Last week, Red Hat, unveiled the costs for its bundle of products and services aimed at giving it a strong foothold in the cloud computing market. The bundle includes Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, which combine the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS (RHEL) and the KVM hypervisor plus Red Hat's own distribution of OpenStack. If you look closely at the pricing, it's clear that Red Hat wants to attract users of its existing Linux platform and support services to its cloud platform and associated support. Now, there are questions arising about the strategy.
One problem that Red Hat has as it tries to pin future growth on cloud computing is that it is entering the OpenStack game late. There are already more distributions available than the market can tolerate, and consolidation is expected. However, if you look at the costs Red Has has set for bundled platforms and support, users can dip their toes in the cloud and virtualization waters for low prices.
As ZDNet U.K. notes:
"Red Hat is entering into an arena already crowded with players who want to be a one-stop infrastructure-as-a-service provider â€“ such as Microsoft and VMware â€“ but Red Hat is hoping to best the competition with lower prices - one third of the cost of a competing VMware-based offering according to Red Hat - and an unlimited number of guest licences."
"But while the price might be right, a lack of integration between the software layers in the stack may be sticking point for firms already considering a VMware-based alternative."
That lack of complete integration could be a problem, but Red Hat's legendary support may offset it. The company has proven that it can support open source platforms with skill, and putting good support for OpenStack in place likely explains why Red Hat was slow to enter the OpenStack market.
Here are the details on the subscription support, where support is available at either the Standard (business hours) or Premium (24x7) levels:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform Premium: $4,499/socket-pair/year
Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform Standard: $3,449/socket-pair/year
Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform for Controller Nodes Premium: $2,799/socket-pair/year
Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform for Controller Nodes Standard: $2,149/socket-pair/year
In all likelihood, Red Hat will grab a meaningful portion of the fast-growing market for OpenStack cloud services in the coming year. This market represents a big stretch for Red Hat, though, which has focused primarily on Linux and middleware for a long time now.