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Red Hat portal calms enterprise private cloud nerves

Not everyone is ready for the cloud. Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure 5 offers one path for cagey enterprises to step into private cloud.

Red Hat will offer a central cloud portal to give enterprise customers who remain apprehensive about a cloud migration...

a new entry point into private cloud.

Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI) 5, released this week, allows enterprises to build and manage a private cloud infrastructure as a service based on existing data center virtualization and management. It also gives enterprises the ability to migrate workloads into a public cloud, whether on Red Hat's Linux-based OpenStack or a major cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services.

Unified cloud management under the Red Hat umbrella will likely appeal most to current Red Hat customers that want to retain security and management benefits through a private cloud, analysts said.

RHCI 5 offers a single subscription service that includes CloudForms, an open hybrid cloud management that allows IT to deploy, monitor and manage cloud across virtualization environments and public, private and hybrid clouds. In addition, the subscription includes Red Hat Satellite, which provides lifecycle management for physical infrastructure and tenant workloads.

"Lifecycle management is a cloud management product that Red Hat needed to provide one-stop shopping for its customer base," said David S. Linthicum, vice president at Cloud Technology Partners in Boston. "Red Hat does not want customers leveraging other vendors, and now they don't have to."

Enterprises can also manage Linux and Windows workloads under the Red Hat suite with RHCI, although "enterprise virtualization technology is really just table stakes these days," Linthicum added.

Will RHCI lead to a public cloud?

Whether enterprises will use RHCI as an entry into a public cloud remains to be seen. Most companies prefer a major vendor such as Amazon Web Services, rather than Red Hat's more complex OpenStack.

I suspect most customers will eventually mix this with non-OpenStack public cloud offerings
David S. Linthicumvice president of Cloud Technology Partners

Awareness and interest in OpenStack remains high, but the enthusiasm comes mostly from vendors, service providers and startups. Few enterprises have IT staff properly trained in complex Linux technologies, and the learning curve is steep.

"I suspect most customers will eventually mix this with non-OpenStack public cloud offerings," Linthicum said. 

Red Hat's commitment to OpenStack remains significant, and it will only continue to push out OpenStack-directed cloud stacks, Linthicum added. But there also are many companies perfectly content to remain in a private cloud rather than migrating workloads to a public cloud.

"Companies may start by testing specific pieces of software in a public cloud, but when that project becomes strategic, they're more inclined to a private cloud," said Judith Hurwitz, president and CEO at Hurwitz & Associates, a research firm in Needham, Mass.

When a workload supports a lot of users, an enterprise needs to pay a premium to have someone else manage it, so they will look to do it in-house.

"As a company expands the service, they start looking at the economics of a public cloud," Hurwitz said. "So if a company really expands its usage, that price per hour, month or year starts to add up."

RHCI pricing is a yearly subscription model based on the number of socket pairs in each server that hosts virtual machines. RHCI with unlimited Linux guests costs $5,175 per socket pair per year for standard support and $6,575 for premium support. RHCI without unlimited Linux guests costs $2,991 for standard support and $3,791 for premium support.

About the author:
Adam Hughes is the news editor for the Data Center and Virtualization media group. He can be reached via email at ahughes@techtarget.com or on Twitter at @AdamHughesTT.

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Will you consider RHCI 5 as your central cloud portal?
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RHCI 5 now makes it easier to move forward in the cloud, from private to public and it looks like there are a number of cost savings to be had. However, the downside is still the amount of technical expertise you need, OpenStack is still quite daunting. There is of course the option of just diving into the more commercial AWS, but as a gut feeling, I always feel I trust Red Hat more.
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