VMware vs. Red Hat: Whose PaaS will rule?

In this week's episode of Cloud Cover TV, the PaaS Master at Red Hat talks about why his company has better credentials than VMware for the Platform as a Service game.

We discuss:

  • The differences between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) at Red Hat
  • Where are the enterprise developers on PaaS?
  • What applications are being developed on PaaS?
  • Red Hat OpenShift versus VMware Cloud Foundry
  • Owning the whole cloud stack
  • Microsoft's advantage in the cloud platform world

Read the full transcript from this video below:

VMware vs. Red Hat: Whose PaaS will rule?

Jo Maitland: Hello. Welcome to Cloud Cover TV, our weekly show
on all the juiciest news in the cloud computing market. I'm Jo Maitland,
here in San Francisco. This week I have Isaac Roth from Red Hat on the
show with me. He's here in the studio with me. Hi, Issac.

Issac Roth: Hey.

Jo Maitland: Welcome to Cloud Cover TV.

Issac Roth: Thanks for having me.

Jo Maitland: The big news this week in the open source, Linux, cloud world is
Ubuntu's decision to go with Open Stack versus Eucalyptus. You're obviously
really deep in this part of the market. I'm curious to get your thoughts on
that. Why they might have decided to do that? What do you think?

Issac Roth: I hate to start off this way, but that's infrastructure as a
service. I really don't know that much about it. I'm working in the
platform as a service world. Platform as a service goes on top of
infrastructure as a service. We keep track of these things, but as
far as we're concerned they're all great.

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm.

Isaac: Open Stack guys, cool. Eucalyptus - It's nice that there are so
many innovative projects, but why somebody would choose one over other,
I'm not really sure.

Jo Maitland: So that's the sort of provisioning layer.

Issac Roth: Yeah. You need to provision virtual machines, storage, network
and Infrastructures as a service gives you a way to do that. Everybody knows
this, but just to rehash, as platform as a service, when you're writing
not like you want to write a service as a platform, but that's what we do,
we write a platform as a service you don't want to configure networks. You
want to say, "I need a load balance." or "These are the machines that I'm
loading across." or "I need to move an IP because I had a failure." or "I
need three new VMs because I'm going to auto scale my application." You
just want to call an API for that. You don't want to have to go dig down
into the storage and figure out how to re-provision everything. That's what
the schedulers and the infrastructures as a service thing like Open Stack
and Eucalyptus, Red Hat launched one too called Cloud Forms. Which ever one
you're using, that's what its for. It has policy and all kinds of things to
take care of that.

Jo Maitland: Mm-hmm. Will your platform as a service just run on the Cloud
Forms infrastructure? Or Does it run on other infrastructures?

Issac Roth: Red Hat platform is a service that we just launched. It actually is
a service, so it uses Cloud Forms technology underneath, but the user
doesn't really see it. You just come to our service and you deploy code,
which is what you do in a platform as a service. You don't really see
what's underneath. I'll tell you, underneath we're using some Cloud Forms
technology, which is also open source. It has Delta Cloud in it. It has a
bunch of open source projects. Many, many open source projects like Condor.
We're just using that under the covers. The developer doesn't see it. We
could switch it out if we wanted to.

Jo Maitland: Mm-hmm. VMware has Cloud Foundry, and they talk about it being
able to run on any infrastructure or you can use Cloud Foundry as a platform
as a service, and they take care of infrastructure for you. Is that something
Red Hat might do, actually sell the platform as a service software for
people that want to run it in-house?

Issac Roth: Yeah, that's true. At some point we will open source Open Shift,
which is the name of this platform as a service from Red Hat. Then you
could run it on top of an infrastructure as a service. Which one we'll
support? I know we'll support Cloud Forms, because that's the one that
we're based on today. It itself, Cloud Forms, can operate on top of VMware,
HyperV and KDM, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization so it already has some
choice. It also operates on top of public clouds. Amazon EC2, and there are
some others coming online. We're going to take advantage of that. Right now
Open Shift is only public cloud so we're just using the cloud form stuff that
talks to the public clouds.

