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The promise of an enterprise-ready OpenStack distribution took a big step closer to availability yesterday with Red Hat's advancement of its OpenStack offering into an Early Adopter Program.

OpenStack is an open source framework for building and managing private, public and hybrid infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds. RDO, the name for Red Hat's OpenStack distribution (which stands for Red Hat Distribution of OpenStack), may not have a name as catchy as the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Project, but its function will be similar.

The Fedora community adds new features upstream before they become incorporated in the Linux-based operating system and eventually make their way into Red Hat's commercially available Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). RDO will be a freely available, community-supported distribution of OpenStack that runs on RHEL, Fedora and their derivatives and offers a pure upstream OpenStack experience.

"OpenStack represents an ideal example of community-powered innovation in the cloud, and Red Hat is committed to bringing a community-to-subscription model around the OpenStack technology that aims to redefine IT," says Brian Stevens, CTO and vice president of Worldwide Engineering at Red Hat.

"We support the OpenStack ecosystem through software development and community engagement and are excited to continue advancing these technologies with the community through RDO and for our enterprise customers with advancements with our Red Hat OpenStack distribution today," Stevens says.

Stevens says that RDO provides organisations with a foundation to build a private or public IaaS cloud that leverages OpenStack technologies while maintaining the security, stability and enterprise readiness of a platform built on RHEL.

The OpenStack Early Adopter Program is based on the community Folsom release of OpenStack. RDO brings together core OpenStack components, including Nova, Glance, Keystone, Cinder, Quantum, Swift and Horizon. In addition, it incubates projects Heat, for cloud application orchestration, and Ceilometer, for resource monitoring and metering.

RDO is immediately available. Stevens said customers interested in the Red Hat OpenStack Early Adopter Program should contact their sales representative.

"As open source projects mature, one of the key factors in their wider adoption becomes packaging," says Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst with RedMonk. "Red Hat is clearly looking to streamline the implementation process for OpenStack, thus widening the project's market."