The easiest way for enterprises and other organizations to think about OpenStack is that it lets them build an internal cloud provider offering Infrastructure-as-a-Service resources (compute, storage, etc.) to their own employees while maintaining control. This type of infrastructure is typically going to be best suited for "cloud-style" workloads—which is to say workloads whose instances tend to be stateless, relatively short-lived, loosely coupled with other instances, and horizontally scaled. These workloads will generally coexist with more traditional enterprise workloads such as those that run on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization or even physical servers.
OpenStack has demonstrated the power of the open source development model. As software development analytics company Bitergia notes on their blog: "The different charts show how companies are not only involved in shaping the source code, but are also contributing by working to close bugs, and are participating in the mailing lists. All in all, the history of these six months of OpenStack development is one of growth, increased involvement by most of the companies participating in it, and increasing participation by [a][sic] number of companies."
Red Hat offers Red Hat OpenStack (now in an Early Adopter Program available by invitation from Red Hat and currently based on the OpenStack Folsom release), but more recently we also made available RDO—a freely available, community-supported distribution of OpenStack that runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, and their derivatives. The Red Hat OpenStack Early Adopter offering is targeted at organizations with experience building private or public clouds who want to start an OpenStack deployment now on a stable platform, and brings the same systematic engineering and release processes to OpenStack that Red Hat has for products such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat CloudForms, and Red Hat JBoss Middleware. By contrast, RDO offers a pure community-supported upstream OpenStack experience with the latest stable release (Grizzly) from OpenStack.org, packaged, integrated, and easy to deploy on Red Hat platforms.
RDO is also intended to be a community—the best place to get information about running OpenStack on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, or their derivatives, and to share knowledge with other OpenStack users on these same platforms. openstack.redhat.com is the best place to interact with other OpenStack users using Red Hat operating systems, and get access to the best information, answers, and community support focused on getting RDO running in your environment.
RDO is constructed by taking tarballs of stable upstream OpenStack releases, testing to see that they integrate well with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and packaging them into RPM format. Our development methodology is (as always) upstream first. If an RDO user proposes a patch, we will point them to the process for getting that patch accepted upstream and take it into RDO when it becomes part of a stable branch release or as part of the next upstream GA release. RDO also includes Packstack, a Red Hat-developed tool which streamlines the installation of OpenStack on Red Hat operating systems.
RDO is intended to be "Pristine" OpenStack, in that it will not take additional patches from upstream (or downstream) that are not in a stable branch. (This is in contrast to Red Hat OpenStack which, as with other Red Hat subscription offerings, will selectively incorporate backported patches from the upstream trunk to provide additional value from Red Hat customers.)
RDO is effectively a downstream community from the broader OpenStack community—and one that is in no way intended to compete with that broader community. Rather, the RDO site is a resource tailored to our specific user base so they can get their specific needs met and their specific questions answered. OpenStack itself doesn't ship packaged for any particular Linux distribution. As with many other open source projects, many implementation details are left to the distributor or the user. RDO gives you the latest upstream code, integrated to run on platforms in the Red Hat ecosystem.
Red Hat's actively involved in that OpenStack upstream. During the Grizzly release cycle, Red Hat was the most prolific contributor to upstream OpenStack, with 836 commits to core OpenStack projects, out of a total of 3,801 (22%), and 1,854 commits across all OpenStack projects, out of a total of 6,615 (28%) (as measured and reported by Bitergia on April 4, 2013)) We work across the stack (Heat, Nova, Quantum, Ceilometer, Horizon, Oslo) to provide a better OpenStack experience for all project participants.
The initial RDO release allows you to run OpenStack Grizzly on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4+ and derivatives (CentOS 6.4+, Scientific Linux 6.4+ and similar Linux distribution and on Fedora 18. It includes the core OpenStack components (Nova, Glance, Keystone, Cinder, Quantum and Horizon), as well as the incubating Heat (cloud orchestrator implementing the AWS Cloud Formation API) and Ceilometer (cloud metering). Packstack enables automated, single or multi-node installs of OpenStack using Puppet.