Tag Archives: IaaS

Scalable Infrastructure

In a previous post I outlined the common problems organizations face across both their traditional IT environments (sometimes called mode-1) and new emerging IT environments (sometimes called mode-2). These included:

  • Accelerating the delivery of services in traditional IT Environments to satisfy customer demands
  • Optimizing traditional IT environments to increase efficiency
  • Creating new development and operations practices for Emerging IT environment to  innovate faster
  • Delivering public-cloud like infrastructure that is scalable and programmable

I’d like to show you a quick demonstration of how Red Hat is delivering scalable infrastructure with the capabilities that enterprises demand. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform delivers scale-out private cloud capabilities with a stable lifecycle and large ecosystem of supported hardware platforms. Many organizations are building their next generation cloud infrastructures on OpenStack because it provides an asynchronous architecture and is API centric allowing for greater scale and greater efficiency in platform management. OpenStack does not, however, provide functionality such as chargeback, reporting, and policy driven automation for tenant workloads and those projects that aspire to do so are generally focused solely on OpenStack. This is not realistic in an increasingly hybrid world – and enterprises that are serious about OpenStack need these capabilities. By using Red Hat CloudForms together with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform it’s possible to provide capabilities such as reporting, chargeback, and auditing of tenant workloads across a geographically diverse deployment. In the demo below I demonstrate how chargeback across a multi-site OpenStack deployment works.

I hope you found this demonstration useful!

P.S. – If you are a Red Hatter or a Red Hat Partner, this demonstration is available in the Red Hat Product Demo System and is named “Red Hat Cloud Suite Reporting Demonstration”.

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Optimizing IT

In a previous post I outlined the common problems organizations face across both their traditional IT environments (sometimes called mode-1) and new emerging IT environments (sometimes called mode-2). These included:

  • Accelerating the delivery of services in traditional IT Environments to satisfy customer demands
  • Optimizing traditional IT environments to increase efficiency
  • Creating new development and operations practices for Emerging IT environment to  innovate faster
  • Delivering public-cloud like infrastructure that is scalable and programmable

I’d like to show you a quick demonstration of how Red Hat is helping optimize traditional IT environments. There are many ways in which Red Hat does this, from discovering and right sizing virtual machines to free up space in virtual datacenters, to creating a standard operating environment across heterogeneous environments to reduce complexity. In this demonstration, however, I’ll focus on how Red Hat enables organizations to migrate workloads to their ideal platform. In the demonstration video below you’ll see how using tools found in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform in conjunction with automation and orchestration from Red Hat CloudForms it’s possible to migrate virtual machines in an automated fashion from VMware vSphere to either RHEV or Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. Keep in mind, these tools assist with the migration process, but need to be designed for your specific environment. That said, they can greatly reduce the time and effort required to move large amounts of virtual machines once designed.

I hope you found this demonstration useful!

P.S. – If you are a Red Hatter or a Red Hat Partner, this demonstration is available in the Red Hat Product Demo System and is named “Red Hat Cloud Suite Migration Demonstration”.

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Accelerating Service Delivery Demonstration

In a previous post I outlined the common problems organizations face across both their traditional IT environments (sometimes called mode-1) and new emerging IT environments (sometimes called mode-2). These included:

  • Accelerating the delivery of services in traditional IT Environments to satisfy customer demands
  • Optimizing traditional IT environments to increase efficiency
  • Creating new development and operations practices for Emerging IT environment to  innovate faster
  • Delivering public-cloud like infrastructure that is scalable and programmable

I’d like to show you a quick demonstration of how Red Hat is helping accelerate service delivery for traditional IT environments. Developers or line of business users request stacks daily to create new services or test functionality. Each of these requests results in lots of work being done by operations and security teams. From creating virtual machines, to installing application servers, and even securing the systems – these tasks take time away from valuable resources that could be doing something else (like building out the next generation platform for development and operations). There are many solutions that exist for automating the deployment of virtual machines or the applications inside of the virtual machines, but Red Hat is uniquely positioned to automate both of these. By leveraging Red Hat CloudForms in conjunction with Red Hat Satellite it is possible to create a re-usable description for your application that can be automatically deployed via self-service with governance and controls across a hybrid cloud infrastructure. In the demonstration below we show the self-service automated deployment of a wordpress application consisting of HAProxy, 2 WordPress application servers, and a MariaDB database across both VMware vSphere and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.

