The open source OpenStack cloud platform is the basis for a number of cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) distributions from different vendors. Enterprise Linux leader Red Hat is one such distribution vendor and is currently building out its first production release of Red Hat OpenStack Enterprise.
Red Hat's OpenStack distribution isn't just about the upstream project, though; it's also about integration with Red Hat's existing Linux platform tools.
"We're integrating with all our of our provisioning tools," Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens told Server Watch.
Steven noted that even in the regular Linux world, when customers are managing more than 50 systems, that's when they need automation systems to help with deployment, configuration and patching. Red Hat Satellite is the company's core tool for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) management today. The plan is to have OpenStack fit into the same model.
"So with Satellite you can configure OpenStack nodes whether they are Nova nodes or Swift nodes," Stevens said. "So the provisioning system that does RHEL will now do the complete system for OpenStack as well."
In Stevens view, OpenStack is not necessarily about being a net new technology but rather is an orchestration layer for compute. He noted that the compute stack is just RHEL together with the KVM hypervisor and an existing set of applications.
Red Hat also plans on bringing other components of its cloud strategy together with OpenStack. Among them is the OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technology as well as the CloudForms for cloud portability.
Stevens explained that with CloudForms, administrators get management tools for permissions and resource control as well as user quotas.
The next major release will be called Grizzly, although Red Hat is still figuring out how they plan on offering multi-year support for customers.
"If we put a customer in production on Folsom, what's the expectation now for support? Is it three years? Is it ten years?" Stevens said. "How do the customers transition to Grizzly and when do they have to do that?"
With the rapid cycle of innovation in OpenStack, answering the multi-year support question is not easy. In Steven's view, the challenge of multi-year support with a rapidly evolving OpenStack is similar to the early days of Linux back in 2002.
"It's just trying to figure out the right cadence for support," Stevens said. "Maintaining code comes at great cost, and you also have to have the support of the upstream development teams."