Looking back at the various releases of virtualization and cloud management applications that we have evaluated, we believe Red Hat has come a long way. As a company they have focused on adjusting to evolving market demands and changing perception of “open-source” in the industry. From our recent evaluations of our Red Hat’s virtualization platform capabilities and Red Hat’s Cloud Management Suite we believe the company is headed in the right direction.

Based on the open source ManageIQ project, CloudForms is Red Hat’s multi-cloud management platform. It enables policy-controlled self-service for consumers of IT services, designed to address the usual aspects of resource management, governance / compliance, financial controls, capacity planning and more.
With its 4.5 release, CloudForms has jumped 3 places in our evaluation and breaks into the top tier of CMP solutions, tying for the 4th spot! 
Access the online CMP comparison (with 100+ evaluation points) HERE

What’s New?

Arguably the key enhancements with the 4.5 release is the introduction of ‘Ansible Automation Inside’, providing the simple but powerful ‘human readable’ automation language now directly from within CloudForms. This is designed to make CloudForms more easily deployable across an organization in various scenarios and provide users with simple integration points for the automation of their service management.

The release also features several enhancements to its multi-cloud management capability, including a new storage provider for Amazon Web Services, Synchronization of AWS and CloudForms tags, AWS CloudWatch event collection, as well as enhancements to OpenStack management (details below). 

Providing additional management capabilities for the OpenShift Container Platform was another focus area for the release. The product now offers visualization of live ad hoc metrics, relationships between containers and persistent storage, and new management roles for container operators and platform storage.

[block]5[/block]Ansible Automation Inside

Ansible Automation is leveraged within Red Hat CloudForms to provide automation Playbooks for Service, Policy and Alert actions. 

  • Services allow a Playbook to back a CloudForms service catalog item.
  • Control Actions mean that CloudForms policies can execute Playbooks as actions based on events from providers.
  • Control Alerts set a Playbook to launch prompted by a CloudForms alert. 

Amazon AWS

Red Hat CloudForms adds Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) persistent block storage volumes for use with Amazon EC2 instances to CloudForms. This includes breaking out AWS storage as its own provider, with the following capabilities:

  • Inventory: Add a new Amazon EBS provider as part of an Amazon EC2 account with the ability to see the inventory, including all volumes associated to the Amazon EC2 account
  • Provisioning: Ability to provision EBS volumes in an Amazon EC2 account.

This release also adds AWS CloudWatch event integration, with the ability to react to CloudWatch events from Red Hat CloudForms.

OpenShift Container Platform

  • Live ad-hoc metrics: CloudForms can query Heapster metrics from the user interface, and graph metrics from the last Hawkular collection.
  • Inventory update: CloudForms shows relationships between containers and persistent volumes.
  • Roles: Operator and Administrator roles have been added for container management.
  • Dashboard widgets and reporting: CloudForms includes OpenShift Container Platform dashboard widgets, and enhanced reporting out of the box.
  • SSL support is included to enable connecting to OpenShift Container Platform providers more securely. 

OpenStack Cloud

  • Tenant and user mapping: Tenant to object relationships (network and storage) are retained when syncing tenants between OpenStack and CloudForms.
  • Tasks and notifications: OpenStack day two operations tasks are shown in the Tasks area of the user interface, while asynchronous tasks use notifications.
  • Replacement of Ceilometer: Ceilometer’s eventing technology is replaced by Panko.
  • Networking: The inventory of OpenStack floating IPs are now collected and updated in the VMDB.

Middleware Management

  • Ability to limit Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform server operations
  • Ability to show an event when a new JBoss EAP server is connected
  • Ability to show relationships in JBoss EAP server summary page and in Topology view, if CloudForms is monitoring OpenShift and JBoss EAP servers.
  • SSL support included to connect the middleware provider.

Red Hat Virtualization

  • SSL/TLS support is included to enable connecting to Red Hat Virtualization providers more securely.

You can find all details in the Red Hat CloudForms 4.5 release notes here. You can also check out the detailed evaluation and print your free report in our updated CMP comparison.

We believe that with CloudForms 4.5, Red Hat has improved the flexibility and functionality of its multi-cloud management, helping to provide end users with a more effective policy-controlled lifecycle management solution for their IT resources. We’re looking forward to the 4.6 release!

WhatMatrix CMP Category Consultant – Ephraim Baron

Comments, suggestions and contributions to this independent CMP comparison are as always welcome – simply drop us a mail or get in touch via twitter or linkedin

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Ephraim Baron

I've been a technologist for a long, long time. My IT experience spans many areas including servers, networks, storage, data centers, virtualization, and cloud computing. The rapid pace of change is what I love about IT - it's not just a job, it's an obsession.

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