Red Hat to offer Linux as a web service

Red Hat to offer Linux as a web service

Linux giant puts weight behind cloud computing

The prospect of cloud computing becoming a major business computing platform has moved closer yesterday with Red Hat announcing that it will make its Enterprise Linux flagship product and all supporting applications available as web services.

Red Hat will use’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a web-based platform that lets users flex computing capacity on the fly. For example, a retailer could access more processing Mips and disk space coming up to Christmas, and then wind down its requirements for the new year. Firms using the service pay a fee based on time, bandwidth and storage consumed. The Red Hat release will be the first commercially supported operating system on EC2.

Red Hat argued that IT complexity is creating a need for new types of automation.

Scott Crenshaw, Red Hat vice president of Enterprise Linux, said the move would afford “resizeable compute capacity in the cloud … with all capabilities of RHEL available on Amazon’s proven network infrastructure and datacentres”. This “fundamentally changes the way organisations can manage peak demand”, he added.

Capacity can be increased or decreased “within minutes”, Red Hat said, so even short spikes in demand can be handled. Administration tasks are performed through management tools familiar from on-premise deployments.

RHEL on Amazon EC2 is currently in private beta, with public availability planned for the October through December period.

In related announcements, Red Hat said it was making available an appliance that would allow independent software vendors to more easily create packaged offerings for niche markets. Red Hat also released a new 5.1 version of RHEL with the latest Xen virtualisation capabilities.