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Red Hat Expands PaaS-Based Developer Tools

Red Hat has introduced a new cloud offering for developers that could emerge as an open source alternative to Microsoft's Windows Azure PaaS-based service. The company also launched new software to enable infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

The company debuted its new platform-as-a-service product called OpenShift and its CloudForms software at the Red Hat Summit-JBossWorld conference in Boston last week.

OpenShift supports Red Hat's JBoss middleware, and is designed for four languages: Java, Ruby, PHP and Python. For storage it supports SQL and NoSQL data stores, as well as a distributed file system.

"That gives us one of the broadest Platform as a Service offerings out there," said Matt Hicks, Red Hat's cloud computing guru, speaking during a press briefing at the conference. "Really, when you talk about languages and persistence, it's at a low level. We wanted to incorporate all of the frameworks that go along with that. We want to make sure this stuff looks familiar to developers because we don't want them to have to rewrite their code just to move to the cloud."

OpenShift comes in three versions, according to a company FAQ:

  1. Express, aimed at Ruby, PHP and Python applications delivered in a shared-hosting environment, is free.

  2. Flex, intended for Java Enterprise Edition and PHP apps, can be deployed on JBoss or Tomcat and is intended for developers who want more control than they would get with the Express version.

  3. Power offers developers the most control at the operating system configuration level.

"Power gives you complete control down to the root system level, in the cloud, of your application's configuration," said Issac Roth, Red Hat's PaaS master. Express and Flex are in beta now, but Power is not yet available for testing.

"We are offering levels going from fully automated [but] not as much control, to lots of control with less automation, for the different kinds of developers and the different kinds of applications that are appropriate to the cloud," Roth said.

Meanwhile, Red Hat also took the wraps of its CloudForms application lifecycle management software that lets organizations build private and hybrid IaaS clouds using Red Hat's JBoss.

CloudForms supports automation, offers application management tools aimed at bringing sophisticated apps to the cloud, and includes different infrastructure services aimed at helping organizations build up capabilities such as making data persistent in a cloud or transferring data in and out of a cloud using the middleware's messaging infrastructure, according to Bryan Che, Red Hat's senior director of product management and marketing.

"CloudForms fundamentally revolutionizes Infrastructure as a Service by introducing so many more capabilities that enterprises need," Che said. "For example, because Red Hat supports the Deltacloud API as part of our compute resource management, we will be able to support resource management across every part of your IT infrastructure, whether it's physical systems, your choice of virtualization technology and your choice of public cloud providers. So you can bring the benefits in abstraction and automation that cloud provides across your entire IT organization with your choice of providers and vendors."

Available in beta now, CloudForms is scheduled for release this fall.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is executive editor, features, for Redmond Developer News. You can contact him at [email protected].

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