Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat, Inc. CEO, believes that VMware is its biggest competition in the virtualization and cloud computing space. In a PCWorld article, Whitehurst stated Friday at the Red Hat Summit that "When you start thinking about who is defining cloud-based architectures, it's us and them [VMware]," he said. "We're the only two companies that have the components to really do cloud."
Whitehurst has possibly never heard of Ubuntu Linux and its cloud offering, UEC.
"Technically, it's a perfectly fine vision. Commercially, I worry about the lock-in and VMware defining the stack," he said.
Cloud computing favors open source, Whitehurst argued. "Modular layered architectures are built on open source," he said. He noted that the typical proprietary license models make it difficult to build a cloud, given the licensing and lock-in concerns. "Who in their right mind would roll out a 50,000 server environment locked into one vendor? If you buy ESX and three years later you get a renewal, how much will [VMware] charge you?"
It's true that cloud computing favors open source but further, it favors free software and it favors Ubuntu over Red Hat.
That's a powerful assertion but the logic behind it is solid. Red Hat no longer offers a "free" version of its software. For that, you have to use the community version, Fedora or another community version such as CentOS or Scientific Linux. CentOS and Scientific Linux are closer to Red Hat's Enterprise offerings than Fedora.
Ubuntu's big advantage is that Canonical offers the enterprise version of its software free of charge. There's not a free one and an expensive one, there's only one. Ubuntu's other huge advantage is that it's Debian-based, which means that no single company owns or controls its parent or destroy its base.
So, it's true that cloud computing favors open source but it doesn't favor Red Hat for the same reasons Whitehurst gave for it not favoring VMware.
Have fun competing with VMware, Red Hat. And, VMware, godspeed to you as well.
In the end, it will be the Ubuntu adopters who are the real winners in this competition for cloud space and customers.