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Red Hat adds to its cloud appeal

Company works to extend its cloud leadership with a slew of announcements. But when will someone make this cloud stuff easier to consume?

Red Hat made several announcements Wednesday related to the development of public and private clouds, including updates to its Cloud Foundation portfolio, the effort to make its Deltacloud a standard API, a flagship cloud customer, and a new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering.

The company is working to create a comprehensive cloud offering--at least in theory--with new products that address the various layers of what can be considered cloud infrastructure.

This is all interesting, especially because Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens recently stated that cloud services are at least a decade away. Apparently, the company is taking the long-term view that the infrastructure will need to be in place, despite the fact that the applications and use cases may not be immediately evident.

One of the important aspects of the march to the cloud is the reliance on APIs that standardize the interfaces that allow communication among servers, applications, and services.

To that end, Red Hat announced that its Deltacloud project has been submitted to the Distributed Management Task Force as part of an effort to provide portability across multiple vendors' cloud deployments.

Deltacloud is an open-source implementation of a RESTful Web service API that allows abstraction of common proprietary cloud management APIs. Confused? Think of Deltacloud as a universal inter-cloud communications mechanism.

Red Hat also announced a foray into platform as a service (PaaS) with a new offering based on the JBoss middleware stack that will be available as a service in public or private clouds to help developers and organizations build, deploy, and manage the application lifecycle.

This is an important step for Red Hat--especially for the JBoss middleware and application server, which over the last two years has lost a great deal of mindshare in the Java world to the Spring Framework, which is now managed by VMware and forms the basis for its own cloud offering for PaaS Java applications.

Red Hat also announced that DreamWorks Animation SKG will use its Cloud Foundations in animated-film production.

Despite Red Hat's flurry of announcements, here's the problem: I follow this cloud stuff on a daily--even hourly basis, and I am just as overloaded with information as everyone else. What's still lacking in all of these product announcements is a practical example of how all of these products are supposed to work together and how developers are supposed to know how to build distributed applications that can take advantage of the computing power available in cloud environments.