P.S. – If you are a Red Hatter or a Red Hat Partner this demonstration is available in the Red Hat Product Demo System under the name “Red Hat Cloud Suite Deployment Demo”.

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Here is the Presentation that Thomas, Chris, and I presented today at the OpenStack Meetup in Sunnyvale. Thanks to the folks at Walmart Labs for hosting us!

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A Technical Overview of Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI)

I’m often asked for a more in-depth overview of Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI), Red Hat’s fully open source and integrated Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering. To that end I decided to write a brief technical introduction to RHCI to help those interested better understand what a typical deployment looks like, how the components interact, what Red Hat has been working on to integrate the offering, and some common use cases that RHCI solves. RHCI gives organizations access to infrastructure and management to fit their needs, whether it’s managed datacenter virtualization, a scale-up virtualization-based cloud, or a scale-out OpenStack-based cloud. Organizations can choose what they need to run and re-allocate their resources accordingly.


RHCI users can choose to deploy either Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) or Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (RHEL-OSP) on physical systems to create a datacenter virtualization-based private cloud using RHEV or a private Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud with RHELOSP.

RHEV comprises a hypervisor component, referred to as RHEV-H, and a manager, referred to as RHEV-M. Hypervisors leverage shared storage and common networks to provide common enterprise virtualization features such as high availability, live migration, etc.

RHEL-OSP is Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution that provides massively scalable infrastructure by providing the following projects (descriptions taken directly from the projects themselves) for use on one of the largest ecosystems of certified hardware and software vendors for OpenStack:

Nova: Implements services and associated libraries to provide massively scalable, on demand, self service access to compute resources, including bare metal, virtual machines, and containers.

Swift: Provides Object Storage.

Glance: Provides a service where users can upload and discover data assets that are meant to be used with other services, like images for Nova and templates for Heat.

Keystone: Facilitate API client authentication, service discovery, distributed multi-tenant authorization, and auditing.

Horizon: Provide an extensible unified web- based user interface for all integrated OpenStack services.

Neutron: Implements services and associated libraries to provide on-demand, scalable, and technology-agnostic network abstraction.

Cinder: Implements services and libraries to provide on-demand, self-service access to Block Storage resources via abstraction and automation on top of other block storage devices.

Ceilometer: Reliably collects measurements of the utilization of the physical and virtual resources comprising deployed clouds, persist these data for subsequent retrieval and analysis, and trigger actions when defined criteria are met.

Heat: Orchestrates composite cloud applications using a declarative template format through an OpenStack-native ReST API.

Trove: Provides scalable and reliable Cloud Database as a Service functionality  for both relational and non-relational database engines, and to continue to improve its fully-featured and extensible open source framework.

Ironic: Produces an OpenStack service and associated python libraries capable of managing and provisioning physical machines, and to do this in a security-aware and fault-tolerant manner.

Sahara: Provides a scalable data processing stack and associated management interfaces.

Red Hat CloudForms, a Cloud Management Platform based on the upstream ManageIQ project, provides hybrid cloud management of OpenStack, RHEV, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere, and Amazon Web Services. This includes the ability to provide rich self-service with workflow and approval, discovery of systems, policy definition, capacity and utilization forecasting, and chargeback among others capabilities. CloudForms is deployed as a virtual appliance and requires no agents on the systems it manages. CloudForms has a region and zone concept that allows for complex and federated deployments across large environments and geographies.

Red Hat Satellite is a systems management solution for managing the lifecycle of RHEV, RHEL-OSP, and CloudForms as well as any tenant workloads that are running on RHEV or RHEL-OSP. It can be deployed on bare metal or, as pictured in this diagram, as a virtual machine running on either RHEV or RHEL-OSP. Satellite supports a federated model through a concept called capsules.

CloudForms is a Cloud Management Platform that is deployed as a virtual appliance and supports a federated deployment. It is fully open source just as every component in RHCI is and is based on the ManageIQ project.

One of the key technical benefits CloudForms provides is unified management of multiple providers. CloudForms splits providers into two types. First, there are infrastructure providers such as RHEV, vSphere, and Microsoft Hyper-V. CloudForms discovers and provides uniform information about these systems hosts, clusters, virtual machines, and virtual machine contents in a single interface. Second, there are cloud providers such as RHEL-OSP and Amazon Web Services. CloudForms provides discovery and uniform information for these providers about virtual machines, images, flavors similar to the infrastructure providers. All this is done by leveraging standard APIs provided from RHEV-M, SCVMM, vCenter, AWS, and OpenStack.


Red Hat Satellite provides common systems management among all aspects of RHCI.

Red Hat Satellite provides content management, allowing users to synchronize content such as RPM packages for RHEV, RHEL-OSP, and CloudForms from Red Hat’s Content Delivery Network, to an on-premises Satellite reducing bandwidth consumption and providing an on-premises control point for content management through complex environments. Satellite also allows for configuration management via Puppet to ensure compliance and enforcement of proper configuration. Finally, Red Hat Satellite allows users to account for usage of assets through entitlement reporting and controls. Satellite provides these capabilities to RHEV, RHEL-OSP, and CloudForms, allowing administrators of RHCI to maintain their environment more effectively and efficiently. Equally as important is that Satellite also extends to the tenants of RHEV and RHEL-OSP to allow for systems management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux  (RHEL) based tenants. Satellite is based on the upstream projects of Foreman, Katello, Pulp, and Candlepin.


The combination of CloudForms and Satellite is very powerful for automating not only the infrastructure, but within the operating system as well. Let’s look at an example of how CloudForms can be utilized with Satellite to provide automation of deployment and lifecycle management for tenants.

The automation engine in CloudForms is invoked when a user orders a catalog item from the CloudForms self-service catalog. CloudForms communicates with the appropriate infrastructure provider (in this case RHEV or RHEL-OSP pictured) to ensure that the infrastructure resources are created. At the same time it also ensures the appropriate records are created in Satellite so that the proper content and configuration will be applied to the system. Once the infrastructure resources are created (such as a virtual machine), they are connected to Satellite where they receive the appropriate content and configuration. Once this is completed, the service in CloudForms is updated with the appropriate information to reflect the state of the users request allowing them access to a fully compliant system with no manual interaction during configuration. Ongoing updates of the virtual machine resources can be performed by the end user or the administrator of the Satellite dependent on the customer needs.


This is another way of looking at how the functional areas of the workflow are divided in RHCI. Items such as the service catalog, quota enforcement, approvals, and workflow are handled in CloudForms, the cloud management platform. Even still, infrastructure-specific mechanisms such as heat templates, virtual machine templates, PXE, or even ISO-based deployment are utilized by the cloud management platform whenever possible. Finally, systems management is used to provide further customization within the operating system itself that is not covered by infrastructure specific provisioning systems. With this approach, users can separate operating system configuration from the infrastructure platform thus increasing portability. Likewise, operational decisions are decoupled from the infrastructure platform and placed in the cloud management platform allowing for greater flexibility and increased modularity.


Common management is a big benefit that RHCI brings to organizations, but it doesn’t stop there. RHCI is bringing together the benefits of shared services to reduce the complexity for organizations. Identity is one of the services that can be made common across RHCI through the use of Identity Management (IDM) that is included in RHEL. All components of RHCI can be configured to talk to IDM which in turn can be used to authenticate and authorize users. Alternatively, and perhaps more frequently, a trust is established between IDM and Active Directory to allow for authentication via Active Directory. By providing a common identity store between the components of RHCI, administrators can ensure compliance through the use of access controls and audit.


Similar to the benefits of shared identity, RHCI is bringing together a common network fabric for both traditional datacenter virtualization and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models. As part of the latest release of RHEV, users can now discover neutron networks and begin exposing them to guest virtual machines (in tech preview mode). By building a common network fabric organizations can simplify their architecture. No longer do they need to learn two different methods for creating and maintaining virtual networks.


Finally, Image storage can now be shared between RHEV and RHEL-OSP. This means that templates and images stored in Glance can be used by RHEV. This reduces the amount of storage required to maintain the images and allows administrators to update images in one store instead of two, increasing operational efficiency.


One often misunderstood area is around what capabilities are provided by which components of RHCI.  RHEV and OpenStack provide similar capabilities with different paradigms. These focus around compute, network, and storage virtualization. Many of the capabilities often associated with a private cloud include features found in the combination of Satellite and CloudForms. These include capabilities provided by CloudForms such as discovery, chargeback, monitoring, analytics, quota Enforcement, capacity planning, and governance. They also include capabilities that revolve around managing inside the guest operating system in areas such as content management, software distribution, configuration management, and governance.


Often organizations are not certain about the best way to view OpenStack in relation to their datacenter virtualization solution. There are two common approaches that are considered. Within one approach, datacenter virtualization is placed underneath OpenStack. This approach has several negative aspects. First, it places OpenStack, which is intended for scale out, over an architecture that is designed for scale up in RHEV, vSphere, Hyper-V, etc. This gives organizations limited scalability and, in general, an expensive infrastructure for running a scale out IaaS private cloud. Second, layering OpenStack, a Cloud Infrastructure Platform, on top of yet another infrastructure management solution makes hybrid cloud management very difficult because Cloud Management Platforms, such as CloudForms, are not designed to relate OpenStack to a virtualization manager and then to underlying hypervisors. Conversely, by using a Cloud Management Platform as the aggregator between infrastructure platforms of OpenStack, RHEV, vSphere, and others, it is possible to achieve a working approach to hybrid cloud management and use OpenStack in the massively scalable way it is designed to be used.


RHCI is meant to complement existing investments in datacenter virtualization. For example, users often utilize CloudForms and Satellite to gain efficiencies within their vSphere environment while simultaneously increasing the cloud-like capabilities of their virtualization footprints through self-service and automation. Once users are comfortable with the self-service aspects of CloudForms, it is simple to supplement vSphere with lower cost or specialized virtualization providers like RHEV or Hyper-V.

This can be done by leveraging the virt-v2v tools (shown as option 1 in the diagram above) that perform binary conversion of images in an automated fashion from vSphere to other platforms. Another approach is to standardize environment builds within Satellite (shown as option 2 in the diagram above) to allow for portability during creation of a new workload. Both of these methods are supported based on an organization’s specific requirements.


For scale-out applications running on an existing datacenter virtualization solution such as VMware vSphere RHCI can provide organizations with the tools to identify (discover), and move (automated v2v conversion), workloads to Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform where they can take advantage of massive scalability and reduced infrastructure costs. This again can be done through binary conversion (option 1) using CloudForms  or through standardization of environments (option 2) using Red Hat Satellite.


So far I have focused primarily on the integrations between the components of Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure to illustrate how Red Hat is bringing together a comprehensive Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution, but RHCI integrates with many existing technologies within the management domain. From integrations with configuration management solutions such as Puppet, Chef, and Ansible, and many popular Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) as well networking providers and IPAM systems, CloudForms and Satellite are extremely extensible to ensure that they can fit into existing environments.


And of course, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux forming the basis of both Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform leading to one of the largest ecosystems of certified compute, network, and storage partners in the industry.

RHCI is a complete and fully open source infrastructure-as-a-service private cloud. It has industry leading integration between a datacenter virtualization and openstack based private cloud in the areas of networking, storage, and identity. A common management framework makes for efficient operations and unparallelled automation that can also span other providers. Finally, by leveraging RHEL and Systems Management and Cloud Management Platform based on upstream communities it has a large ecosystem of hardware and software partners for both infrastructure and management.

I hope this post helped you gain a better understanding of RHCI at a more technical level. Feel free to comment and be sure to follow me on twitter @jameslabocki

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Red Hat’s Open Approach for PaaS

Ogg Version


Platform-as-a-Service, or PaaS, solutions in public clouds are flexible and fast, and can meet growing business demand. However, public PaaS lacks needed privacy and compliance features. OpenShift Enterprise by Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, and Red Hat CloudForms use an open approach for PaaS. Red Hat customers enjoy agile development, with greater availability, scalability, and control over their infrastructure.

OpenShift Enterprise utilizes a multi-tenant cloud architecture that streamlines application service delivery. Developers are free to choose the right tools and focus on what they do best—writing code. With OpenShift Enterprise, language runtimes are standardized and open. Code, once written, is widely deployable while other PaaS providers use proprietary hooks that limit portability.

OpenShift Enterprise is built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux—the same software handling millions of dollars daily in trades and analysis. Red Hat Enterprise Linux supports all major hardware platforms and thousands of applications. It provides portability between physical systems, virtual machines, and private, public, and hybrid clouds.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux runs best on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization uses the powerful and ubiquitous Kernel-based Virtual Machine (or KVM) hypervisor and oVirt, a virtualization management platform. Both KVM and oVirt are successful open source projects led by Red Hat. KVM has achieved industry-leading virtualization performance benchmarks and the highest government security certification.

While Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is the best foundation for running Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenShift Enterprise, Red Hat believes that a truly open hybrid cloud must be portable across all resources.

CloudForms provides resource and systems management for hybrid Infrastructure as a Service clouds. By abstracting resources and creating application blueprints, system administrators can deploy OpenShift Enterprise across supported providers, update underlying instances of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and track systems—all through a self-service portal. This leaves developers free to focus on projects that provide business value.

OpenShift Enterprise, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, and Red Hat CloudForms can improve performance, scalability, and reliability for enterprise cloud deployments–without relying on proprietary lock-in or hooks that restrict development and flexibility. Red Hat solutions are a strategic choice for organizations looking to achieve an open hybrid cloud.

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The Synthesized Cloud: Hybrid Service Models

Today, Red Hat focuses on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Often, when speaking with organizations about a cloud opportunity I find myself asking questions to find out the appropriate service model for the customer.

“Do you want to just bring your code?”
“Would you like to access the operating system and perform optimizations?”
“How do you feel about kernel semaphores?”

OK, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. The answers to these questions often help me determine which one of the models, and thereby solutions, to recommend for the situation. With regards to IaaS, Red Hat will soon be providing it’s Cloud and Virtualization Solution – A combination of virtualization and cloud management software that provides the benefits of a cloud computing model with all the underlying virtualization required. For PaaS Red Hat offers OpenShift Enterprise, a solution designed for on-premise or private cloud deployment which automates much of the provisioning and systems management of the application platform stack.

The Synthesized Cloud

Taking a step back, what is the purpose of having separate and distinct cloud computing models? Why couldn’t the models be combined to allow organizations to use elements of each based on their needs? One of the benefits of cloud computing is the ability for organizations to reach the highest level of standardization possible while increasing reuse. If this is the case, then it should be a goal to provide organizations with the ability to utilize not just a hybrid cloud, but a hybrid service model – one in which elements of IaaS could be combined with elements of a PaaS. By realizing a synthesis of IaaS and PaaS service models organizations could leverage the benefits of cloud computing more widely and realize the benefits even in what are often considered legacy, or traditional applications. Cloud Efficiencies Everywhere is, after all, a goal of Red Hat’s Open Hybrid Cloud. I’ll refer to this combining of IaaS and PaaS into a single service model as the synthesized cloud and I believe it is critical to realizing the full potential of cloud computing.

Why not just use PaaS?

Most organizations I have met with are extremely interested in PaaS. They find the increase in developer productivity PaaS can offer very attractive and the idea of “moving the chalk line” up to have developers bringing code instead of hardware descriptions as very exciting. PaaS is great, no doubt about it, but while PaaS can accelerate delivery for Systems of Engagement, it often does not account for systems of record and other core business systems. There is evidence that supports the idea that organizations are shifting from systems of record to system of engagement, but this is not a shift that will happen overnight and in some cases, systems of record will be maintained alongside or complimented with systems of engagement. Beyond systems of record, there are technologies that exist at the infrastructure layer that can be exposed to the platform layer that might not yet be available in a PaaS (think Hadoop, Condor, etc). In time, some of these technologies might be moved into the PaaS layer, but we likely continue to see innovation happening at both the infrastructure and platform services model layers. In short, IaaS finds its fit in both building new applications that require specific understanding of the underlying infrastructure (networks, storage, etc) and as the foundation for hosting a PaaS and consequently will always be important in organizations. For these reasons it’s important to leave our service model open and flexible while simultaneously having a single way to describe and manage both models.

