market Analysis and 2012-2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares: The Changing Dynamics and Demographics (IDC #236428, August 2012).
2. Source: 2013 Enterprise End User Report. Linux Adoption: Third Annual Survey of World’s Largest Enterprise Linux Users. March 2013.