On Monday, January 18, Red Hat announced the availability of Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7 (JBoss EAP 7) in Beta. JBoss EAP 7 marks the modernization of Red Hat’s commercial, open source Java EE application server for development environments that increasingly feature “containers, microservices architectures, and cloud environments.” JBoss EAP 7 delivers high availability clustering courtesy of an integration with WildFly Application Server 10. As a certified Java EE 7 application server, JBoss EAP 7 supports Java SE 8 and boasts developer enhancements such as batch tooling, which render it easier for developers to manage batch jobs. JBoss EAP also boasts a low-memory footprint optimized for cloud-based environments such as Red Hat’s OpenShift platform. JBoss EAP 7 further enhances developer productivity with an upgraded management console that expedites access to data about system and application performance, in addition to an enriched command line interface that empowers administrators to view configuration details. All told, Monday’s Beta release of JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7 marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of Red Hat’s Java EE application servers given JBoss EAP 7’s optimization for container and cloud infrastructures as well as its support for DevOps methodologies and continuous integration practices. By supporting containers and cloud environments, Red Hat affirms the centrality of Java EE to contemporary application development by providing customers with tools to embrace cutting edge technologies and architectures while nevertheless preserving the value of customer investments in existing applications and their associated environments. JBoss EAP 7 can be downloaded here.
Microsoft and Red Hat have reached a monumental agreement that enables hybrid cloud users to more easily deploy Red Hat solutions on the Microsoft Azure cloud. As a result of the collaboration, Microsoft has designated Red Hat Enterprise Linux the preferred vendor for Linux workloads on Microsoft Azure. Enterprise customers who want to use RHEL on Azure can now do so with the blessing of Microsoft’s support for RHEL on the Azure platform. In other words, customers can now deploy RHEL on Azure in ways analogous to the deployment of RHEL on Amazon Web Services. To enable this partnership, Red Hat will designate Microsoft Azure one of Red Hat’s Certified Cloud and Service Providers in upcoming weeks and meanwhile, Microsoft Azure customers can leverage Red Hat’s application platform such as Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Gluster and Red Hat’s Platform as a Service, OpenShift.
The collaboration between Microsoft and Red Hat further includes enterprise-grade support for hybrid cloud environments marked by the participation of support personnel from both vendors to ensure that customers obtain the support they need. The partnership also features unified workload management within hybrid cloud infrastructures enabled by the integration of Red Hat CloudForms and Microsoft Azure and the ability of System Center Virtual Machine Manager to manage RHEL on Microsoft Azure. Moreover, the collaboration includes the ability to use .NET on Red Hat products and solutions in ways that expand the ability of developers to write .NET applications on Linux applications. Whereas previously developers often had to re-write .NET applications to use them on Linux, they can now use RHEL as the principal development platform for Linux.
All told, the agreement between Microsoft and Red Hat continues to illustrate Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s commitment to partnering with vendors in contrast to Microsoft’s historical stance of failing to integrate with vendors and potential competitors. More importantly, the announcement illustrates Microsoft’s commitment to supporting hybrid cloud environments and its willingness to support RHEL on Azure, not only at a technological level but also at the level of integrated enterprise-grade support. All this illustrates how Microsoft is putting its eggs in the cloud basket as it attempts to consolidate its relationships with enterprises and reputation for delivering enterprise-grade products and services in anticipation of an intensification of the battle for cloud market share with Amazon Web Services. Microsoft’s strategy of focusing on rendering hybrid cloud deployments using Azure more flexible goes right to the heart of CIO considerations regarding enterprise IT cloud adoption and stands to position Azure strongly, particularly given the prevalence of RHEL within the enterprise. Expect Microsoft to continue deepening its partnership and cloud-related acquisitions as it puts the cloud first and stakes out its contention as the world’s premier cloud provider for the enterprise.
Red Hat today announces the release of Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.2, the storage platform that Red Hat acquired in April 2014. Inktank Ceph delivers object and block storage for cloud storage use cases, with a specific focus to date on storage solutions for OpenStack deployments. Today’s release features the addition of erasure coding functionality that allows customers to more cost effectively store replicas of storage objects by using a mathematical technique that transforms an object defined by k variables into n variables, where n > k. Erasure coding breaks data into constituent components and subsequently delocalizes the fragments across different storage platforms in a way that circumvents the necessity of storing exact replicas of the storage objects in question. The addition of erasure coding reduces the cost of storage per GB, thereby rendering Inktank Ceph more affordable for customers that have massive amounts of structured or unstructured data. Additionally, Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.2 features Cache Tiering functionality that moves hot data to high performance storage devices when needed, and cold data to lower performance devices. With today’s release, Inktank Ceph embraces a range of use cases over and beyond storage solutions for OpenStack deployments such as the storage of massive amounts of unstructured data for customers with high volumes of document-based, textual or media content. Inktank Ceph also supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5 and thereby allows Red Hat to deliver an integrated OpenStack solution based on technology from one vendor. In conjunction with enhancements to Calamari, the platform’s management console, Inktank Ceph 1.2 positions itself as a cost-effective storage platform that is able to manage an increasing variety of customer use cases.