Jo Maitland: I talked with James Staton from Forrester Research this morning.
I was chatting to him about the PaaS market place. He estimated that Red
Hat was about nine months behind VMware and other players in the PaaS
market. Microsoft has been out there with Azure for over a year now. There's
a lot of established PaaS service. What's taking Red Hat so long?

Issac Roth: Well, they didn't have anything.

Jo Maitland: Right.

Issac Roth: They had a bunch of internal projects, they knew they were behind,
they went and acquired my company Makara. They put me and the team that
came with Makara in charge of coming out with something. We are behind Azure,
in terms of timing. Azure has been out in the market and app engine has
been out in the market for a long time.

Jo Maitland: For years.

Issac Roth: As far as functionality, I think the two leading products right now
are Cloud Foundry and Open Shift. If you look at the broadness of the
offering and the completeness of the offering. Makara was a very complete
solution. It was three years old. It's a very mature solution in much the
same way that Horoku was a very mature solution.

Jo Maitland: Uh-huh.

Issac Roth: It's very, very broad. Open Shift, which we just launched, supports
Python, PHP, Ruby and Java EE. It has some really new, cool things in it.
It's the only one out there for major vendors supporting Java EE. It's the
only and first one supporting Java CDI. It has the broadest platform out
there. I think Cloud Foundry is also very exciting. You've got two new ones
that just came out in the last month or so, that are really a lot more
advanced than the other stuff that's been out there.

Jo Maitland: Talk about some of the applications that have been developed
on the Red Hat PaaS service. Every bodies gone at PaaS now. Increasingly,
more of them are supporting more and more languages. Most of the apps though
just seem to be mobile, gaming, social networking. Where's the big business
application? I haven't seen a single business application yet.

Issac Roth: It's funny. There are some, but nobody wants to talk about them.

Jo Maitland: That just means if I'm a developer, I'm still not interested. I don't
want to be the first person to get in here and risk my career by building
something in a service that isn't necessarily going to reach enterprise

Issac Roth: If you look at Amazon, for years everybody was asking, "Where's
the enterprise use cases?" Secretly it’s happening. They still won't talk about
it. Nobody will talk about the fact that they're using Amazon but, if you
go ask the analyst, or if you have an inside connection somewhere, you'll
find out there are huge companies using Amazon for all kinds of stuff. It's
the same on the platform as a service. Open Shift is only a week old, but
even in the first week we've got some pretty serious applications on there
from some major companies. Consumer finance, banking, insurance and stuff
like this, even government organizations but, they don't want you talking
about it. It's the same thing with Amazon if you look back two years ago.
All they could talk about were these social media sites because the people
running them were OK with that being talked about.

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm.

Issac Roth: The big enterprises, maybe the IT department doesn't even know what’s
happening. If they do, they don't want anyone knowing about it. You have to
go through all these people that don't want that talked about. I know not
only on our platform as a service, but on the competitor offerings, they're
enterprise apps out there. They're not the corporate ERP system.

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm. So what are people building? Give me an idea.

Issac Roth: An example is captive portals. That's the idea behind you run a
promotion on a brand new product or something. Let's say you’ve got a new
insurance offering, and you need a site that captures all the people that
are looking at the promotions for that, whether it's online promotions or
advertising on television or magazines. You put some URL in there that will
take you to this micro site. That micro site is called a captive portal.
That's going to handle all the lead generation. Maybe doing quoting, maybe
doing profile matching for whether people qualify for this new product or
putting them into some registration system.

We've got a couple of those running on Open Shift. I've seen a couple of
things that are similar to that. Where it's not quite just a lead generator
but it's also hooking in to some kind of registration system and including
people in some sort of work flow. That's an example of the kind of things
that make a lot of sense to put. I see why people are doing that. It's
somewhat isolated, it doesn't have to talk to too many back end systems,
it's appropriate for the public cloud, and it needs the auto scaling
capabilities of platform as a service. You don't know how many people are
going to respond to it, so you put up just a small site and then it will
auto scale if it needs to. Another thing that is out there is mobile apps.
A lot of people use mobile apps. It's the back end. Obviously it's not the
part that runs on the screen...

