Canonical and Applied Micro demonstrated IceHouse Production OpenStack deployment in preparation for Computex next week, the behemoth Asian Tech Show in Taipei. Why does Canonical always seem to be out in front, while our dear friends at Redhat seem to provide only lip service to ARM servers? Canonical has provided production (“LTS”, or Long Term Support) for Ubuntu since the 12.04 release, two full years ago on 32-bit systems, and now they are doing the same for ARM V8 64-bit platforms, starting with Applied’s X-Gene. Meanwhile, Redhat sends dear Jon Masters, their uber-brilliant ARM Enthusiast, all around the world touting ARM servers without a committed RedHat RHEL-equivalent release on their public roadmap. So, Canonical has an -strength OS and the complete Canonical stack including OpenStack, and Redhat has Jon’s vivacious personality and slides. Hmmm.
We’ve seen this movie before. When IBM decided to invest in Linux to revive the Mainframe, SUSE stepped up and supported the system in production environments with SLES. Redhat only responded when their customers demanded that they step up, and then they had to battle with SUSE to regain that lost share. Now the same thing will happen with ARM support unless Redhat gets serious. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of smart people at Redhat who want to support ARM, but it is a significant investment that requires a solid business case. And that business case apparently doesn’t yet convince Redhat’s executives to ante-up. Meanwhile, Canonical is a more community-based organization, and are very close to the world’s largest cloud platform providers who are telling them they have a leadership opportunity with ARM.
So, Redhat, I suggest you listen to the NEW customers (a.k.a. the cloudy types) who will move to ARM, and not just to traditional IT customers who may not. It’s understandable that you don’t need to be there now, but don’t be too late or you may miss the boat!