Red Hat held its 2015 summit last week in Boston. One of the most important announcements was the general availability of version 3 of OpenShift. After my discussion with Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of Red Hat, as well as other executives, partners and, clients, I believe that Red Hat has made a strategic move and is taking the lead in enterprise-class container solutions for hybrid cloud enablement. This is because:

  • Red Hat has an early-mover advantage in platform refactoring.OpenShift and Cloud Foundry, two major open source PaaS platforms, both started refactoring with container technology last year. The developers of Cloud Foundry are still working hard to complete the platform’s framework after implementing Diego, the rewrite of its runtime. But OpenShift has already completed its commercial release, with two major replacements around containers: It replaced Gears, its original homegrown container model, with Docker and replaced Broker, its old orchestration engine, with Kubernetes.

Red Hat also announced its Atomic Enterprise Platform, a container-specific operating system for container-based application deployment. This gives Red Hat an early-mover advantage to help customers achieve microservice-based agility, as I mentioned in a previous blog post.

  • An open source strategy will help Red Hat build an enterprise value ecosystem. Open source isn’t just about sharing source code; what’s more important is to share value and create a value ecosystem. Red Hat announced not only the victory of its enterprise Linux against Microsoft in data center usage scenarios, but also its participation in more than 5,000 open source projects, such as JBoss, Drools, and Tomcat for middleware; Docker and Kubernetes for containers; Ceph, PostgreSQL, and Hadoop for storage and compute; and KVM, OpenStack, and OpenDaylight for virtualization and cloud. Red Hat’s broad collaboration strengthens its foundation for enterprise readiness.
  • Early adopters of Open Shift are proving its value.Red Hat also announced that Amadeus, a leading global travel solution provider, is building its cloud platform — Amadeus Cloud Services — on OpenShift Enterprise v3. Amadeus is able to reach more customers by using the flexible scaling and automation features of containerized OpenShift to process more than 30,000 end-user transactions per second during peak operations.

However, this doesn’t mean that Red Hat has won the PaaS battle. This is just the start of a new PaaS category: “container PaaS”. It’s not just a battle of technology; it’s also a battle of ecosystems. Cloud Foundry has more support from global giants such as IBM, EMC/Pivotal, HP, and Huawei, and will catch up in product refactoring hopefully in the next 3 to 6 months; Red Hat has more work to do in terms of marketing strategy, and it needs to speed up. The winner will be the one who run the ecosystem better on container technology. What do you think?