Brian Stevens on Red Hat’s Involvement with OpenStack

Red Hat has been involved with OpenStack development for some time. Unlike the bulk of companies involved, however, Red Hat has gone about its work quietly and without “officially” joining the effort. Red Hat still isn’t saying exactly what it hopes to get from OpenStack contributions, but Brian Stevens did divulge a bit about the company’s involvement.

Stevens is Red Hat’s CTO and vice president of worldwide engineering. Right now, he says Red Hat has no “confirmed” product plans for OpenStack but the company is “just finding additive ways where we can get involved in the community and help move OpenStack forward.”

Even though Red Hat isn’t saying what its intent for OpenStack is, Stevens says that OpenStack is “highly complementary” to other projects and products in Red Hat’s portfolio.

With the recently released Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.0, we provide a community-backed solution (through the oVirt project) for enterprise-scale virtualization, which includes capabilities such as live migration, high availability and dynamic scheduling with support for both virtual servers and virtual desktops (VDI) in a single open platform.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux with integrated KVM, when combined with OpenStack, forms an interesting foundation for building enterprise or public IaaS clouds.

Our upcoming CloudForms solution will provide IT governance and lifecycle of application management across hybrid clouds including vSphere, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, and providers like AWS. Architecturally CloudForms sits above the IaaS layer.

Stevens also says that Red Hat is already seeing “early stage interest” in using OpenStack with RHEV and “in some cases are providing consultative support for our customers.”

Joining OpenStack?

RackSpace and the OpenStack community are currently thrashing out a plan to create a foundation around OpenStack. I asked Stevens if the company was involved in those discussions. Stevens says that the company has “publicly expressed some of our thoughts on how the governance for OpenStack could be modified to allow for, in our opinion, a meritocracy-based model that could result in an even more vibrant community.”

Stevens says that Red Hat would like to see a “lightweight and open” foundation, of which “there are many successful models in existence that could be emulated.” He pointed to the LibreOffice community, Apache/Hadoop, GNOME, and the Linux kernel community as examples of well-run communities.

Since Red Hat is already doing the hard part of actually contributing to OpenStack, why not actually take the step of joining officially? Stevens says that it’s more efficient.

“The way OpenStack has set things up, official joining is not a prerequisite to getting involved and helping,” says Stevens. “So instead of a press release, we chose to just roll up our sleeves. In some cases we find it more efficient to get involved in the actual technologies than in some of the commercial and marketing elements of open source efforts.”

Stevens says that it’s “early days” for OpenStack, but says that it’s “another example of collaborative open source development driving cloud innovation.”

The next OpenStack release is due on April 5th. It will be interesting to see which companies have put in the most to the Essex release, and how it turns out.

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