Today, Red Hat announced a partnership with Google that allows Red Hat customers to transfer Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) licenses from on-premise workloads to Google’s cloud platform. The partnership builds upon Google’s acceptance into the Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider program in November 2013 whereby Google, like other Red Hat Certified Cloud Providers, was certified by Red Hat as “a trusted destination for Red Hat customers, independent software vendors (ISVs), and partners to use Red Hat technologies on public clouds.” Red Hat has certified 29 Red Hat Certified Cloud Providers including the likes of Amazon Web Services, Autonomic Resources, IBM, Savvis, Tier 3, Verizon Terremark and Virtustream in addition to Google, to date. With today’s news, however, Google becomes only the second Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider to enjoy the Red Hat Cloud Access-enabled partner designation alongside Amazon Web Services. Red Hat Cloud Access-enabled partners such as Google can offer their customers a “bring your own subscription” (BYOS) model that enables them to transfer RHEL subscriptions from on-premise environments to Google’s Compute Engine platform. The announcement of Google’s graduation to the status of Red Hat Cloud Access-enabled partner represents a huge coup for Google Compute Engine (GCE), which recently slashed prices and announced product enhancements that elicited a corresponding price cut from Amazon Web Services, within days. GCE customers now have enhanced flexibility with the deployment of their RHEL licenses in relation to on-premise and public cloud deployments and can more easily create hybrid cloud infrastructures. More importantly, today’s announcement is likely to accelerate public cloud adoption amongst enterprises by transforming the economics of porting RHEL licenses from on-premise to public cloud environments such as Google Compute Engine.
Today, Piston Cloud announces the release of version 3.0 of its enterprise-grade OpenStack-based platform for building Infrastructure as a Service cloud environments. Piston OpenStack version 3.0 features improvements in storage, networking, orchestration, diagnostics and monitoring. Piston prides itself on the ability of its platform to integrate with a wide array of hardware, PaaS, storage, networking and orchestration vendors and as such, boasts one of the most flexible turnkey commercial OpenStack solutions in the market today. The announcement of the release of version 3.0 comes in conjunction with news of Piston OpenStack’s production-grade usage by Intelemage, a medical image sharing solutions vendor.
Highlights of Piston OpenStack 3.0 include:
•Multi-tier storage pools with fine-grained configuration parameters that deliver enhanced performance.
•An expanded range of compatibility with software defined networking vendors such as Juniper Contrail, PLUMgrid, and VMware NSX.
•The ability to use Piston’s orchestration platform, Moxie RTE™, for third party services and applications
•Enhanced tools for cluster management and dashboard monitoring of the IaaS infrastructure.
Taken together, version 3.0’s announcements underscore Piston’s commitment to delivering a truly turnkey solution that supports integrations with third party vendors in an effort to simplify the platform’s installation on the part of customers that have pre-existing SDN networking or storage vendors of choice. Meanwhile, Piston OpenStack 3.0 continues to impress by way of its hyper-converged architecture that integrates “virtualized compute, storage, and network capabilities” into each and every server by means of the collaboration between the micro-OS and the Moxie RTE as illustrated below:
The graphic of Piston’s architecture illustrates how the Piston OpenStack solution differs from a configuration where each host has one, full fledged operating system. Instead, the solution boasts a transient, minimalist, Linux-based, “Iocane micro-OS” that operates at the server level. The micro-OS provides “containers, network namespaces, resource limiting and network traffic shaping to Moxie RTE™” such that the Moxie RTE, multi-server run-time environment can manage all of the processes specific to the server-level micro-OS. As a result, IT administrators who confront defective servers or hardware can remove them from the run time environment without losing data or compromising application uptime because of the infrastructure’s distributed architecture. Piston co-founder and CTO Joshua McKenty famously surmised the status of physical servers within the landscape of Piston OpenStack using the metaphor of puppies and cows as follows:
The servers in today’s data center are like puppies – they’ve got names and when they get sick, everything grinds to a halt while you nurse them back to health. Piston Enterprise OpenStack is a system for managing your servers like cattle – you number them, and when they get sick and you have to shoot them in the head, the herd can keep moving. It takes a family of three to care for a single puppy, but a few cowboys can drive tens of thousands of cows over great distances, all while drinking whiskey.
Here, puppies represent the traditional data center environment that attempts to remediate problems specific to a server or hardware more generally, whereas the cattle are illustrative of an environment that allows for hardware to be disposed of as necessary, with no harm to the larger infrastructure. In a subsequent blog post, McKenty notes that cattle need to roam, and that they can do so only in the context of “a common host orchestration environment” represented by the MoxieRTE. Piston’s unique distributed operating system architecture in conjunction with a minimalist, micro-OS that avoids the hassles of OS installation, configuration and management means that its customers can focus on monitoring the health of the infrastructure without applying patches, updates and fixes to an OS.
