Red Hat acquires Makara to boost its cloud

Makara's cloud app management tools will be embedded into JBoss, converted to DeltaCloud

In its first acquisition in two years, Red Hat today announced it was buying cloud app management provider Makara for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition boosts Red Hat's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) as it builds support for its cloud app portability standard, DeltaCloud.

Makara came out of stealth mode in April 2010 to offer application management for Java and PHP apps in private clouds and select public clouds. It competes with the likes of Eucalyptus Systems, for building private clouds, supported out of the box by Canonical's Ubuntu Server Edition. Makara's technology currently supports Amazon's EC2 APIs, VMware's vCloud and Terramark, but not Red Hat's DeltaCloud.

DeltaCloud's APIs are an alternative to Amazon's popular APIs.

What's also curious about this purchase is that Makara supports Xen virtualization -- not Red Hat's preferred KVM, though clearly that will change as Red Hat works with the Makara's technology. Red Hat plans to integrate Makara into JBoss Enterprise Middleware infrastructure. Makara's tools will also show up on Red Hat's own cloud service, Cloud Foundations, which was launched in June.

Red Hat is pushing hard to build support around its standard for cloud apps, DeltaCloud. This acquisition, in addition to giving Red Hat app management technology, eliminates another Amazon-loving competitor from the skies. A Red Hat spokesperson told me that Makara will continue to work with Amazon's cloud and vCloud but, "Long-term, we will switch them onto DeltaCloud to support all these different platforms."

DeltaCloud is in a race to become a cloud API standard. Red Hat wants to encourage development of third-party services and (ideally) encourage users to port their apps from a different cloud provider to Cloud Foundations. Right now, Amazon's APIs are "winning" that race, even though they are an old fashioned proprietary de facto standard. Everyone developing new services for the cloud are supporting Amazon's Web Services standards, even if they don't support any other. That's a problem for those who would like to compete with the 800-pound gorilla, EC2, and encourage developers to write add-ons to their clouds, too, or to get users to move their apps off EC2.

Hence, in addition to Red Hat's DeltaCloud, Rackspace is working to gain support around its OpenStack standard and is offering its Cloudstack.

Red Hat isn't as interested in control of the standard as it is in not being bound to a competitor's control. It sent DeltaCloud to be managed by the Apache Foundation Incubator, though most of the main commiters to the project work at Red Hat.

The Makara buy is the first acquisition from Red Hat since it bought the keeper of the KVM project, Qumranet in 2008 for $107 million.

Here is the press release on today's announcement.

Red Hat Accelerates PaaS Strategy with Acquisition of Makara

Cloud Foundations takes another leap forward with technology to deploy, manage and auto-scale applications in the cloud

RALEIGH, NC – November 30, 2010 - Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it has acquired Makara, a developer of deployment and management solutions for applications in the cloud.  Makara's technologies will accelerate the development of Red Hat's comprehensive Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution as part of its Cloud Foundations portfolio.

Based in Redwood City, Calif., Makara provides solutions to enable organizations to deploy, manage, monitor and scale their applications on both private or public clouds.  Customers facing issues in moving applications to the cloud and managing them efficiently can benefit from Makara's solutions for scaling, rightsizing, rollback and monitoring.  By integrating the JBoss Enterprise Middleware infrastructure with Makara's Cloud Application Platform, Red Hat can offer a more comprehensive PaaS solution that allows organizations to quickly transition their applications to both public and private clouds with minimal modifications.

“Cloud Foundations is about enabling customers and developers to have an easy on-ramp to the cloud.  With the addition of Makara, we aim to further simplify application deployment and management,” said Paul Cormier, president of Products and Technologies at Red Hat.  “We welcome the Makara team and look forward to accelerating our delivery of PaaS solutions to the market.”

Red Hat introduced Cloud Foundations in June 2010.  Red Hat is in a unique position as the only vendor that has the infrastructure needed to deliver a complete, open source, flexible cloud stack, incorporating operating system, middleware and virtualization.  Based on JBoss Enterprise Middleware, Red Hat PaaS seeks to be the solution within the portfolio that will allow enterprises, cloud service providers, ISVs and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers to take existing assets and develop new applications and deploy them to a wide range of public and private clouds.  With Red Hat, enterprises, cloud service providers, ISVs and SaaS providers can leverage their existing skills without rewriting applications.

"PaaS is becoming another market for software vendors looking to deliver compelling enterprise solutions in the cloud," said Rachel Chalmers, research director at the 451 Group. "By acquiring the cloud technologies developed by Makara, Red Hat is now in a position to address this market by creating solutions for enterprises looking for deployment, management and auto-scaling capabilities to be baked into the core platform."

Red Hat plans to make Red Hat PaaS available as software offered as a service in public or private clouds to help developers and organizations build, deploy and manage the entire life cycle of applications.  Makara's tools, technologies and solutions will be fully integrated with Red Hat PaaS, as part of the Cloud Foundations portfolio.

Today, enterprises can begin to deploy JBoss Enterprise Middleware in private clouds by leveraging Red Hat Consulting in conjunction with products and services from Red Hat partners. Red Hat offers a comprehensive suite of products and services across the entire application lifecycle designed to cost-effectively transition existing or new applications to both private and public clouds.

To learn more about this announcement, join Red Hat for a press conference that will be broadcast live via webcast at 11am ET on November 30, 2010.  The webcast will also be available for replay. 

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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