On OpenStack and Open Source

May 14, 2014

Paul Cormier, President, Products and Technologies, Red Hat

It’s been an exciting week in open source. Notably, we’re at the mid-point of the OpenStack Summit – an event that has brought thousands to Atlanta to talk about the best way to move the fast-growing open source cloud computing platform project forward. As you might expect, many Red Hatters, our partners and customers are at the event. The dispatches I’ve heard from them this week reiterate the strength and potential of OpenStack as it moves from enterprise promise to enterprise reality. While we’re still in the earliest days of OpenStack in the enterprise, the project is quickly maturing, enterprise deployments are occurring, and there is an incredibly strong ecosystem of partners committed to its success.

Such fast growth often leads to confusion. Let me be clear about Red Hat’s beliefs and our OpenStack offerings. Red Hat believes the entire cloud should be open with no lock-in to proprietary code. Period. No exceptions. Lock-in is the antithesis of open source, and it goes against everything Red Hat stands for. Competitors use scare tactics to spread FUD about “closed open source.” Our OpenStack offerings – like all Red Hat products – are 100% open source. In addition, we provide support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. OpenStack and Linux go hand-in-hand, and they are deeply intertwined. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and our OpenStack offerings are developed, built, integrated, and supported together to create Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. This requires tight feature and fix alignment between the Kernel, the hypervisor, and OpenStack services. We have run into this in actual customer support situations many times.

To be clear, users are free to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux with any OpenStack offering, and there is no requirement to use our OpenStack technologies to get a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription. That’s what open source enables, and it’s not a new way of business for us. As a matter of fact, in traditional virtualization environments we certify performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on offerings from our largest competitors, Microsoft and VMware. They have engineering teams and a quality assurance process that we feel comfortable with. Together, we work with them to offer an enterprise-class experience for customers. We also work closely with major cloud providers like Amazon and Google to certify Red Hat Enterprise Linux. These relationships – and our massive network of certified partners – bring customers broad choice on the full spectrum from bare metal to cloud. That is the value of open source.

Red Hat has built our business on delivering rock solid reliability for our customers. We spend millions of dollars on quality engineering and quality assurance. We maintain massive certification programs and test harnesses to ensure that when we offer integrated software it works reliably. This is why, we believe, we have built a leading position in open source.

Enterprise-class open source requires quality assurance. It requires standards. It requires security. OpenStack is no different. To cavalierly “compile and ship,” untested OpenStack offerings would be reckless. It would not deliver open source products that are ready for mission critical operations and we would never put our customers in that position or at risk. Our steadfast dedication to this model has delivered – and continues to deliver – enormous value to our customers, while consistently giving back our software contributions to the community. Our customers see that value and it is reflected in our growth.

Red Hat’s track record of supporting collaborative innovation and our unwavering commitment to truly open open source are unparalleled. As a recent example, earlier this week we announced the formation of the ManageIQ community. As the basis of this, we are contributing the software we acquired from ManageIQ, Inc., for approximately $104 million in December 2012. It’s certainly a sizable contribution to the open source community, but quite simply, that’s what Red Hat stands for and it’s what we’ll continue to do. Just a few weeks ago when we acquired Inktank, we again committed to open-sourcing their closed-source monitoring offering.

We would celebrate and welcome competitors like HP showing commitment to true open source by open sourcing their entire software portfolio.

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