OpenShift: Red Hat offers Platform-as-a-Service solution
At the Red Hat Summit currently being held in Boston, Red Hat has introduced OpenShift, a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution which Red Hat says has been specially tailored to the needs of open source developers. The PaaS is based on technologies developed by Makara, a company Red Hat took over last November. Numerous open source products work in the background of the cloud service and Red Hat intends to make available various components that are not yet open source, including the user interface.
Publicised with the slogan "shift happens" – a play on the expression "shit happens" – two variants of the service are available to a limited group of users and can be used free of charge after registration. The "Express" variant is comparable to Google's App Engine: Red Hat operates the platform for users who only transfer their applications. The "Flex" variant, on the other hand, gives users full control of the certified cloud provider's instances (currently only Amazon).
Both variants are currently classified as "developer previews"; they are due to be released for production use later this year. By that time, the most powerful variant, "Power", is also expected to be available: rather than being a PaaS, this variant is more of an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) that will give users full control over cloud deployment.
It will reportedly not be a problem to develop applications locally and then transfer them to the web service for operation. Currently supported programming languages include Java, PHP, Python and Ruby; developers can use JBoss, Java EE, Django, Rails, CDI and Zend, and can access NoSQL and SQL databases.
With the introduction of OpenShift, Red Hat has also announced a PaaS partner program. Various partners are planning to provide "cartridges" that allow their software to be used in OpenShift – these include Appcelerator, Bitnami, Cotendo, Couchbase, EnterpriseDB, eXo, MongoDB and Zend Technologies.