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Initial Thoughts on the new Red Hat “PaaS”

by Yefim Natis  |  August 25, 2010  |  2 Comments

Red Hat announced “Red Hat PaaS” which is in fact a Red Hat “PaaS-builder technology” for private clouds and for new aspiring public cloud providers.

The key differentiators for this offering are:

  • 100% open-source
  • Near-comprehensive middleware technology suite (though component-parts are not all industry best-of-breed) — there is a Portal, ESB, AppServer, BPM technology, SOA registry, rules engine, plus plus, but not a DBMS
  • The “PaaS” can be built on a choice of underlying virtualization/OS/Hardware including an all-Red Hat stack, Amazon stack, Microsoft stack and other (over time)
  • The “Paas”, once deployed on one platform, can  be migrated to another without change to applications — this includes migration between private and public cloud deployments
  • The portability is also the basis for future support for cloud-bursting (running apps in private cloud and “bursting” onto public cloud VMs to add capacity to cover spikes in demand).  This capability though requires resolving the thorny issue of uninterrupted data access.
  • The entire approach is shared-hardware – a suitable model for migrating current workloads and current skills, however ISVs will find that managing/creating SaaS apps on top of Red Hat PaaS is much harder than doing same on, LongJump and other shared-everything PaaS.
  • The programming environment above (JBoss) is unchanged, so most existing Java/JavaEE apps can be migrated with minimal effort (that includes many WebLogic/WebSphere apps, not just JBoss apps). (minimal change also means limited cloud benefit — as with all shared-hardware offerings (such as Windows Azure))
  • Red Hat is not planning to be a provider of PaaS — only enabler of other people’s PaaS (for now)
  • Red Hat is ahead of IBM and Oracle in announcing a comprehensive cloud strategy

Initial thoughts on the announcement:

  • Red Hat shows vision in taking a comprehensive approach to their Cloud strategy (although the Cloud benefits at this stage are limited)
  • They exert industry influence, forcing Oracle and IBM to follow suit.
  • This is the first significant initiative where Red Hat Linux and Red Hat JBoss division act together and leverage each other’s capabilities – an important sign of successful integration of JBoss into Red Hat organization
  • Red Hat’s emphasis on Apache and standardization of IaaS APIs (Apache Deltacloud) is a credible and progressive move
  • Many Cloud providers prefer open source enabling technology because they are able to specialize it.  This is an important advantage Red Hat has that IBM and Oracle cannot beat.
  • However in real terms the new new in this announcement is only the “Cloud Engine” layer that plays two roles: (1) enabling portability to multiple underlying virtualization technologies and (2) managing the VMs on behalf of application instances (tenants).
  • The real delivery of this vision will take 12 months or more: the self-service management of the environment and the automatic scaling are the most important capabilities that seem to be missing or minimal in the first release.
  • How real this initiative is in delivering real cloud-enablement will depend on how good the “Cloud Engine” is.
  • The success will depend on Red Hat’s ability to attract customers that will make the Red Hat PaaS-enabling technology into a real PaaS.

What do YOU think?

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Yefim V. Natis
VP Distinguished Analyst
17 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Yefim Natis is a vice president and Gartner distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. Mr. Natis' research focuses on enterprise software infrastructure, including technologies such as application servers, cloud application platforms… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Initial Thoughts on the new Red Hat “PaaS”

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