Feeds

Red Hat finds its feet in cloud gold rush

Hang on, lads, I've got a great idea

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Open ... And Shut Cloud computing may be the future, but it appears to be one fraught with unpredictable downtime and security breaches. In other words, it's very much like the bad ol' days of corporate data centres, except that this time Amazon, Salesforce and other cloud providers get the blame when things go wrong - rather than one's local IT folks.

But if history is any guide as to the problems inherent in letting someone else manage one's applications and data, an open-source approach is going to win a plethora of converts, and Red Hat will claim the majority of these.

Yes, Red Hat. The company isn't known for cloud computing and has sometimes struggled to articulate what, exactly, its cloud computing strategy is. For some time it mostly worked in the background, enabling others' public clouds, including Salesforce.com and Fujitsu's cloud.

This is changing. The company's website is now awash in cloud-related documentation, and Gunnar Hellekson, Red Hat's Chief Technology Strategist for its US public sector group, has whittled down Red Hat's previously complex strategy into just one tweet:

opening_up_the_clouds_screenshot_from_matt_asay

Hellekson then followed up this tweet with a lengthier, though still pithy, explanation of Red Hat's cloud strategy. It largely follows the company's battle plan in servers and server virtualisation, and so serves as fair warning to Red Hat's proprietary-prone competitors.

In a nutshell, Hellekson's explanation boils down to this: Red Hat is going to commoditise competitors' monolithic, winner-take-all cloud approaches that remove complexity but also customer choice, with standardized building blocks that work across physical, virtual and cloud-deployed systems, simplifying IT's task of application delivery and allowing IT to focus on business process efficiencies. Were I to narrow it down even further, I'd use one word: choice. Choice sells, and always has, for Red Hat.

So while proprietary Salesforce.com pot calls the proprietary Oracle kettle black, the best of either comes out looking a very murky hue of charcoal grey. Throw in the cost of proprietary approaches with rampant doubt that cloud computing can deliver serious security and we have a perfect storm for Red Hat's cloud story.

This is the same play book that won so much of the server operating system market for Red Hat, and has put it on course to take a big bite of VMware's virtualization business. It's likely to prove a winner in the cloud, too.

Not that its competitors are standing still. As I've noted before, VMware is getting aggressive with open source and open approaches to cloud computing, with a lead over Red Hat's OpenShift.

Rackspace's OpenStack offspring, too, can lay claim to serious open cloud credentials. And we know from the server wars that plenty of enterprises will opt for proprietary alternatives like Microsoft and Oracle, anyway. There's (perceived) safety in entrusting one's IT choices to a big vendor.

In other words, while Red Hat's strategy has all the trappings of success, "success" likely won't mean global domination. But it should help the company reach its next billion in annual revenue. I suspect Red Hat likes that "choice" just fine. ®

Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Strobe, a startup that offers an open source framework for building mobile apps. He was formerly chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears twice a week on The Register.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.