A booming fourth quarter in sales closed a $2.4 billion year for Red Hat. And sales projections for a new fiscal year helped boost Hatter stock 5 percent in after-hours trading Monday after the Open Source giant and Linux leader upped quarterly sales by 16 percent year-over-year.

In a conference call, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst says booming sales for cloud-related technology provides a big boost. So much so that he says Red Hat is now the “Red Hat of OpenStack” just as Red Hat is the dominate brand for Linux and Open Source in general.

To help understand Whitehurst’s meaning, here’s a definition of OpenStack from the OpenStack Foundation:

OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.

Whitehurst coined the term after taking a question from analyst Raimo Lenschow about Red Hat’s recent cloud-related deals with HP and IBM and Red Hat’s emergence as a product of choice for companies wanting to increase on-premise cloud operations as opposed to public clouds such as Amazon Web Services.

“Jim it was interesting to see the partnerships with HP and IBM this quarter,” Lenschow asked.

“Can you talk a little bit about what you see in that OpenStack and that whole OpenStack community and the evolution there? Couple of quarters ago, we were all like maybe OpenStack is not that hot and interesting because in the way that’s – it seems to be changing now. Can you guys kind of help us a little bit to understand this?”

“Yes look, I think a few quarters ago there were a lot of people thinking that OpenStack was going to be their savior against public cloud and OpenStack is a scale-out private infrastructure. It’s not directly competitive with a public cloud and since the public cloud offers a lot of other services,” Whitehurst replied, according to a transcript provided by financial news site SeekingAlpha.

” And so, I think a lot of people misconstrued what OpenStack is and was. So we’re now starting to see a more pragmatic view of OpenStack and people who need to have a scale on-premise infrastructure OpenStack is really the only alternative. We now have over 500 customers running OpenStack. We have a lot of very good large deal traction.

“I think the other thing that people are finding out is there needs to be a Red Hat of OpenStack, right. You need to have a vendor that does certification and confidently allow both hardware and software vendors to participate in the ecosystem. So I believe Red Hat is emerging as the Red Hat of OpenStack. So a lot of the traditional other people in the IT ecosystem and the same way we work with them on RHEL [Red Hat Enterprise Linux, its big seller], want to work with us on OpenStack. …

“Deals with IBM again serving customers who want to have the consistency of experience they have with RHEL and again with OpenStack across the whole set of deployment models. So, I think we’re really starting to see growing traction with OpenStack as Red Hat is emerging as the Red Hat of OpenStack.”

Read the full transcript at: