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Red Hat and Ubuntu offer new cloud certification program

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Jul. 3, 2009

Earlier this week, Red Hat said it is launching a new cloud certification program, while Canonical, the commercial vendor behind Ubuntu Linux, is also launching paid support services for its cloud offerings.

These two initiatives have the potential to help the Linux vendors generate revenues from the cloud as enterprise adoption of cloud technologies increase.

Red Hat has been offering Linux support on Amazon EC-2 since March 2008 in an offering that had been classified as being in beta testing. With the new Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider programs, Red Hat has now certified its Amazon cloud service, which enables a number of key improvements, according to Mike Evans, v.p. of corporate development at Red Hat.

Full production versions of Red Hat's products are now available to Amazon EC-2 users as opposed to just beta offerings. Evans says that as a result of the Amazon certification, users can run Red Hat subscriptions in their own IT environment, or transfer them to be run at Amazon -- while receiving full support, compatibility and security updates.

"In addition to end users being able to utilize Amazon more confidently and flexibly, a similar message will be sent to our thousands of ISV partners. The Certified Cloud Provider partners are the ones with technical and business partnerships with Red Hat. For ISVs, if their applications are certified on RHEL and/or JBoss, they have an easy path to make their own cloud offering with these Certified Cloud Providers," Evans added.

Cloud Providers and end customers want more cloud application choices, he hinted. While operating systems, databases and application servers are a good start, the world wants more, and Red Hat wants to help enable more ISV applications.

"The program is centered on Cloud Providers, but is really a triangulation of the interests of end users, ISVs and Cloud Providers," Evans said, adding that the goal of the effort is "to increase the general confidence and remove barriers to using cloud more widely."

For its part, Canonical is also jumping into the commercial side of the cloud business by offering support services officially called Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Services.

"The support and consultancy offering are specifically designed for cloud environments and give due consideration to both the underlying substrate. They also provide support for any virtual machines running Ubuntu Server Edition," said Simon Wardley, head of Canonical's cloud strategy.

Ubuntu's cloud technology uses the Eucalyptus open source project as its base, starting with the recent Jaunty Ubuntu Linux release. Eucalyptus itself now also has its own set of commercial support services backing it up.

With enterprise infrastructure costs constantly rising, cloud computing is now really taking off. Vendors are proliferating, promising cheaper, more flexible ways to access computing resources.

"Optimizing the Linux environment based on the hardware in place is the most immediate way to make real the promised saving of cloud computing," Wardley said. "These services will be used in enterprise environments and any enterprise wants the reassurance of professional, ongoing support in this case from the code originators, Canonical."

Wardley explained that Canonical provides the support through its own technical experts in the Global Support Services team. He added that Canonical and Eucalyptus have a relationship in place to provide additional technical expertise where and if necessary.

For the Linux community as a whole, there are no more doubts as to the viability and the relevance of cloud computing, and it now holds a lot of promise to the organizations that will take advantage of all its many features.

Source: Red Hat and Canonical.

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