Cloud Computing at Red Hat and Novell

I just ran across a blog post from Red Hat outlining some of the recent cloud computing developments at Red Hat, and it reminded me that Jeff Jaffe, Novell's CTO, had written a series of blog posts over the past couple of months about Novell's approach to cloud computing. I thought it might be interesting to look at both of them together to compare and contrast at least a few of their key points. I'll hit on a few highlights, but if you want more details, you should go back and read the original posts linked above.

Avoiding Vendor Lock-In

Both Red Hat and Novell see avoiding vendor lock-in as a key issue for adoption of cloud computing; however, while their approaches to the issue are similar, there are some slight differences. Red Hat talks more about the need for open standards while Novell focuses on vendor interoperability.

Red Hat:

"while the benefits of clouds are well understood by most CIOs and IT managers, the barriers to widespread cloud adoption are also becoming clear. One of the most important barriers relates to cloud standards or, the other side of the same coin, the need to avoid any sort of vendor lock-in. Clearly, until cloud standards are established and accepted by cloud service providers, customers are likely to limit their usage of cloud computing, reducing its potential value."


"The compute cloud will democratize computing by utilizing open interfaces and avoiding platform lock-in. This is harmonious with our brand promise of “Making IT Work as One”. It is also characteristic of Novell as a company who is passionate about Open Source, yet willing to work on interoperability with vendors who are committed to proprietary platforms."


Virtualization and cloud computing tend to go hand in hand, so it was no surprise that both Red Hat and Novell talked about virtualization as an important part of their cloud computing strategies. Red Hat highlighted a customer solution from NTT Communications with Red Hat Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) virtualization technology and talked about their partnership with Microsoft for virtualization certifications. Novell's virtualization focus leans toward Xen and virtual appliances.

Growth of Cloud Computing

Both Red Hat and Novell agree that adoption of cloud computing is growing rapidly, and they see this as a key technology trend. Most companies and analysts see cloud computing as a growth area, so it should not be a surprise that Red Hat and Novell are benefiting from cloud computing.

Novell's post has some interesting comparisons to past technology trends that have revolutionized the industry.

"Cloud computing is next. It will be equally transformational. The web provided clicking for “information” and cloud computing will provide clicking for “information resources”. Over time this will revolutionize every part of IT. ... The potential of cloud computing is great, but it won’t happen overnight-just as the other paradigm changes did not happen overnight. There will be many participants in this all playing different roles. For example there will be companies that provide cloud computing, and others -like Novell-that provide infrastructure software that are used by cloud providers or enterprises. Many layers of the compute stack will change to support the move to the cloud. Novell will not invest in all of them-no one vendor can have that impact. However, in the cloud infrastructure Novell will play a key role."

Red Hat focuses on innovation and progress in cloud computing:

"the last few months have seen great progress from Red Hat in the cloud computing space. Standards-based open source technology is a natural fit for the cloud. As with other areas of technology focus, Red Hat seeks to drive innovation as rapidly as possible to enable customers and partners to realize the efficiencies of cloud computing quickly."

Cloud computing is one of the more revolutionary trends that we've seen recently in the technology industry. According to Gartner, this isn't just hype: "Looking at real benefit, rather than the hyped expectations, we see a number of potentially transformational technologies that will hit the mainstream in less than five years, including Web 2.0, cloud computing, Internet TV, virtual worlds and service-oriented architecture (SOA)." Red Hat, Novell and many other software vendors will benefit from this growth in cloud computing.

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