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Red Hat ships shiny new KVM and OpenStack software

Divulges pricing on various bundles of cloudy joy

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Analysis When Red Hat launched its commercialized version of the OpenStack cloud control freak in June, along with an update to its supported version of the KVM hypervisor, the one thing it did not do was provide pricing for the support contracts for this code. But when the software was made generally available for production use on Wednesday, Shadowman also announced pricing for various bundles of its Linux, KVM, OpenStack, and CloudForms software.

Red Hat's cloudy software stack is the result of more than two years of work and more than a few acquisitions by the company. And with the addition of OpenStack is competitive with what VMware and Microsoft have cooked up in their respective vCloud and Windows Server stacks.

During the Red Hat Summit in June, when Paul Cormier, president of products and technologies, announced the new software, he tossed up this comparative chart that hinted at the kind of pricing that Red Hat was thinking of for its server virtualization and infrastructure cloud software:

How Red Hat stacks up its cloudy software against Microsoft and VMware

How Red Hat stacks up its cloudy software against VMware (we think)

Cormier was pretty vague about who the competitor in the chart above was, but it is very likely VMware, which unlike both Red Hat and Microsoft, does not control its own operating system.

In a blog posting, Red Hat tweaked the packaging and pricing on its commercial-grade implementation of the KVM hypervisor for servers and desktops. As expected, it has merged the server and desktop versions into a single package that is now called Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, or RHEV.

Before, RHEV was sold in either a server or desktop variant, and the server edition cost $499 per socket per year for a standard support contract, and $749 per socket with premium support. With RHEV 3.2, the RHEV desktop connection broker, the SPICE protocol, and Remote Desktop Protocol support as well as support for desktop operating systems have been merged into the single RHEV. It is licensed in two-socket pairs, for $998 per year for a standard support contract and $1,498 for a premium support contract.

It's not clear what happens if you want to use RHEV on a single-socket PC or workstation. Presumably this is Shadowman's way of pointing out that only companies using two-socket workstations want to virtualize their machines anyway. Presumably you can work a deal if you really want RHEV on your laptop or desktop and only have one socket. Or, you can use VMware Workstation or Oracle VirtualBox, we suppose.

There are two different stacks from Red Hat that have the "Grizzly" implementation of OpenStack embedded in them, as the company announced in June.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, which is comprised of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with OpenStack rolled up on top of it and KVM underneath it as the virtualization layer for the server slices that make up a basic infrastructure cloud.

As it turns out, there are two variants of this OpenStack variant, and they have two different prices based on the jobs they do in an OpenStack cloud. If you are getting a support license for a controller node and therefore does not need an unlimited license for RHEL guests, then it is cheaper – bBut still not cheap. And like KVM above, the licenses are sold in socket pairs.

Presumably if you are using single-socket microservers in your cloud, Red Hat does the math and cuts the node count in half to get its OpenStack support licenses.

The OpenStack controller node costs $2,149 per year per socket-pair for a standard support contract, and $2,799 per year per socket pair for a premium contract. If you add in the unlimited RHEL guests for compute or storage nodes in the cluster, then a standard contract costs $3,449 per socket pair per year and the premium contract costs $4,499 per socket pair.

Let's do a little math.

A standard contract for RHEL with an unlimited number of guests costs $1,999, so if you back out the OpenStack controller cost, then Red Hat is giving you a 35 per cent discount on the unlimited RHEL license as part of this bundle. A premium support contract for RHEL with unlimited virtual machine licenses costs $3,249. If you do the math, if you get a premium support contract on the OpenStack-RHEL-KVM bundle, it is like Red Hat is giving you a 55 per cent discount on the RHEL license.

Ah, the bundle of joy and the joy of bundling!

If you want to go all the way with Shadowman and move from a basic infrastructure cloud with more policy-based control, metering, monitoring, and self-service, then you want Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure. This stack adds CloudForms and ManageIQ software to the OpenStack-KVM setup, and comes with a version that has RHEL bundled in and another that does not, in case you want to support another Linux or Windows on some of your cloud nodes.

With the unlimited RHEL guests tossed into the Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure bundle, it costs $4,599 per socket pair per year for a standard support contract and $5,999 per socket pair per year for a premium support contract. If you want Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure for nodes in your OpenStack cloud that are not going to run RHEL, then the support costs $2,799 per socket pair per year for standard coverage and $3,599 for premium coverage.

The difference between those two pairs of numbers is the value of an unlimited RHEL license for this bundle, and the discounting on RHEL is not very deep at all – about 10 per cent for standard and 26 per cent for premium contracts.

If you back out the OpenStack-KVM-RHEL components from the Cloud Infrastructure pricing above, that means that the combination of the CloudForms and ManageIQ software represents a cost of a mere $650 per socket pair per year for a standard support contract, and an even lower $350 per socket pair per year with a premium contract.

Your move, VMware. ®

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