With last week's release of Red Hat CloudForms 4.2, open source's biggest success story ups its game to help it gain more traction in the cloud. The features added since the last release of the cloud management platform indicate the company isn't so much focused on either public or private clouds, but on the whole hybrid cloud enchilada. What Red Hat is after -- in the long run -- is to create an integrated base containing most, if not all, of the tools that might be needed in a complex public/private cloud infrastructure that includes containers, virtual machines and other complexities.
"There is no longer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ IT environment, as many organizations are seeking to leverage the best benefits of physical, virtual and cloud-based technologies," Joe Fitzgerald, Red Hat's vice president of management, said. "Coupled with Linux containers, only managing one or two aspects of these hybrid computing environments can lead to downtime or outages."
On the private cloud side, CloudForms has added support for OpenStack's Swift and Cinder storage technologies. It has also expanded the chargeback capabilities for containers running on Red Hat's OpenShift Container Platform. Support has been added as well for the company's JBoss middleware, as part of a "tech preview" of CloudForms' Middleware Provider, which will be expanded in upcoming versions.
There is also increased integration with the public cloud. "The providers for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform now include full networking providers," Marty Wesley, Red Hat's senior product marketing manager, wrote in a day-of-release blog post. "This means that you can get a complete inventory of networking entities such as Networks, Subnets, Routers, Floating IPs, Network Ports and Load Balancers."
Although CloudForms is based on the latest version of ManageIQ, a community open source project founded by Red Hat after it acquired ManageIQ in 2012, there are some notable differences between the two. For example, CloudForms includes a commercial PDF generation library and is based on RHEL instead of CentOS. Perhaps the most important difference for DevOps, however, is the release cycle. While ManageIQ is on a six month release cycle, with all support for the previous version ending with the new release, each release of CloudForms is fully supported for three years under Red Hat's enterprise subscription model.
"CloudForms 4.2 brings significant enhancements to the cloud management platform and expands into new areas with the Storage and Middleware providers,' Wesley added. "Performance, uniform dashboards and centralized administration makes it simpler for organizations to gain the efficiency that deploying CloudForms provides."
As with any software project, the road doesn't end with this version, and CloudForms developers already have their eyes on the next release. "Although we’ve come a long way with this release, there is still more work to do," Wesley said.