Originally posted on August 5, 2013, by Tim Burke, vice president, Cloud and Virtualization Development, Red Hat - Part 3 of a 4 part series 
In my last post, I discussed a small subset of the security, storage, networking, virtualization, and performance optimizations that make the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform offering technically superior. Yet, as innovation continues in the vibrant upstream OpenStack and Linux communities, Red Hat’s integration work is ongoing. Our subscription model assures that customers will continue to have access to this ongoing stream of innovation – innovation that is made possible through the tight coordination of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux development team, which now includes OpenStack components. The goals of that coordination include:
- Component Integration – There are several parts of OpenStack that have dependencies on specific versions of run-times or system utilities. For example, there are specific networking modules required for software-defined networks (SDNs), specific versions of python run-times, custom Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) security policies, and even system tunings for virtualized guest environments. Piecing together the specific versions and making the completed whole function optimally can be a daunting challenge.
- Testing – By integrating OpenStack as a part of the core Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform, integration testing is performed as a part of the standard development practice. This delivers a higher level of confidence in the resulting offering.
- Built-in Security – Ensuring that OpenStack is able to run with SELinux enabled by default, including security features like virtual guest containment, requires considering security implications from the very beginning of development. Attempting to retrofit security into the product post-development increases the effort required and makes it more likely that specific security protections will be overlooked.
- Planned integration – Red Hat, as a leader and major contributor to OpenStack, has a front-seat view of upcoming technologies and the ability to filter new features based on their maturity level. Selecting the correct features for enterprise deployments and steering new development so that they fit into the upstream development efforts affords customers confidence that their OpenStack deployment isn’t left at a dead end.
Red Hat has a proven track record of performance in the above areas and we have brought that expertise to our integrated development of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.
Bringing the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Ecosystem to OpenStack
The base of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform is constructed from the standard Red Hat Enterprise Linux components. On top of this standard foundation, numerous features and optimizations are installed – primarily consisting of the OpenStack specific additions. For example, we add the Open vSwitch software-defined networking features that I described in my last post. We augment the set of Red Hat Enterprise Linux components with virtualization enhancements for storage and migration in QEMU (Quick EMUlator), as well as kernel and IP tool enhancements in support of network namespaces. All of these changes are carefully selected and prepared to maintain the integrity, compatibility, and stability of the underlying Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
By tightly coupling Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenStack through Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, the benefits of Red Hat Enterprise Linux are preserved. Among other things, these benefits include:
- Hardware certification – The validation provided by Red Hat and our broad hardware partner ecosystem directly applies to Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.
- Application compatibility – Virtualized guest environments run standard Red Hat Enterprise Linux, preserving application compatibility.
- Administrator familiarity – There is no need to learn a new environment; Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based skills directly apply.
On-ramp to Cloud
The integration, ecosystem, compatibility, and administrative consistency of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform make OpenStack consumable in the enterprise. This enables companies that would not typically be able to build and deploy their own private cloud solution to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform as the basis for moving to the cloud. In doing so, enterprises can expect the same high-quality experience that they have become accustomed to from Red Hat via Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
1. Editor’s note: In this series of blog posts, Tim Burke has been reviewing Red Hat’s journey from Red Hat Enterprise Linux to the newly announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. This is Tim’s third post in the four-part series. The first two can be found here and here. All statements in the blog represent the views of the author and Red Hat as of the original date of publication and have not be updated or revised subsequent to that date.