Interview with Petra Heinrich, VP, Partners & Alliances EMEA, Red Hat, talks to us about Bringing Cloud Computing back to Earth.
The Linux Advantage (LinuxIT) – How would you define Cloud Computing?
PH – Well, the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) defines Cloud computing as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort, or service provider interaction. 
I think that’s a good basis for what has emerged, in a remarkably short time, as a hugely important evolution in the way that businesses and individuals consume and operate computing. It’s a fundamental shift to an operational model in which applications don’t live out their lives on a specific piece of hardware and in which resources are more flexibly deployed than was the historical norm. It’s also a fundamental shift to a development and consumption model that replaces hard-wired, proprietary connections among software components, and the consumers of those components, with lightweight web services and web-based software access.
The Linux Advantage (LinuxIT) – there is a burgeoning Cloud ecosystem for organisations to choose from, what approach should they be taking?
PH – Organisations clearly need to assess and select from the myriad of SaaS, PaaS (Platform) and IaaS (Infrastructure) vendors. There is also a need to integrate existing technology and processes, as well as optimising performance of their incumbent technology and new systems, and training end users.
Extending this concept further, third parties can build their own technology on PaaS offerings- accessing fully developed and advanced platforms for the creation of customer or industry specific offerings.
The Linux Advantage (LinuxIT) – How can organisations ensure that their Cloud deployments are successful?
PH – For those organisations that are looking to build public Cloud deployments, a series of factors will contribute to their success. Firstly, the technology to create layers of the Cloud stack, whether that be Infrastructure or Platform as a Service. Secondly, the flavour of Cloud being developed and the consistency of technology between the enterprise and the Cloud. Thirdly, developers also need the certainty of support to ensure peace of mind for end users.
The Linux Advantage (LinuxIT) – How is red Hat facilitating successful deployment?
PH – Through its Certified Cloud Provider Program, introduced in June 2009, Red Hat has established the industry’s first program to certify that vendors have validated Cloud capabilities and support processes that provide rapid problem resolution. Red Hat has expanded the program Interview with Petra Heinrich The to include new partners such as IBM, and introduced new benefits, including Cloud specific offerings and pricing and innovative management and updating services.
The Linux Advantage (LinuxIT) – So, what can red Hat offer today?
PH – Red Hat Cloud Foundations: Edition One. This enables customers to deploy real Private Clouds today. It includes industry-leading products for implementing a private Cloud, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Network Satellite, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, JBoss Enterprise Middleware and Red Hat Enterprise MRG Grid.
We can provide a cookbook implementation guide, making Cloud setup quick and simple and a detailed reference architecture providing step-by-step instructions, scripts and settings for creating and configuring the private Cloud. All based upon the year's of experience and knowledge Red Hat engineers have built and refined while creating private and public Clouds for some of the world’s largest and most demanding companies.
Edition One also includes consulting services to enable turnkey assessment, implementation and operational management of a private Cloud. And training classes, to transfer knowledge and best practices to customers, creating a strong base of skills among customers staff quickly and efficiently.
The Linux Advantage (LinuxIT) – What about virtualization and the Cloud?
PH – Virtualization is the fundamental premise on which Cloud is based. Through our Program, Certified Public Cloud Providers can run any supported Virtualization solution, ranging from Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat or Microsoft guests to VMware and Microsoft platforms running Red Hat Linux as guests. In addition, Premier Certified Cloud Providers are able to deliver Red Hat Cloud Access, an innovative and flexible licensing model that allows customers to easily use existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions in the datacentre or the Cloud, thereby driving easy Cloud adoption.
The Linux Advantage (LinuxIT) – How do can you find out more?
PH – There is more information on our entire Cloud offering at www.redhat.com and we are working with our leading specialist partners, Premier Business Partners such as LinuxIT, to support both Private and Public Cloud offerings.
The Linux Advantage (LinuxIT) – Thank you.
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 NIST Definition of Cloud (Computing v15 2010)