Red Hat Launches OpenStack Distro, Partner Network

Red Hat on Monday announced a new community-supported distribution of OpenStack running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Fedora, and their derivatives, called "RDO."

The Raleigh, N.C.-based company made the announcements yesterday morning in a Web press conference from the OpenStack Design Summit, underway this week in Portland, Ore.

RDO is an "enterprise packaging" of OpenStack for RHEL, Fedora and other enterprise Linux rebuilds that will track upstream to get features into the hands of developers and end users quickly, said Brian Stevens, CTO of the company's Worldwide Engineering group. The freely available community distribution plays a key role in Red Hat's product lifecycle, Stevens said. "It's how we take upstream technology, get it into the hands of millions, and then subsequently create relationships with tens of thousands of customers under subscription," he said.

RDO offers a "pure upstream experience," Stevens said, meaning it provides the latest stable releases from ready to deploy on Red Hat platforms. It comes with core OpenStack components, including Nova, Glance, Keystone, Cinder, Quantum, Swiftm and Horizon. It also includes the incubating projects Heat, for cloud application orchestration, and Ceilometer, for resource monitoring and metering. Red Hat is also including an installation tool called PackStack, which it developed for the RDO package.

OpenStack is made up of several interrelated projects focused on delivering various components for a cloud infrastructure solution. As the community website describes it, the project aims to deliver "solutions for all types of clouds by being simple to implement, massively scalable, and feature rich." More than 180 companies participate in the OpenStack project, including AMD, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, HP, Intel, and Microsoft.

The company also announced the formation of the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network, which it describes as a "multi-tiered program designed for third-party commercial companies that offer hardware, software, and services for customers to implement cloud infrastructure solutions powered by Red Hat OpenStack." The group will focus on "building a robust ecosystem" around Red Hat's OpenStack distro and cloud infrastructure technologies.

Although OpenStack is maturing rapidly, it's not yet ready for broad-based enterprise adoption yet, said Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of Red Hat's virtualization group. The establishment of an ecosystem gives customers a "stable set of bits," and it reassures them that the technology is not backed only by Red Hat.

"It's important that Red Hat creates an ecosystem around OpenStack to make sure that hardware, software, and services partners have a framework to operate with us," Balakrishnan said.

Partners can participate in the network at three levels: OpenStack Premier, which offers "unique and enterprise-ready partner integration with Red Hat OpenStack technologies; OpenStack Advanced, which offers "certified technical compatibility" with Red Hat OpenStack components; and OpenStack Ready, which offers a "base-level" compatibility with Red Hat OpenStack.

The initial partner list includes Cisco, Intel and Mirantis.

Red Hat also announced that its OpenStack distro has graduated from a preview version to an early adopter program based on the community's "Folsom" release of the cloud software.

Red Hat announced its intention to "fully embrace" OpenStack in 2011 as part of the company's core cloud capabilities. With the Folsom release, Red Hat became the second top corporate code contributor to the project; with the "Grizzly" release in April, the company became the leading developer of the project.

More information on the RDO community is available here. Details of the partnership network are also posted online.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].