Use the Correct Mix

The ability to use both platform and infrastructure elements is critical to maintaining flexibility and evolving to an optimized IT infrastructure. Red Hat is well positioned to deliver the synthesis of Infrastructure and Platform service models. This has as much to do with the great engineering work and strategic decisions being made by Red Hat engineers as it does the open source model’s propensity to drive modular design.

Some points to consider:

  1. OpenShift Enterprise, Red Hat’s PaaS, runs on Infrastructure (specifically, Red Hat Enterprise Linux).
  2. Thousands of other applications run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).
  3. Application Blueprints provide sustainable, reusable descriptions of any software running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  4. Red Hat CloudForms can deploy Application Blueprints to a number of underlying resource providers.

Since Application Blueprints can deploy any software running on RHEL and OpenShift Enterprise is software running on RHEL we can deploy a Platform as a Service alongside traditional applications running on RHEL.


Figure 1: Combining PaaS and IaaS

Figure 1 depicts the use of an Application Blueprint to deliver a hybrid service model of IaaS and PaaS. During Design Time, a Developer and System Architect work together to design the Application Blueprint. This involves using CloudForms to define and build all the necessary images that will serve as the foundations for each element in the AppForm (a running Application Blueprint). CloudForms allows the System Architect and Developer to build all these images with the push of a button and tracks all the images at each provider. In this case, a single PaaS Element and two IaaS Elements were described in the Application Blueprint.

The design process also allows the System Architect and Developer to associate hardware profiles to each of the images, and specify how the software that runs on the images should be configured upon launch. Finally, user parameters can be accepted in the Application Blueprint, to allow for customization when the Application Blueprint is launched by it’s intended end user. The result of designing an Application Blueprint is a customizable reusable and portable description of a complete application environment.

Once the Application Blueprint is designed and published to a catalog, users or developers are able to launch the Application Blueprint, the result of which is an AppForm at Run Time. The running AppForm can contain both a PaaS and a mix of IaaS elements and CloudForms will orchestrate the configuration of the two service models together upon launch according to the design of the Application Blueprint.

An Example

Imagine an organization has a legacy Human Resources system of record which is a client server model built on Oracle RDBMS. Over time, they’d like to shift this system to a system engagement in order to make it more engaging for their employees. They’d also like to begin providing some data analysis via MapReduce to select individuals in the Human Resources department. In this case, replacing the system of record with a completely new system of engagement is not an option. This may be because of the cost associated with a rewrite or the fact that there are many back end processes that tie into the Oracle RDBMS that cannot be easily changed.


Figure 2: Example Scenario

In this example, the Application Blueprint is designed to include an OpenShift PaaS which delivers a scalable, manged application platform (Tomcat in this case) and both a Oracle RDBMS and Hadoop. Once the Application Blueprint is launched users or developers can access this entire environment and begin working. This goes beyond gaining increased developer efficiency at just the platform layer – it drives many of the efficiencies of PaaS across the Infrastructure as well.

Further Benefits of a Hybrid Service Model

There are many other benefits to this synthesis of PaaS and IaaS service models. One other I’d like to explore is it’s effect on system testing. With a hybrid service model, not only do developers have access to all the qualities of both PaaS and IaaS in a single description that is portable, but the Application Lifecycle Environment framework contained within CloudForms along with it’s ability to automatically provision both PaaS and IaaS can be leveraged to lay the foundation for a governed DevOps model. This provides greater efficiency in testing, accelerating delivery of applications, while allowing for control over important aspects of both the Infrastructure and Platform layers.