Jo Maitland: Device. Yeah.

Issac Roth: It's the back end of the mobile app. Those also are public facing.
They need to be on the public internet and they need to auto scale. We get
the back ends of a lot of mobile apps. I think that's where the enterprise
people are starting.

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm.

Issac Roth: Of course, you have social media and gaming, start ups, media kinds
of stuff. Those also may get a big hit, so they're going to auto scale.

Jo Maitland: Right. Do you see the entrenched enterprise applications, the Oracles,
the SAPs, are we going to see somebody build a cloud based database
application that is suddenly going to take over the market? Or is it going
to be new kinds of applications that we don't have yet in the business

Issac Roth: Probably. If the pattern we're seeing so far is true, it's going to be new
applications. That goes along with the move to SAAS. As people are moving
these functionality to SAAS, then that SAAS is written on top of platform as
a service. That will be on the public internet. It may be hooked in to some
backend system. There are VPN bridges we can do that will hook you in so
you can get access to a corporate database. A SOA BUS that you might need
to communicate with certain systems of record, or other back ends systems.
But, I don't see why anyone would take their data warehouse or their Oracle
financials and move that into a platform as a service. I mean, it works.
Why mess with it?

Jo Maitland: Right.

Issac Roth: The problem that everyone has is that they've got a back log of 300
new applications that they want to develop. They don't have time,
infrastructure or resources to develop this application. That's the perfect
application of platform as a service. All you need is one or two
developers, maybe five, however many your development team is. They can
just go into the platform as a service, write their code, deploy and not
worry about anything operationally and let the operations resources be
taken up by this stuff that's already running in the data center.

Jo Maitland: Mm-hmm.

Issac Roth: I think in the short term, until every ones ready to outsource their
operations for their core systems into the cloud, which realistically
nobody want to do right now.

Jo Maitland: Nobody is going to do. Yeah.

Issac Roth: It's about this back log of hundreds of new applications that people
want to accomplish. They want to automate. Frankly, I think that's
exciting. That's where you’re getting better ROI.

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm.

Issac Roth: Reducing the operational cost on some existing system that already
been operationally managed down, OK, maybe you can get another 10% or 15%
out of that. But, automating an entirely new process that's not automated
now, your ROI on that is several hundred percent. That's much more

Jo Maitland: When people are picking a platform as a service, how much do they need
to worry about the infrastructure underneath supporting that? We just saw
the big outage with Amazon a couple of weeks ago. Red Hat is not a service
provider, the company sells open source and support around open source
software. How do I know that Red Hat as a service provider, even VMware as
a service provider, has the skill set and has the mentality as business, to
be able to support a service? It's a very different kind of a company.

Issac Roth: Yeah. Agree. I think that's a pretty interesting question and a
transition in the market. The reason that Red Hat decided to go into
platform as a service, is because they realized they had that expertise. If
you think about it, Red Hat is the people that everyone calls when they
can't get their Linux servers to work. Most of the world is running on
Linux now. They're the back line support for almost every bodies IT
department. They have this incredible operational experience. They're
delivering security patches to most of the Linux servers in the world.
They're delivering security Erota, they're delivering updates, they're
maintaining a million or more Linux servers through this network called Red
Hat Satellite that delivers patches and things.

They've got a tremendous experience with up time, with patch delivery, with
security updates, with operational need and so when they realized that they
thought, "Oh, that's kind of interesting. What if we offered that expertise
as a service?" So, the folks that are operating Open Shift actually come
from the teams that were running Red Hat Satellite and Red Hat's other
online services that people depend on. They got access to the folks that
write Linux. Underneath Open Shift is Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm.

Issac Roth: That's a pretty important competitive differentiators for us. We
based the thing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That allows us to deliver
patches and have security that's really reliable so you're not going to get
hacked in some way. It allows us to deliver isolation and auto scaling. The
folks that are maintaining it, they can walk literally down the hall and
consult with someone who wrote SE Linux, which how we do security
isolation. They can talk to somebody who wrote C Groups, which is how
we do quotas and management. That kind of capability is something you don't
have in your in house IT department. We have that in house so we thought,
'Oh, it makes a lot of sense. Lets offer this as a service.' But, what Red Hat
is not good at is operating data centers. We don't have data centers, we
don't do that.

