Red Hat has introduced CloudForms 4.0, and the cloud management platform can now manage cloud resources in Microsoft Azure and picks up container support.
Both features are indispensable for any cloud-management system. The former is necessary because of Azure's status as a top-tier cloud offering, and the latter because containers are involved in nearly every aspect of software use, especially cloud deployment.
CloudForms provides a management interface for a variety of public and private cloud services. Apart from the newly added Azure (and Hyper-V), it also manages Red Hat's OpenShift PaaS and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, OpenStack, VMware, and Amazon Web Services.
For the time being, container support is limited to managing containers in Red Hat products. Red Hat says that CloudForms 4 "[gives] customers visibility into workloads running in OpenShift Enterprise by Red Hat and the infrastructure hosting OpenShift."
Support for Azure in CloudForms seemed inevitable in the wake of Red Hat and Microsoft promising closer integration with each other. For Red Hat, it meant making Red Hat Enterprise Linux into a first-class citizen in Azure; for Microsoft, it meant having its newly open-sourced .Net framework enjoy a more prominent place within Red Hat's offerings.
It's not yet clear when CloudForms will deal with Microsoft's container systems, both Docker-like Windows Server containers and Microsoft's Hyper-V Containers. Given the close collaboration between the two companies, it seems inevitable -- though Microsoft's container projects are still very much in the to-be-delivered stage.
CloudForms was recently repackaged as part of a larger Red Hat Cloud Suite for Applications, alongside OpenShift and OpenStack, for tighter integration between all three products.