RALEIGH — Red Hat and Oracle jointly announced Wednesday an expansion of their collaboration to bring Red Hat’s OpenShift platform into the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

The partnership is actually built on an announcement from January of this year that certified Red Hat’s OpenShift as a supported operating system in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). The extension of that partnership now allows RHEL to be deployed on OCI “bare metal servers” [a physical computer server that is used by one consumer, or tenant, only, says Wikipedia] and in the Oracle VMware Cloud Solution. The partnership will allow Oracle customers greater choice in application deployment solutions and make Oracle a strong contender for companies running Red Hat OpenShift solutions on-premise and seeking a move to the cloud.

Surprising Pivot

The announcement may seem to be an unexpected turn of events. The companies were recently sending barbed comments back and forth over Red Hat’s decision to end support of the public version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS.

In a July 10 blog post, titled “Keep Linux Open and Free— We Can’t Afford Not To” Edward Screven, Chief Corporate Architect, and Wim Coekaerts, Head of Oracle Linux Development recapped their history with RHEL and seemed to cast doubt on the interests of IBM – Red Hat’s parent company since 2019 – staying committed to open source.

Red Hat’s latest move ignites open source firestorm – some say it’s now ‘closed source’

In a move that seemed designed to attract unhappy Red Hat customers, the post also reiterated Oracle’s emphasis on open-source solutions.

“Oracle is committed to Linux freedom. Oracle makes the following promise: as long as Oracle distributes Linux, Oracle will make the binaries and source code for that distribution publicly and freely available. Furthermore, Oracle welcomes downstream distributions of every kind, community, and commercial.”

Since then, Oracle has aligned with other Linux providers including Alma Linux, Rocky Linux, and SUSE. Last month, Oracle teamed up with SUSE and CIQ (the company behind Rocky Linux) to announce a new formal group, the Open Enterprise Linux Association (OpenELA) dedicated to a “community repository for enterprise Linux sources.” These include forks of Red Hat’s RHEL product.

Continuing the war of words, the OpenELA site enthusiastically welcomes “all contributors (and ‘freeloaders’)” – a clear response to Red Hat’s use of the term, which has been acknowledged and defended by Red Hat’s VP of Core Platforms, Mike McGrath.

Red Hat momentum

Perhaps Oracle has reconsidered the value of an opposing position. Red Hat seems none the worse for the fallout of their CentOS decision. The company announced a major win earlier this week when Salesforces, the global leader of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions, decided to migrate their 200,000 systems from CentOS to RHEL 9.

Red Hat’s big win: Salesforce picks Hatters’ Enterprise Linux to ‘innovate faster’

Despite the numerous forks of RHEL and open-source enterprise Linux solutions that have popped up in recent months, it seems that at least some big companies have flinched at the idea of running the unsupported CentOS solution. Red Hat has pushed itself as the solution with blog posts that include instructions for the “direct path to a successful upgrade” via the “optimal path forward“ provided by RHEL.

Oracle may continue to publicly push on the open-source front, but – at least for now – it seems that the demand for Red Hat solutions continues to require partnership.