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OpenShift PaaS Roadmap for Enterprises Outlined by Red Hat

Red Hat said it plans to extend its platform as a service (PaaS) OpenShift operating environment to enterprises building private and hybrid clouds, according to an announcement made on Wednesday.

Red Hat's goal is to broaden the use of open source PaaS from early adopters -- so called "do it yourself" devops groups that have more autonomy to develop and deploy greenfield apps than many enterprises would like to see for mainstream line of business applications, where there are more IT operational controls in place.

Red Hat later this year will deliver fee-based OpenShift solutions that allow enterprises to build PaaS applications in a variety of languages and frameworks including Java Enterprise Edition, Spring, Ruby, Node.js and others. Red Hat will offer an enterprise edition of OpenShift built with its Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss Middleware and its assortment of programming languages, frameworks and developer tools, company officials said on a Webcast Wednesday.

Jay Lyman, a senior analyst at 451 Research, who was on the Red Hat Webcast, sized the PaaS market at $1 billion this year, a fraction of the $12 billion cloud market. Lyman said he sees the PaaS market growing to $3 billion by 2015. "PaaS is still in the very early stages," he said.

Red Hat last week released the OpenShift Origin code, which consists of the components of OpenShift, to the open source community. That, along with this week's announcement, set the stage for a battle between two considerably potent players, Red Hat and VMware, whose CloudFoundry open source PaaS effort has gained momentum in recent months.
Asked on the Webcast whether developers will have to choose one or the other, Scott Crenshaw, VP and general manger of Red Hat's cloud business unit said stakeholders will have to make a choice. "We applaud them [VMware] for joining us in leading the charge for an open PaaS. OpenShift and CloudFoundry are competitive and developers have to choose," he said.

In a follow-up interview with Lyman, he said it is too early to count out either effort. "At this point it will depend on whether you have more Red Hat or VMware infrastructure," Lyman said.

The consulting firm Accenture is emphasizing Red Hat's OpenShift with its clients. Adam Burden, Accenture's cloud apps and platform global lead, said the company has introduced OpenShift to its 40,000 Java developers, noting it was well-received and it didn't require much training.

"We are excited to see the rollout of this PaaS strategy, we've been looking forward to it for some time now," he said. "Many folks are anticipating a rapid adoption of PaaS and we think Red Hat is at the forefront of it." In a follow-up e-mail, I asked him if Accenture was focused just on OpenShift or if it was working with other PaaS platforms. “Our PaaS practice (actually we call it the Cloud Apps & Platform group) is absolutely building skills/capability on multiple PaaS platforms,” he said. “Among the different PaaS solutions we are working with are Cloud Foundry and OpenShift in addition to Force.com, Heroku, AWS, Google App Engine and others.”

Others believe CloudFoundry is a better bet than OpenShift. Bart Copeland CEO of PaaS provider ActiveState, which offers a private PaaS solution called Stackato, is among those who have picked CloudFoundry.

"Cloud infrastructure and middleware technologies are evolving, but we are still in early days in this space," he said in an e-mail. "ActiveState has committed to Cloud Foundry because it represents the best framework for Stackato, our application platform for creating a private PaaS using any language on any stack on any cloud."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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