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Red Hat clutches OpenShift, takes platform cloud to second version

Platform clouds are the new middleware, says Red Hat

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Open source junkie Red Hat has announced the second version of its locally deployable platform cloud in spite of muted market adoption of the tech.

The second version of OpenShift brings with it a host of advances that tie the platform cloud further into open source infrastructure-as-a-service platform OpenStack, along with giving it greater usability for data center managers.

Platform clouds allow companies to layer a set of software components over scale-out commodity infrastructure, and expose this gear to developers via an application runtime.

This takes a lot of the difficulties out of writing scale-out applications, and decouples the way apps are written from underlying infrastructure.

Though Red Hat has high hopes for the technology, platform clouds have been promoted many times before and have mostly not done well. Google and Microsoft's first stabs at taking on Amazon were platform clouds, and they did not get the adoption that Amazon's IaaS approach got. Similarly, Red Hat's first iteration of OpenShift doesn't seem to have caused huge enthusiasm.

But this time it's different, Red Hat says.

"A pure private PaaS or PaaS market figure today – it's probably fairly modest," Joe Fernandes, a product manager at Red Hat, told The Reg. "What we see is that the big market here is the application platform and application lifecycle tools market in general. When we talk to customers, they're talking about their entire app deployment process and tools today. When we talk to analysts at Gartner and IDC who were middleware and application lifecycle analysts, they're now PaaS analysts. ... that's the potential, I guess."

Since there's now a major crop of developers that have grown up writing apps to run over virtualized and crappy stuff (VACS) on Amazon, it's likely the approach may have more resonance.

New features in OpenShift 2 Enterprise 2 include a network plug-in module to let admins route through existing gear like hardware-based load balancers, or use OpenShift software tools.

The company has also added support for the popular Node.js language for server-side JavaScript, though it did already offer compatibility for this in the online version of the PaaS, OpenShift Online.

It also released templates that ease the deployment of OpenStack via the "heat" plug-in, and has given a polish to the general OpenShift installer.

The product will go head-to-head with the "Pivotal One" platform from VMware-backed Pivotal, which is based on the open source Cloud Foundry project. Both companies make bold claims about the inevitable adoption of a local PaaS in enterprises, but neither has yet listed meaningful revenue figures for the tech. ®

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