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Red Hat snuggles up to Dell with 'enterprise grade' OpenStack offer

PC maker puts iron into Linux lovers' private cloud dreams

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Dell and Red Hat will work together to propagate OpenStack clouds running the Linux distro, in what the PC maker claims is a first.

The pair have announced they will jointly develop "enterprise grade" private clouds that are based on Dell hardware and Red Hat's Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. The first fruits are due next year.

Red Hat's Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform includes Red Hat's Linux distro and its hypervisor turned to the OpenStack software.

The duo will also contribute code to the OpenStack community for the next edition of Red Hat's OpenStack Platform, 4.0 in beta, that'll run on the Havana release of Open Stack.

Havana is version eight of OpenStack, featuring more than 400 new features and that was released in October. Changes in Havana include greater support software development, data management and the ability to run large-scale application infrastructure.

Dell claimed the agreement with Red Hat makes it the first company to OEM the Linux distro's OpenStack Linux Platform.

The Linux vendor's cloud stack has been available for IBM's System z mainframes and also for IBM Power processors, with SAP's business apps also supported.

Dell has also pledged to "work closely" on aspects of the OpenStack project with Red Hat.

The two will focus networking and admin and monitoring, with an agreement to work on software-defined networking and networking-as-a-service between interface devices under the OpenStack Neuron project. They will also work on OpenStack Celometer on the telemetry side.

Dell's wholehearted backing for OpenStack and for Red Hat came on the heals of the news last week it would start reselling cloud tech from rivals.

Dell expanded its Cloud Partner program at Dell World in Austin, Texas, by reselling Google's Cloud Platform, Windows Azure, Savvis Century Link and Accenture among others.

The deal with Red Hat is important as the formerly public company tries to re-invent itself out of the crumbling PC market by becoming a systems reseller and consulting expert in the expanding field of cloud infrastructure.

To avoid any competitive overlap, Dell killed plans for its own OpenStack-based public cloud in May saying it was adopting a "best-in-class partner offering" instead.

The agreement between Dell and Red Hat is important for Red Hat, too, as that company tries to establish a foothold in the enterprise cloud and cloud server market.

Growing up to become the number one Linux distro, Red Hat secured agreements with companies like IBM and Dell to ensure the distro worked smoothly on their hardware. Those early deals helped establish Red Hat in the server rooms of major enterprise IT consumers.

Red Hat will, no doubt, hope that having an OEM partner in the bag on its Linux-based cloud will work similar magic.

OpenStack, too, needs a shot in the arm. The public cloud market is dominated by Amazon with a battle for second shaping up between Microsoft and Google.

OpenStack has is an open code base with lots of freedom to innovate that also requires lots of work to refine and install. OpenStackers will be looking to Dell and Red Hat engineers to make their cloud platform ready to serve out of the box for ordinary users unable to pay for OpenStack consultants or lacking the OpenStack rocket scientists on their team.

The opportunity and the challenge for Dell and Red Hat is how far the pair can achieve a beachhead and go from market share to critical mass against Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett-Packard, who are all trying to tempt enterprise IT shops into using their clouds for business. ®

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