Live from the Summit: Intro to Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform

oxanham-RHEL-OSP-sessionIf you’ve been anywhere near a tech conference, blog, or the word “cloud” in the last year, you’ve probably heard about OpenStack. It’s one of the most exciting projects right now in the open source community, and with good reason. But what does it do, and what is Red Hat’s involvement in the project?

Rhys Oxenham, OpenStack field product manager for Red Hat, answered these questions and more in a standing-room only afternoon session on Tuesday.


“In the most basic sense,” he said, “OpenStack is an open source cloud operating system. It has a number of sub-projects and building blocks that let you create an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud.”

OpenStack’s architecture has 9 components, such as identity, image service, object store, orchestration, and more, and each serves a uniquely separate purpose. They combine to offer “a framework for how you would implement a cloud, relying on plugins and drivers to let you configure the cloud you want to choose,” said Oxenham.

Developed by a community of contributors, both individual and corporate, OpenStack offers an innovative alternative to propriety cloud services. The community produces a new release every 6 months, and the timing for Oxenham’s session is perfect—the next release, codename “Icehouse,” is due out on April 17.

The current release, Havana, had 13,700+ code commits, 920 individual contributors, 150+ organizations, and 400+ new features. “It’s growing exponentially,” said Oxenham.


Traditional IT has its share of issues, as Oxenham explained. “There’s too much data, and service requests are too large,” he said. “Applications weren’t written to cope with this kind of demand, and performance is slipping as a result.”

“Public clouds are setting the benchmark for how IT can deliver to users, but not all organizations are ready yet,” said Oxenham. “With OpenStack, you get public cloud-like capabilities behind the privacy of your own internal firewall.”

Red Hat got involved with OpenStack 10 months after the project launched in July 2010 and has been the “No.1 corporate contributor for the last 2 releases,” Oxenham said. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform offers all of the benefits of the community in an enterprise-grade product, “built specifically for, and tightly integrated with, [Red Hat Enterprise Linux], with a focus on code maturity, stability, and security.”


The afternoon session promised a live demo of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, and Oxenham delivered. After logging in as an unprivileged user, Oxenham walked the crowd through a tour of the dashboard and a step-by-step guide to creating a workflow for launching an instance. A moment of suspense…and the instance was successfully launched (we had all the faith in the world, Rhys).

After briefly reviewing the security group rule options, his virtual machine (VM) became active, and he showed the overview, log, and console views of a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 VM running on top of OpenStack.

In just under 8 minutes, Oxenham showed how to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform to launch a successful VM instance—a fitting conclusion to a solid introduction.

More information


Event: Red Hat Summit 2014
Date: 3:40 p.m., Tues April 15, 2014
Type: Session
Track: Cloud readiness
Title: Introduction to Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform
Speaker: Rhys Oxenham (Red Hat)