Figure 3: Governed DevOps

Figure 3: Hybrid Service Model leading to Governed DevOps

Figure 3 illustrates how the Hybrid Service Model allows for a governed DevOps model to be implemented. Before the hybrid service model, developers needed to request the required IaaS elements in order to complete a system test. This process is often manual and time consuming. With a hybrid service model in place, upon commit of new code to the source control system, the continuous integration systems contained within the PaaS layer can request a new test environment be created that includes the required IaaS elements for system testing. This greatly reduces the time required to test, and in turn, accelerates application delivery.

How do I get started?

Organizations can begin to prepare for a Hybrid Service Model by ensuring that all decisions made in their IT organization regarding cloud computing adhere to the properties of a truly open cloud. Namely that the technologies the cloud strategy they pursue:

  • Is Open Source
  • Has a viable, independent community
  • Embraces Open Standards
  • Allows freedom of Intellectual Properpty
  • Allows choice of infrastructure
  • Has open APIs
  • Enables portability

Red Hat’s Open Hybrid Cloud adheres to the following properties. To learn more about how Red Hat is optimizing IT with it’s Open Hybrid Cloud approach be sure to register for the Optimizing IT Virtual Event which takes place on December 5th, 2012 at 11:00AM EST and December 6th, 2012 at 9:00AM EST.

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Accelerating IT Service Delivery for the Enterprise

If you find this post interesting and would like to learn more about how Red Hat’s cloud solutions are optimizing IT be sure to register for the Optimizing IT Virtual Event which takes place on December 5th, 2012 at 11:00AM EST and December 6th, 2012 at 9:00AM EST.

Organizations are continually seeking ways to accelerate IT service delivery in order to deliver greater business value while simultaneously increasing flexibility, consistency, and automation while maintaining greater control.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides organizations faster delivery of applications to their stakeholders by automating many of the routine tasks associated with application development and providing standardized runtimes for applications. This results in developers being able to focus on writing code rather then performing mundane tasks that do not add value.

OpenShift is Red Hat’s PaaS. OpenShift provides access to a broad choice of languages and frameworks, developer tools, and has an open source ecosystem which gives voice to the community and partners who work with Red Hat on OpenShift. Languages and Frameworks in OpenShift are delivered as cartridges and OpenShift provides the ability to extend cartridges to include customized cartridges. Finally, and perhaps most importantly for the purposes of our topic today, OpenShift leverages Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the underlying operating system in delivering PaaS. This is important not only because Red Hat Enterprise Linux is highly certified and has a proven track record for handling mission critical workloads, but because Red Hat Enterprise Linux runs just about anywhere – including on thousands of physical systems, virtual infrastructure, and certified public clouds. It also provides OpenShift with access to some great underlying technologies that are native to Linux like LXC, SELinux, and Control Groups which provide secure multi-tenancy and fine grain resource control without the need to reinvent the concepts from scratch.

Red Hat first offered access to it’s OpenShift PaaS as a hosted service, now named OpenShift Online, starting in May, 2011. For roughly 18 months, Red Hat worked on honing OpenShift while it hosted thousands of applications in OpenShift Online. During this time, an ever increasing demand was building from IT organizations who wanted to replicate the success of OpenShift Online in their own datacenters.

For this reason, Red Hat released OpenShift Enterprise – an on-premise offering of OpenShift which allows IT organizations to accelerate IT service delivery in their own datacenter in the same way organizations did in the public cloud with OpenShift Online. OpenShift Enterprise was the first comprehensive on-premise PaaS offering for enterprises in the industry, and it is a big game changer.

When an organization wants to adopt OpenShift Enterprise there are several decisions they must consider carefully.

First, they must decide what will host the Red Hat Enterprise Linux that serves as a foundation to OpenShift. Should they use physical hardware, virtual machines, or do they want to run in a public cloud? The correct decision will be different for each organization based on their specific requirements. Furthermore, in the rapidly evolving IT landscape, organizations will likely want to change the underlying infrastructure their PaaS runs on top of relatively frequently. Take, for example, the rise of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization backed by KVM as a highly secure and industry performance leading open source hypervisor.  It is important that organizations maintain flexibility in being able to deploy OpenShift Enterprise to a choice of infrastructure while maintaining consistency of their deployments of OpenShift Enterprise at each provider.

