Red Hat heads into the clouds, not into an acquisition

Get over it people. Red Hat is not getting acquired anytime soon. I know, I know, you'd heard all the rumors. Here's the truth as I see it: If Red Hat gets acquired anytime soon, I'll eat my fedora. It's not happening.

What is happening, as Paul Cormier, EVP of Red Hat, announced this morning is that Red Hat spelled out more about its cloud strategy. Specifically, Red Hat has spelled out more about its Red Hat Cloud Foundations. Red Hat's plan is to provide companies with an infrastructure "capable of delivering an open source, flexible cloud stack, incorporating operating system, middleware and virtualization. Furthermore, this stack is designed to run consistently across physical servers, virtual platforms, private clouds and public clouds. Red Hat's comprehensive solution set enables interoperability and portability, recognizing that customers have IT architectures composed of many different hardware and software components from various vendors."

The take away from this, as I see it, is that Red Hat is focusing on making it possible to move seamlessly from one kind of cloud-say a private one on your own servers-to another-to a public cloud without tripping. As Gary Chen, IDC's research manager for enterprise virtualization software, said during the press conference, Red Hat is also working on open API (application programming interfaces) and interoperability. "Our research shows that 80 percent of enterprises cite the lack of interoperability standards as a challenge in adopting cloud computing services. With Cloud Foundations, Red Hat is on the right track with cloud by accelerating interoperability and portability to prevent cloud lock in," said Chen.

The sales point that Red Hat wants to make is that 1) they offer an entire cloud stack for customers, but 2) you're not locked into Red Hat's solution. Mind you, Red Hat thinks you'd be wiser in going with their comprehensive solution stack, but you won't be forced to stick with it if it turns out other components work better for you. I think CIOs and CTOs will find this very attractive. Right now, it is a lot of work to put together different bits and pieces of cloud technology into a working cloud. Red Hat's single vendor for your corporate cloud's lock, stock, and barrel is an attractive option.

Red Hat must be doing something right since DreamWorks Animation, makers of movies like the Shrek series and Kung Fu Panda are now using Red Hat cloud technology. In a statement, Derek Chan, head of Digital Operations for DreamWorks, said, "We've been collaborating with Red Hat for the past year to ensure the MRG (Messaging, Real-time) components of their Cloud Foundations meet our high end CG (computer graphics) animation requirements. DreamWorks is incorporating Red Hat's MRT Grid into its production pipeline beginning this year."

The most interesting statement of the entire press conference though was Cormier's comment that "There are only two companies that can deliver comprehensive cloud solutions: Red Hat and Microsoft." Microsoft? Microsoft!? Red Hat saying Microsoft is its only real competitor in delivering full cloud packages? Interesting. Very interesting.

But, please, no suggestions that this might mean Microsoft is planning on buying Red Hat! Again, there is no Red Hat acquisition plan in the works!

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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