Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat has been building out its cloud strategy over the last several years. It's a strategy rooted in its core Linux server operating system as the base upon which virtualization and cloud technologies are built. The latest piece of the puzzle is being announced today with the general availability of CloudForms, which enables management and deployment of applications to multiple clouds.
CloudForms was originally announced by Red Hat in May of 2011 as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) play. Bryan Che, Senior Director, Product Management and Marketing in the Cloud Business Unit at Red Hat, explained during a launch event today how CloudForms is a key piece of the cloud deployment strategy. With it, cloud automation can be achieved, enabling enterprises to manage and deploy across multiple clouds whether they are private or public.
At the heart of CloudForms are a number of open source projects that enable the multi-cloud access and control. The primary one is the Apache Deltacloud project that Red Hat began working on in 2009 as an abstraction layer for cloud management. With DeltaCloud at the core, any type of cloud deployment — be it on Amazon, VMware, OpenStack or otherwise — can be controlled.
Cloud control isn't just about the cloud instances as pieces of infrastructure, though. With CloudForms there is application control across the infrastructure, which provides enterprises with the ability to manage application lifecycle in the cloud. For example, if a company has an application they need to patch that runs locally with on-site servers as well as in the cloud, CloudForms can be leveraged for that process.
CloudForms and OpenStack
When CloudForms was originally announced, Red Hat was not officially part of the OpenStack open source cloud effort. In April of this year, Red Hat joined the OpenStack effort and revealed that they planned to build a commercial product. Currently, OpenStack is available in Red Hat's Fedora community Linux distribution.
Che explained that OpenStack is a target cloud that can be used for CloudForms, much like a VMware or Amazon cloud.
"CloudForms focuses on building and managing open hybrid clouds as well as managing applications in the cloud," Che said. "So one of the capabilities that you will see from Red Hat is the ability to stand up OpenStack, whether at a service provider or in your own data center, and then to manage that as part of your own infrastructure."