Second, how will OpenShift Enterprise be deployed onto the foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux? An organization may decide that OpenShift Enterprise will be deployed in one large pool that is equally distributed to all end users. The organization may, however, decide to split OpenShift Enterprise into smaller deployments based on it’s decided application lifecycle workflow (For example, Development, Test, and Production OpenShift Enterprise deployments). Each deployment of OpenShift Enterprise requires installing software and configuring it. These redundant (and often mundane) tasks should be automated to reduce time to deploy and the risk of human error.

Third, which cartridges (languages and frameworks) will be made available to the users of OpenShift Enterprise? It is likely that an organization would desire to allow developers access to a broad choice of languages in a development environment, but limit the use of frameworks and languages in test and production to those that are certified to the organization’s standards. It is important for organizations to be able to control which cartridges are available and installed within each OpenShift Enterprise deployment.

While organizations want to accelerate IT service delivery by utilizing an on-premise PaaS they desire to do so in a flexible yet consistent manner which allows for choice of infrastructure, while leveraging automation and controlling what languages and frameworks users of the PaaS can utilize.

Red Hat CloudForms delivers these capabilities, allowing organization to deploy and manage OpenShift Enterprise across a wide range of infrastructure. It provides both cloud resource management by abstracting and decoupling underlying infrastructure providers from the end user and hybrid cloud management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the software installed within it.

CloudForms focuses on three key areas that provide cloud resource management and hybrid cloud management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the software that runs upon it.

First, it provides the ability to define a hybrid cloud consisting of one or more cloud resource providers. These can either be virtual infrastructure providers (For example, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization) or public cloud providers (For example, Amazon EC2). CloudForms understands how to build operating systems instances for these providers, so system administrators don’t need to understand the different processes for each provider, which often differ greatly. CloudForms communicates with the various cloud resource providers via the Deltacloud API.

Second, it allows for the definition and lifecycle management of Application Blueprints. Application Blueprints are re-usable descriptions of applications, including the operating systems, additional software, and actions that need to be performed to configure that software. In defining a single application blueprint a CloudForms administrator could deploy an application to the cloud resource provider of their choice. CloudForms will manage launching the correct instances and configuring the software as required, even if the topologies and properties of each cloud resource provider are different.

Third, CloudForms allows for self-service deployment of the defined Application Blueprints based on policy and permissions. CloudForms users can select the Application Blueprint from a catalog, provide user defined input that was designed into the Application Blueprint, and launch it. Upon launch they can begin using their application.

Organizations that want to achieve flexibility, consistency, automation, and management of OpenShift Enterprise can use CloudForms to create an Application Blueprint for OpenShift Enterprise.

Upon defining an Application Blueprint for OpenShift Enterprise within CloudForms, OpenShift Enterprise Administrators would be permitted to deploy, via self-service, new OpenShift Enterprise AppForms (running OpenShift Enterprise Deployments) to their choice of cloud resource provider based on the policy set forth in CloudForms.

Upon deployment of the OpenShift Enterprise AppForm, instances comprising the AppForm would automatically register to CloudForms for ongoing lifecycle management. Ongoing lifecycle management provides organizations the ability to update underlying instances of Red Hat Enterprise Linux in a manner in line with their defined processes. It also allows organizations to control which cartridges (languages and frameworks) are installed on which OpenShift Enterprise deployments. For example, the OpenShift Enterprise AppForm in the development Application Lifecycle Environment may have all cartridges installed, while OpenShift Enterprise AppForms in the Test and Production Application Lifecycle Environments only have organizationally approved cartridges (maybe python, java, php) installed.

If you’d like to see the benefits of using CloudForms to deploy and manage OpenShift Enterprise, read my earlier post which includes a video demonstration.

The combination of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, OpenShift Enterprise, and Red Hat CloudForms allows organizations to accelerate IT service delivery while increasing flexibility and consistency, and providing the automation and management enterprises require.

The slides used in this post are available in PDF format here.

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