Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is stepping up its commitment to the OpenStack movement for cloud computing offerings.

The Raleigh-based Linux software firm on Monday rolled out a preview version of its OpenStack version that runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 for enterprise networks. PC World reported that Red Hat already is working with some customers with the new offering.

“Red Hat delivers the next step in its plans for the industry’s only enterprise-ready OpenStack distribution with Red Hat’s award-winning commercial support, certified ecosystem of hardware and application vendors and leadership in delivering trusted open source clouds for organizations worldwide requiring enterprise-grade solutions and support,” Red Hat said in its announcement of the “Technology Preview” version.

Efforts to develop a true open source environment for “cloud computing” – one of the hottest information technology market segments today – were given a huge boost in two ways by Red Hat in April.

Red Hat at that time became an official member of the so-called OpenStack project in what was a huge endorsement for the developers, the original partners including NASA and Rackspace.

The project could deliver for cloud customers the same kind of entrepreneurial, jointly developed environment that corporate clients are choosing to utilize rather than proprietary “closed” systems in other enterprise applications. It’s being called the “OpenStack way.” 

Second, Red Hat’s decision helped financially. By become a platinum level supporter of the project, Red Hat will contribute $500,000, say media reports.

Even before the April announcements, Red Hat has been a very active contributor to OpenStack but had declined to become an official member due to concerns about how the organization would be governed. And for its lack of support, the Hatters have taken some criticism within the industry.

In a blog on Monday, Red Hat’s cloud computing team spelled out in detail its commitment to OpenStack as well as its Technology Preview version.

“Red Hat was actively involved in the project even before the foundation announcement; we are the #3 contributor to the current ‘Essex’release. This surprised some commentators given that it exceeded the contributions of vendors who had been louder about their alignment with the project. However, Red Hat’s relatively quiet involvement was fully in keeping with our focus on actual code contributions through upstream communities. With the formation of the OpenStack Foundation and its open governance policies, these contributions have only accelerated,” the Hatters wrote.

“In parallel, we’ve also begun the task of making OpenStack suitable for enterprise deployments. This means bringing the same systematic engineering and release processes to OpenStack that Red Hat has for products such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat CloudForms, and JBoss Enterprise Middleware. For example, these enterprise products have well-defined lifecycles over which subscriptions can deliver specific types and levels of support. Upgrade paths between product versions are established and tested. Products have hardware certifications for leading server and storage vendors, certification and support of multiple operating systems including Windows and the experience and personnel to provide round the clock SLAs [service level agreements].”

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