Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) has built its' billion dollar business on the promise of being an open source vendor. It's a promise that they are now extending to the cloud.
A key part of being open in the cloud as is the case in every other segment of IT, is preventing vendor lock-in. One way that Red Hat is helping to prevent vendor lock-in is by way of the Deltacloud project which was started back in 2009. The project was moved to The Apache Software Foundation in 2010 as an incubated effort and now it has finally graduated to become a top level project.
Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager, Cloud Business Unit at Red Hat said during a press conference that Deltacloud becoming a top level Apache project is a significant milestone.
"It reflects the breadth of the project's community and the strong, fair governance model around the project," Crenshaw said. "While Deltacloud was originally started by Red Hat, it is now governed by a strong and independent community."
Deltacloud is an API for open clouds that enables software to interact with diverse cloud service providers. Crenshaw noted that the slogan for Deltacloud is: out of many clouds, one. As such, he stressed that Deltacloud is a foundation for an open cloud as it enables portability and seamless management of diverse infrastructure. The fact that Deltacloud is an Apache project is also important, as it proves that the open source effort is not an initiative controlled by a single vendor.
Red Hat is including Deltacloud as part of their in-development CloudForms Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform. Crenshaw explained that Red Hat takes the upstream Apache Deltacode project code and then tests and certifies the code, to ensure that it's ready for enterprise customers.
"There is no difference in the code between what is upstream and what we put in our product, there could other changes based on the point in time where we take the project," Crenshaw said. "But there is a huge amount of work that goes on for testing, certification and support between us and the entire ecosystem."
Is VMware Open?
Another component of Red Hat's open cloud idea is its participation in the Open Data Center Alliance which is a group of over 300 vendors. Among the vendors in the ODCA is Red Hat's virtualization rival, VMware. While Crenshaw emphasized that openness is important he also argued that just because VMware is in the ODCA, that doesn't mean they're open.
"I'm glad to see VMware participating in organizations that are trying to further the availability of more openness," Crenshaw said. "From my perspective, VMware will be open the day they open source vSphere and not until then."
In Chrenshaw's view, everything else before that is just marketing and window dressing.
"We applaud the fact that VMware is participating and making baby steps, but I wouldn't call it open."