Is Red Hat Already the Big Fish in the OpenStack Pond?
Other than Amazon and Microsoft, it's difficult to point to major players on the technology scene who don't have at least some involvement with the OpenStack cloud computing platform. Just last week, GoDaddy announced its participation in the project, and nearly every week brings new participants. But no player on the OpenStack scene is gathering as much buzz as Red Hat, and that is causing some to wonder whether Red Hat is emerging as the de facto boss of the project.
In 2014, Red Hat's focus is going to shift much more in the direction of cloud computing, as it pursues numerous OpenStack-focused initiatives. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform is positioned to serve as the foundation for OpenStack-powered cloud deployments. And, Red Hat announced its Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Infrastructure-as-a-Service and expanded training in support of its OpenStack technology. Noted open source writer and leader Matt Asay notes that OpenStack needs Red Hat, because while the open cloud platform has much going for it, it doesn't have the leadership it needs.
GigaOM, too, is wondering how firmly Red Hat may be in the driver's seat of the OpenStack project:
"There is uneasiness among the rank-and-file that Red Hat is angling to be the new boss in town. By some counts, Red Hat contributed the most code to the current Havana release of OpenStack and according to attendees of the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong last fall, Red Hat signage and presence dominated the floor."
Let's not forget that Dell and Red Hat recently announced that Dell will effectively become an OEM for Red Hat's Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, by selling systems starting early next year that run the platform. Dell is also joining the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network as an Alliance Partner.
Red Hat has gained a powerful partner in Dell in its effort to steer its business toward supporting cloud deployments based on OpenStack. With this partnership, Red Hat can get immediate access to the IT departments of countless big enterprises.
As I've noted before, in the open source cloud race, support will differentiate the competitors. IT departments doing deployments will demand great support, and that is where Red hat shines. The company is respected for the top-notch support it has provided for its Linux and middleware platforms. Can it bring the same level of support to the OpenStack community? We'll get to see as this year plays out, because OpenStack deployments are on the rise, and Red Hat is in the center of the fray.