News & Insights for the AI Journey|Sunday, June 16, 2019
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Red Hat Joins The Crowd On Google Cloud 

The cloud is making for strange bedfellows, which may turn out to be another of its attributes as prices decline.

Case in point: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is joining a growing list of operating systems running on the Google Cloud Platform. In announcing general availability this week, Google said the move would allow Red Hat subscribers to migrate their Linux licenses to the Google Cloud Platform.

Google said other Red Hat products and services also will be made available on its cloud platform, but it did not specify when.

The Red Hat Linux server variant joins a growing list that includes Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition, which came to Google Cloud Platform in late March as a limited preview. Google supports Debian and CentOS Linuxes directly from its Compute Engine infrastructure cloud, and the odds are that it will eventually offer support for Windows Server 2012 R2, probably in the Datacenter Edition release again.

In another example of "bring your own subscription" – along with the necessity of supporting competing OSes – Red Hat is allowing Amazon Web Services users to migrate their subscriptions via Red Hat Cloud Access. The options were touted as easing the move to the public cloud while retaining the benefits of current subscriptions.

RHEL is now available on Google Cloud Platform as an annual subscription through Red Hat Cloud Access or as an hourly on-demand service. The options are designed to ensure quality of service and price stability in a volatile market, the partners said.

These and other moves by leading cloud providers are being driven in part by an ongoing cloud services price war. Among other things, commodity pricing is forcing Google, AWS, Microsoft, and others to support a range of OSes along with both and, one layer up, platform as a service (PaaS) options. Hence, the dominant players are, within reason, busy countering each other's moves as commodity pricing reshapes the cloud computing market.

Red Hat, meanwhile, is offering a PaaS option called OpenShift, which is being offered in two flavors: public (OpenShift Online) and private (OpenShift Enterprise). The public service is hosted by AWS and run by Red Hat.

Red Hat said subscribers moving to the public cloud would be allowed to take with them platform, middleware, storage, and PaaS products.

The "blending" of IaaS and PaaS services may also reflect the realities of commodity pricing for cloud services. In announcing price cuts in March, Google argued that pricing hasn't followed the traditional Moore's Law curve for circuits and storage, which sees performance double every 18 months or so and therefore driving up price/performance or driving down prices or some measure of both.

The search giant maintains that lower hardware costs over the last five years (as much as 30 percent lower annually) were not reflected in public cloud prices that were declining only 8 percent annually before Google started the latest skirmish in the price war.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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