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IT knows that it needs to get to a cloud—and especially an open hybrid cloud—in order to become more agile and responsive to their businesses and developers. The first significant project that enterprises typically undertake is to implement an IaaS private cloud as the first step towards an overall hybrid cloud spanning multiple heterogeneous environments: private and public clouds, and IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.
However, for these IaaS private clouds to be successful—that is, to be used by businesses and especially developers—they need to deliver a rich set of functionality. This includes, for the cloud end-users:
- A self-service catalog;
- Rich development environments;
- Broad access to services;
- Full automation; and
- Elastic resources.
And, IT needs to be able to operate and manage this cloud in a way that satisfies its users' needs while also addressing compliance and governance. This requires capabilities such as:
- chargeback, metering, and analytics to manage cost and VM sprawl;
- monitoring, eventing, and orchestration to respond automatically to dynamic conditions, such as heavy load;
- policy enforcement to prevent things like unauthorized workloads or even misconfigured systems from running;
- a scalable, rich infrastructure; and
- the ability to manage across heterogenous and hybrid environments so that, for example, you can develop, test, and deploy across different resource providers.
Red Hat provides enterprises with the software they need to deliver these types of capabilities in a rapid deployment. Indeed, even though Red Hat offers simple packaged software for IaaS private clouds in CloudForms and Red Hat OpenStack, behind those products is a broad set of technologies that builds from the full Red Hat arsenal.
Here is an under-the-covers look at the technologies and capabilities Red Hat uses for delivering IaaS across the physical, virtual, private cloud, and hybrid cloud layers of cloud.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides the foundation for managing a physical environment in clouds. But, it's not just ditching expensive, proprietary systems that provides benefits here. As the original cloud operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides many cloud-related benefits such as application portability, security, scalability, and cloud-enabling runtime features. Adopting Red Hat Enterprise Linux can not only pay off in the near term; it can set you up strategically to adopt cloud in the future.
Beyond Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat uses two other foundational technologies for delivering IaaS. First is Red Hat Satellite, which automates provisioning and configuring of environments. This is important for everything from managing and provisioning a cloud's own infrastructure to enabling DevOps for developers.
Red Hat Storage delivers a software-defined storage service as part of IaaS. As a pure software offering, Red Hat Storage can run co-resident with the same compute infrastructure on commodity hardware powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This provides a highly scalable and cost-effective way to provision storage in a cloud. Additionally, Red Hat Storage provides a global namespace, which means that our customers can deliver to their developer and businesses data services that can elastically and portably span a hybrid cloud. Red Hat Storage also provides a variety of interfaces, from a POSIX filesystem to OpenStack Swift object, supporting a wide variety of cloud workloads.
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provides a cloud-optimized virtualization platform for powering clouds. For example, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provides industry-leading capabilities for supporting multi-tenant environments. In multi-tenant clouds, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provides:
- Security. SELinux and sVirt, technologies Red Hat jointly developed with the National Security Agency (NSA), the U.S. Department of Defense’s cryptologic intelligence agency, to provide a strong security barrier around virtual machines. If there is an exploit in an application—or even the host hypervisor—Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization can provide strong protection against attacks on other co-resident applications and the underlying host machine
- Quality of Service. Because Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization leverages the KVM hypervisor, it can leverage Linux capabilities such as CGroups to provide resource isolation and predictable application performance. For example, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization can specify that a certain VM only consume at most a certain amount of CPU, memory, or resource bandwidth on a system. If that VM comes under heavy load, it won't affect the performance of another VM on the same system
- Performance and Scalability. One of the primary reasons to virtualize in a cloud is to increase scalability and performance across a dense set of resources. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization has achieved the top world record performance and scalability records on SPECVirt, the third-party virtualization benchmark.(1) No other virtualization technology can provide the same speed and scale that clouds require.
Open Private Cloud
Private clouds must provide a rich set of capabilities both for developers as well as IT Operations.
As stated previously, this includes features ranging from self-service catalogs, rich development environments, and elastic resources for developers along with chargeback, monitoring, and orchestration for cloud administrators.
Red Hat is delivering all these capabilities through OpenStack for cloud infrastructure services and CloudForms for managing and automating those services.
OpenStack is an open source platform for providing IaaS services, such as compute, storage, and network resources. OpenStack is optimized for highly scalable cloud workloads and has quickly become an industry focal-point for developing cloud infrastructures. Red Hat is now the leading contributor to OpenStack and in the process of bringing OpenStack to enterprise customers. Red Hat is also actively involved with and leading many aspects of the OpenStack project in order to help develop and deliver the innovative IaaS features that our customers require.
CloudForms is a cloud management platform that provides a broad set of features such as rich self-service catalogs, service provisioning, automation and orchestration, monitoring, chargeback, and policy enforcement. Red Hat is working to deliver all these capabilities in concert with OpenStack so that, as enterprises begin to deploy private clouds, they will be able to use CloudForms both as a rich interface to OpenStack services as well as an automated manager of their clouds.
Open Hybrid Cloud
Moving to cloud doesn't stop at deploying an IaaS private cloud.
Red Hat CloudForms is not only adding support for OpenStack; it already includes great support for a diverse set of environments such as VMware, Amazon, and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. This means that, as enterprises grow their private cloud deployment and start to integrate it with other parts of their IT, CloudForms can provide a single pane-of-glass for IT to integrate and manage across heterogenous, hybrid clouds. It means that developers can have a single self-service catalog for a wide variety of resources coming from a diversity of providers rather than having to go to individual, incompatible catalogs across a sprawl of clouds. And, it also means that enterprises can avoid lock-in and complexity as they build out their cloud environments.
It's not just CloudForms that enables an open hybrid cloud, though. All the other elements mentioned previously also contribute to open hybrid cloud's promise of interoperability and portability. Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides a portable and standardized platform; Red Hat Storage provides a global namespace with data portability across clouds; and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and OpenStack provide open foundations for building a private cloud.
Together, all these capabilities enable Red Hat to provide a rich open hybrid IaaS cloud that provides immediate value but positions you for the future.
One final point. While Red Hat provides some simple solutions for deploying IaaS clouds in an easy step, these solutions build upon existing Red Hat products. Red Hat users can easily leverage their existing investments—for example, in Red Hat Enterprise Linux —and use that to evolve into cloud. Cloud is a transformative change. But that doesn't mean you have to throw out what you already have.
(1) SPEC®, SPECvirt™, and SPECvirt_sc® are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC). Competitive numbers shown reflect results published on www.spec.org as of May 13, 2013. For the latest SPECvirt_sc2010 results visit www.spec.org/osg/virt_sc2010.