Here’s one for the books. RedHat, the bastion of enterprise Linux has just announced that it will be supporting Microsoft .NET and SQL Server capabilities on its OpenShift PaaS. How times have changed, we all remember a little over a decade ago when then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declared that Linux is a cancer. These days open source and proprietary sit side by side and the world has moved on from such myopic dogma.

Anyway – RedHat is collaborating with little known Uhuru software as part of a community-driven adjunct to OpenShift Origin. Origin is the open source project which sits behind RedHat’s own commercial OpenShift offerings. Uhuru itself was formed a couple of years ago by a couple of ex Microsoft executives. To date however the company doesn’t seem to have gained much traction, indeed only a day before the OpenShift announcement Uhuru had made all of its code available on the platform of OpenShift’s arch-rival, Cloud Foundry.

This isn’t the first time that an open source PaaS embracing .NET has made the news – a couple of years ago Tier3 (since acquired by CenturyLink/Savvis) introduced Iron Foundry, a project that created components to allow .NET applications to run in Cloud Foundry. Iron Foundry doesn’t seem to have gone very far, currently sitting in “incubation” awaiting merging into the core Cloud Foundry core.

With this OpenShift news, existing OpenShift users can use the tools they currently use for managing Linux apps with .NET. On the other side of the picture, WIndows users now have the ability to work within the OpenShift PaaS. Who would have though that a comfortable combination like that would have been possible?

With both OpenShift and Cloud Foundry folks claiming PaaS dominance, it’s hard to look past the bluster in all these announcements. It’s also hard to look past the fact that it is often licensing issues that create the barrier when it comes to using .NET applications in a PaaS environment.

The bottom line for me is that as a exceedingly well-funded and resourced project, if there was sufficient customer demand to support .NET, Cloud Foundry would have pushed Iron Foundry to the mainstream before now. They don’t seem to have done so and that would indicate user apathy. The bigger question here is the long term opportunity and what it means for the future of both Cloud Foundry and OpenShift. Both companies have a difficult path to navigate to get PaaS in the mainstream and as one developer intimately involved with the PaaS world put it to me:

I don’t see the funding, support or impetus to make the broken OpenShift parts right and make it more solid/scalable. They both have a long road, it looks like Cloud Foundry is oriented toward that long road.

Watch this space….

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Iron Foundry hasn’t achieved traction because it was never completed. Since both Cloud Foundry and OpenShift have been linux-only, it’s not surprising that early adopters have focused on proving the benefits of PaaS with a linux and Java focus. Red Hat is the leader in Open Source, and is a widely respected, well run business. They wouldn’t be investing here if there wasn’t significant demand. Likewise, Uhuru sees significant unmet demand, and we’re pleased to Open Source our technology, with confidence that it will be widely used.

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