The Evolution of an Ecosystem: Why Certified Partners are Critical

RHOSCIPN_logo_smallBy Mike Werner, Senior Director of Global Technology Ecosystems, Red Hat

 

Customers evolving toward an open, cloud-enabled IT can enjoy  OpenStack’s benefits: broad industry support, vendor neutrality, fast-paced innovation. As they move into implementation, their requirements for OpenStack solutions often share a familiar theme: enterprise-ready, fully supported, well-integrated products. The right answer should require all layers, from hardware to applications, to interoperate to add value but not complexity. This approach mandates collaboration from multiple vendors, and alignment on business and technology. In other words, a platform ecosystem.

How do we build such an ecosystem for the cloud?

We start with the solid underpinning of the OpenStack project, with its large community of technology players working on continuous testing and integration of their components, such as Networking plugins and Storage drivers.

Red Hat’s OpenStack technology inherits this foundation, and adds ingredients to expand and harden the ecosystem. That’s where certification comes into play, ensuring that our partner’s products are tested, packaged, secured and supported on the same bits that customers deploy in production. Certification also covers collaborative agreements, setting a framework for solving issues faced by joint customers. This combination of upstream community effort and downstream vendor collaboration helps strike the right balance, raising customer confidence and accelerating time-to-deploy by shifting the burden of integration testing from the end user to the platform provider.

Red Hat’s certification for OpenStack focused initially on the core cloud building blocks. Starting with OEM collaborations, and hundreds of servers that have been thoroughly tested to run a Compute infrastructure, virtualized over KVM. Adding Networking and Storage providers, many of which have accompanied us through our RHEL trajectory, and now move with us to the cloud.

After establishing a good foundation, certification coverage has expanded to other domains like databases and management tools, and now into the application space. Partners’ response has been enthusiastic, and generally matched with their own investments in ongoing testing and validation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. The Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network has grown tenfold since its inception in April of 2013. It has expanded beyond those vendors who actively participate in the upstream project, to encompass hundreds of companies that incorporate OpenStack technology into commercial offerings, and thus extend the platform’s reach.

The ecosystem is healthy and growing. It feeds from innovative ideas from its members. We want to share those ideas through the Red Hat Stack blog, so expect guest contributions on a regular basis.