Red Hat’s Crashing the Cloud Party

It seems that the team at Red Hat are finally figuring out their cloud computing strategy as they are set to release a new cloud application-building platform on May 3rd at the Red Hat Summit in Boston.  While Red Hat has been enjoying robust revenue growth, it has been primarily driven by the adoption of their Enterprise Linux products.  However, rather than rest on their laurels, Red Hat has quietly acquired and integrated key pieces to build enter the cloud market.

What does Red Hat have?

Operating System

  • Red Hat has a proven operating system that is both reliable and saleable across both enterprises and service providers.  Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a favorite amongst application vendors of all sizes.


  • In 2008, Red Hat acquired Qumranet and gained control of the creators of the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor.  KVM is a powerful hypervisor that offers greater performance than their rivals and supports native x86 virtualization.  As an added bonus, KVM is supported by the likes of OpenStack, Nimbula, Eucalyptus, Puppet Labs, Cloud.com, and Opscode.


  • In 2006, Red Hat acquired the open-source middle ware company Jboss.  The Jboss portfolio includes a complete set of products that is widely adopted and enterprise class.  From a web application platform to hibernate to a complete developer’s studio, JBoss has it all.

Cloud Application Platform

  • In 2010, Red Hat acquired Makara that enables them to deploy, manage, monitor, and scale Java/PHP applications within a public or private cloud.  This gives Red Hat a true Platform as a Service play and while posing an interesting challenge to VMware’s SpringSource.

Project Ceylon

  • Red Hat is developing a new programming language based on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).  Ceylon is reducing the frustrations around the development of Java applications while building on the best parts of Java itself.

By combining these solutions and projects into a new cloud application platform, Red Hat instantly becomes a force within the cloud while playing in both the commercial and open-source worlds.  I’d expect this to be a key differentiator against VMware and their Cloud Foundry project.

Red Hat has the chance to become a cloud heavyweight if they can execute on a clear vision, acquire a few more cloud focused technologies to fill-in potential product gaps, and maintain their open source and commercial software credentials.  Both Microsoft and VMware should take note that Red Hat’s not “asleep at the wheel."

Image Credit: sgetliffe



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