These days I've talked with Red Hat about their Cloud strategy. It was an interesting and, in some areas, somewhat surprising conversation. It is not that surprising that Red Hat doesn't focus on becoming an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider themselves, e.g. directly competing with Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure and other environments isn't on their agenda at that point of time. Red Hat focuses on providing the technology some of these provides (not Microsoft, for sure) require - but not mainly the very big ones, but all the others like Telcos, large MSPs (Managed Service Providers), and so on.

One of the Red Hat claims is that they provide a pretty complete stack, beyond IaaS up to the PaaS (Platform as a Service) level, based on JBoss. Thus, they offer everything from virtualization up to the application infrastructure as a complete, integrated solution. In addition, Red Hat focuses on providing management tools for this complete stack to enable providers to easily create and manage their environments.

However, even that isn't a big surprise. Red Hat is well positioned in that area, but others are trying to do the same. VMware and the VMforce platform is just one example, Microsoft Azure is another one. The really interesting point, from my position, has been the clear commitment of Red Hat to support different hypervisors, beyond their KVM. That includes VMware ESX as well as Microsoft Hyper-V. Red Hat (correctly) states that the reality of virtualization at MSPs as well as in end-user organizations consists is heterogeneous - and might become even more heterogeneous, with KVM (or Microsoft) expanding their marketshares. Thus an offering has to support different hypervisors - I couldn't agree more. Red Hat even states that application infrastructures like .NET have to be supported. True as well.

With this approach, Red Hat provides an interesting approach not only to MSPs but as well to end-user organizations which are migrating their data centers to "private clouds". Supporting heterogeneous environments, beyond the virtualization, is mandatory there. Red Hat at least has a valid strategy there. They have do some homework around the management capabilities, moving forward to higher-level servicce management - but that's the case for all other vendor in that space as well. Overall, it looks that Red Hat has really understood business - it is not about good or bad, it is about supporting the real world infrastructures of customers, which are heterogeneous.