Jo Maitland: Right.

Issac Roth: We operate Linux.

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm.

Issac Roth: We are using partners to do that.

Jo Maitland: Who are those partners?

Issac Roth: We're not operating a data center that's running Open Shift. We're
partnering with Red Hat certified cloud providers. The first one is Amazon,
Amazon EC2. There's this great partnership between the certified cloud
providers and Red Hat. A lot of people don't know this, but there are
update servers inside these clouds to deliver updates in a timely fashion
and a scalable way. There's all kinds of back end relationships that go on
between the technical teams to make sure things operate properly. These
clouds are built on Red Hat technology.

Jo Maitland: Right. AWS runs Red Hat.

Issac Roth: Red Hat. Yeah.

Jo Maitland: Does that mean I can build applications in Open Shift on top of EC2?

Issac Roth: Yeah.

Jo Maitland: OK.

Isaac: Today when we launched, EC2 is our only certified cloud provider. We
do intend to have quite a few more.

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm

Issac Roth: That's something where....

Jo Maitland: Who though? Obviously Rack Space is fully behind the Open Stack and
that community. Citrix is big in VMware. When you talk about other
providers, it seems like a lot of these players are already sewn up.

Issac Roth: Well, I want to save that one for when we announce it. There are
quite a few out there that are not sewn up and I think the providers have the
idea that they don't want to be exclusive. They're not just going to be a
VMware shop or and Open Stack shop. Some are...

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm.

Issac Roth: ...because they feel they can get operational efficiency. Others
want to run whatever they can to help their customers and get the work
loads that they think are important. But, there are some really important
cloud providers that are already part of the Red Hat certified cloud
providers program that we were able to leverage. Importantly, we have an
intimate and deep relationship with these providers so that we can
guarantee that SOA and that level of reliability. One of the things that's
really unique about Red Hat and the platform as a service space is, besides
Microsoft, we're the only company that has full stack expertise, knowledge
and support. From hyper visor through operating system, middle ware and
frame work. You need all of that. That's what being offered as a service in
platform as a service. If you can't stand behind it and support it but since
we're not operating the data centers, we have to have a very intimate
relationship with the people who are. The people who are operating data
centers, they're not experts in frameworks. None of them are framework
vendors. That's very important with this collaboration.

Jo Maitland: There's still a long degree of separation there obviously. Other people
will argue, Microsoft especially, that you do need to own the whole stack.

Issac Roth: Yeah.

Jo Maitland: HP is saying, 'We're going to need to own the whole stack.' That's why
they're going to get into the infrastructure as a service space and
eventually the platform as a service space. According to the CO, the only
way to actually enable the kind of seamless ability to consume the
resources is to be the provider of the whole thing.

Issac Roth: You have to be able to support the whole thing.

Jo Maitland: Right.

Issac Roth: The trouble is, to be the provider of the whole thing, you really
have to own all the pieces. I don't know how they're going to do that. Yes,
Microsoft, from framework to operating system to the cloud itself. Kudos to
those guys. They have the whole thing. They're the only ones. We've got the
whole stack except for operating the data centers. The next best thing. I'm
not sure what you do. There aren't that many popular frameworks out there.
Developers are writing to Ruby on Rails or Java EE or CBI. You have to be
able to support the whole thing. There aren't that many operating systems.
There aren't that many frame works. To think that you can go buy your way
in and own the whole thing is a little crazy. You're going to have to form

Jo Maitland: Hm-hmm. We'll see then what they do.

Issac Roth: Yeah. Maybe they're going to buy up everybody. I don't know.

Jo Maitland: Yeah. I wouldn't be surprised. Cool. Thank you so much for coming in Isaac.

Jo Maitland: Yeah.

Issac Roth: Cheers. Thank you.

Jo Maitland: Thanks.

Jo Maitland: This has been Cloud Cover TV. Thank you for watching. Tune in next
week for more insider news on the cloud computing market.

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