RedHat delivers CloudForms to a crowded cloud management platform market

RedHat has made its open hybrid cloud platform, CloudForms, generally available after one year of beta testing. But some experts think it isn’t unique enough to stand out in a crowded market.

RedHat has made CloudForms generally available after a year of beta testing, but some experts think the cloud platform doesn’t give enterprises all that they need.

CloudForms, an open source-based hybrid cloud management platform, allows IT to build and manage a cloud infrastructure that comprises infrastructure resources and tools from a variety of vendors.

Because CloudForms is agnostic, IT can use the platform to build clouds that covers their existing  in-house infrastructure and they can scale it to reach more users, said Rachel Chalmers, vice president at 451 Research, a division of The 451 Group. 

But, CloudForms has some limitations. For one, it is only able to provision catalog objects on Amazon Web Services (AWS), said Alessandro Perilli, research director at Gartner Inc.

“It’s a good first step, but mature customers may need much more -- automated catalog object transfer, VM format conversion, guest OS sanitisation, out-of-the-box support for multiple cloud providers and more…,” he said.

Another challenge for RedHat is that CloudPlatforms is part of a crowded cloud management platform market.

There are at least 30 players that offer software to build an IaaS cloud environment. Just this week, Egenera launched PAN Cloud Director, Oracle Corp. launched a new suite of cloud-based products and Microsoft announced that Windows Azure will support Linux-based operating systems.

“Everybody offers self-service provisioning of virtual machines these days,” Perilli added. “It’s critical to differentiate.”

RedHat bills CloudForms as an open hybrid cloud management platform, but that may not be enough differentiation, Perilli said.

 According to experts, large enterprises are getting ready to move to the next stage of the cloud maturity model. They demand multi-VM catalog objects that can deliver application platforms or ready-to-use business services (such as a multi-tier CRM system), robust process governance (advanced configuration and change management et al.) and chargeback.

“I didn’t see too much of all this in CloudForms yet,” Perilli said.

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