Intelemage, a leader in medical image sharing solutions, today announces its use of Piston for its private IaaS platform. Whereas Intelemage had previously dedicated significant time to deploying and managing servers and their attendant infrastructures, with Piston it has reduced deployment time “down to seconds.” Meanwhile, both the news of the release of Piston OpenStack 3.0 as well as the Intelemage announcement come in the wake of remarkable exchange between Piston and Red Hat whereby Red Hat rescinded Piston’s sponsorship of its upcoming Red Hat Summit. As reported in a Register exclusive, Red Hat cancelled Piston’s sponsorship, refunded the $13,000 sponsorship fee and subsequently overturned its cancellation and waived Piston’s sponsorship fee by way of apology. The reasons for Red Hat’s cancellation of Piston’s sponsorship are not immediately clear, although one possibility is because Piston reportedly beat Red Hat in the contest for a large OpenStack contract, details of which have yet to be disclosed.
The only certainty, here, is that Piston’s reputation in the market for commercial OpenStack solutions is skyrocketing alongside the emergence of a brand name known for high performing, scalable, easy to use platform that can more than more than bear its weight against larger IaaS and virtualization players such as Red Hat, Ubuntu and VMware. After years of preparation, the commercial OpenStack space finally appears ripe enough for intense competition as key players step up and differentiate themselves from the pack. With version 3.0, Piston appears poised to go toe to toe with the likes of Red Hat, HP, Dell, IBM and Cloudscaling if not surpass them altogether with superior technology. The next six months will be critical for the commercial OpenStack space given that the market finally appears ready to explore solutions on a wider scale than previously. Expect Piston to be at the forefront of the commercial OpenStack land grab, particularly in light of its relationship with Pivotal and the Cloud Foundry-OpenStack integration project.
Red Hat today revealed details the general availability of OpenShift Enterprise 2, the next version of its on premise, polyglot, private PaaS platform. The foundation of the product is OpenShift Origin, Red Hat’s open source PaaS product that undergirds its suite of OpenShift Platform as a Service products. In addition to OpenShift Origin, OpenShift Enterprise 2 leverages Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform. Red Hat’s OpenShift suite of products supports application development in Java, Ruby, Node.JS, Python, PHP and Perl. Since its launch in November 2012, Red Hat has presided over four releases of OpenShift Enterprise marked by the addition of more than 45 new features including tighter integration with OpenStack and datacenter integration functionality. Meanwhile, the battle for private PaaS market share, and the direction of the PaaS space more generally, evolves and takes shape with a depth and sophistication that merits a dedicated reflection on the PaaS space, unto itself. Apprenda brands itself as the only true enterprise private PaaS vendor in the industry today, although Red Hat’s OpenShift Enterprise 2 and Pivotal One will be attempting to change and challenge that proposition as rapidly as possible with their respective private PaaS offerings. OpenShift Enterprise 2 will be generally available as of December 11.
Amazon Web Services Continues To Increase IaaS/PaaS Market Share According To Synergy Research Group
A recent article by the Synergy Research Group (Synergy) claims that Amazon Web Services continues to dominate the IaaS and PaaS space in terms of revenue. According to Synergy, Amazon Web Services increased its quarterly revenue by 55% to over $700M in Q3 of 2013, whereas the aggregate of revenue for Salesforce, IBM, Windows Azure and Google was less than $400M for the same time period. Worldwide, total IaaS and PaaS revenues exceeded $2.5 billion for the quarter, with IaaS accounting for 64% of cloud revenues, a surprisingly small proportion given the limited penetration of platform as a service within the enterprise. Synergy Research’s John Dinsdale remarked on the company’s findings as follows:
We’ve been analyzing the IaaS/PaaS markets for quite a few quarters now and creating these leadership metrics, and the relative positioning of the leaders really hasn’t changed much. While Amazon dwarfs all competition, the race is on to see if any of the big four followers can distance themselves from their peers. The good news for these companies and for the long tail of operators with relatively small cloud infrastructure service operations, is that IaaS/PaaS will be growing strongly long into the future, providing plenty of opportunity for robust revenue growth.
Here, Dinsdale remarks that the “race is on to see if” Salesforce, IBM, Microsoft and Google can decisively secure second place in the battle for IaaS/PaaS market share. Strikingly, Microsoft, Google and IBM have revenues that are very close to one another, even though one might reasonably expect Microsoft’s Azure platform to edge out its competition given its earlier entry into the market than IBM and Google’s Compute Engine (GCE). That said, IBM’s sizeable IaaS revenue derives largely from its acquisition of SoftLayer, which itself had a rich and venerable history that predated IBM.
Synergy’s chart illustrating Q3 IaaS and PaaS revenues is given below:
Notable omissions from the findings include Rackspace, HP, Oracle, Pivotal One and Red Hat, the middle three of which (HP, Oracle and Pivotal One) are still relatively nascent, and hence justifiably excluded from the present calculation. As Dinsdale notes above, however, “the good news for these companies” and for remainder of the space is that revenues are set to increase significantly in the near term. Going forward, one of the key questions for subsequent IaaS market share analyses will be whether OpenStack’s momentum and gradual maturation propels disproportionate growth amongst OpenStack-based cloud platforms for vendors such as HP, IBM, Oracle, Rackspace and Red Hat.