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How Red Hat Plans to Conquer the Enterprise PaaS Space

To meet the opposition and give the enterprise what it wants Red Hat has been evolving its OpenShift PaaS

Red Hat claims that the enterprise isn't using these newfangled platforms-as-a-service to develop software very much because they don't meet its needs.

The enterprise is worried about compliance, enterprise architecture standards, IT governance, security, application lifecycle management, application development methodologies, organizational and process restrictions, data and compute locality and privacy restrictions. Itches other people's PaaSs don't scratch according to Red Hat.

Ah, but analysts like 451 Research say the enterprise PaaS market could be worth $3 billion by 2015, a mere three years away, and surpass the SaaS market. And then there's Red Hat's great enemy VMware with its new Cloud Foundry open source PaaS.

So to meet the opposition and give the enterprise what it wants Red Hat has been evolving its OpenShift PaaS, which it put out for as a developer preview a year ago.

Red Hat says a PaaS should orchestrate and automate most of the use cases involving web applications written in well-known languages and frameworks and give users speed in deployment, reducing the time they spend working on tasks not directly related to applications and customers.

As you can see Red Hat is throwing everything it's got into the effort including Red Hat Storage, JBoss Enterprise Middleware and integrated programming languages, frameworks and developer tools.

Red Hat figures it's got VMware beat dead to rights because the OpenShift widgetry has three features VMware doesn't have: An open source operating system that powers some of the world's biggest clouds; a rich appdev and middleware platform; and built-in two-tier multi-tenancy support in its Linux distribution so enterprises can run multiple application instances on a single VM securely.

Of course, it's still has to get the enterprise to bite so it's planning to offer OpenShift pretty much any way the enterprise can consume it:

As a hosted cloud service that Red Hat manages;

A so-called ITOps service - based on OpenShift with Red Hat CloudForms as its foundation - that the enterprise's IT people manage in-house to control their applications and infrastructure;

A DIY DevOps model the developer uses to deploy and manage applications via a public PaaS solution at openshift.redhat.com or a private PaaS solution with OpenShift on-premise;

And a self-managed offline service that the developer can use on his laptop.

Red Hat figures to have a fee-based version of OpenShift available this summer that has its full support and includes AutoOps for migrating legacy apps to the cloud and as well as a supported DevOps. It said OpenShift will deploy on a variety of cloud and virtualization providers. What those fees will be it hasn't said yet.

Red Hat's strategy is to provide a consistent environment for both public clouds and on-premise data centers. Its roadmap extends OpenShift so enterprises can use both a DevOps model and traditional application management methodologies.

It doesn't hurt that, besides supporting emerging development languages such as Node.js, OpenShift was the first PaaS to support Java EE 6 and offer comprehensive lifecycle support for Java in the cloud. 451 Research claims "this is key for enterprises looking to scale, automate and treat software as services, not only for new applications and development, but also for their large legacy investment, infrastructure and process around existing applications."

Last month Red Hat also open sources the OpenShift code through the OpenShift Origin project and, as it happens, Origin can run on top of the OpenStack open source cloud platform good for public, private and hybrid PaaS systems.

Oh, and Accenture is in Red Hat's corner. It's been working with 52 of the Fortune 100 on cloud strategies. PaaS appears to be the next gambit.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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