They've rebadged it you fool

Red Hat’s PaaS OpenShift first for Java EE 6, reveals pricing model

Chris Mayer

Straight out of Boston, Red Hat reveal the business model behind their cloud platform, but aren’t leaving behind free Java cloud hosting entirely.

It’s fair to say that Red Hat’s
, OpenShift has been
on a roll of late. Receiving
plenty of
footfall, forming a steady community quicksharp, and ushering
plenty of innovations such as
supporting MongoDB, many were left
how Red Hat would cash in on

It all appears clear now, with Red Hat deploying a number of
huge announcements surrounding OpenShift at their Boston
conference, Red Hat Summit. The one they were most keen to
publicise was that
OpenShift has become the first PaaS to support Java EE 6 Full
– a pretty big move that will sound alarm bells at the
headquarters of competitors. This gives OpenShift a distinct
advantage in attracting seasoned Java EE to the platform. The
addition of Red Hat’s commercially-supported JBoss EAP 6 into the
developer preview will ensure crossover from fellow JBoss
developers. You’d expect collaboration to be running rife here,
since OpenShift is keen to target hybrid environments and keep the
platform open to avoid vendor lock-in. We’ve not even mentioned the
fact that it also dabbles with other languages such as Python and
Ruby, attaining further interest there.

But to seal this enterprise-focused attack, Red Hat needed
to shift tactics slightly to offer an enticing business
proposition. OpenShift has changed guise a few times now –
previously it was split into Express (the freebie version that
would run PHP, Python and Ruby via AWS), Flex (Java and PHP
apps with a MySQL or MongoDB backend) and Power (with
cloud-controller CloudForms).

In April, there was another repurposing designed to
gain as much open source buzz as possible in OpenShift Origin. They
did away with the three options and went down the Apache licensing
route to gain traction, which we think was smart at the time and is
still a shrewd move. And only last month, they revealed that they
wanted to welcome Devops-minded and ITops-minded developers into
the fold too. Normally, we’d call a technology out for changing
direction at will, but with the PaaS market very much a developing
space, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to test out a few things and
react to them accordingly.

Clearly not wanting to quell this movement entirely, nor
alienate the community,
OpenShift is now offering enterprise-grade support in a new
. The entry level FreeShift, as the
name suggests, is available to all and still makes a fairly
compelling offers to PaaS newcomers. You can still get your Java,
PHP, node.js, Python, PHP and Perl applications up into the cloud,
with the help of several technologies: 
6, MongoDB, MySQL, Jenkins and so
on PostgreSQL. If you want more bang for your buck,
MegaShift allows you to to scale up to 16 gears to
add in extra functionalities.  A gear is Red Hat’s
unit of measurement for compute, bandwidth, memory and storage so
the paid tier adds in support for the entire stack below the
application code.

Whilst the rebadging is quite straightforward, it gets
more complex below the surface: with FreeShift you can only have
three ‘max gears’ before needing to upgrade to MegaShift. And
should you want to run Java EE 6, you have to add 3
cents more per gear-hour on top of those prices, which could baffle
some, as shown by this Twitter conversation:

Issac Roth, with the curious title of PaaS Master at Red Hat,
told InternetNews that people have been asking
about the pricing for months.

“We’re going to keep the same level of resources that we give to
people today in the developer preview and have a tier called
FreeShift,” Roth said. “There might have been some people that
didn’t believe we would continue to offer a free service.”

Naive people surely? Everything’s got a price. Whilst he
was unwilling to provide specifics, Roth even revealed plans to
have an even higher advanced tier, dubbed Petashift, although we
wouldn’t see this until next year. FreeShift is available now,
whilst MegaShift will be arriving in private beta form later in

We certainly think that a OpenShift shuffling makes sense from
an enterprise perspective – Red Hat’s latest advances across the
board make it a necessity. The issue arises when you continually
shake things up due to developer demand, causing confusion from
those you’ve already attracted. Every PaaS should be proactive to
industry change, we’re just worried OpenShift runs the risk of
attempting too much all at once.

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