Red Hat automates Java dev in OpenShift PaaS

Red Hat (s RHT) is bringing more cloud-based automation to Java developers in an update to its OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service. The update integrates Red Hat’s JBoss tool suite and supports two popular open-source tools that will shift more of the programming workload to the cloud itself, the company said.

There’s a foot race among Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) players like OpenShift, launched last May,’s Heroku, (s CRM) VMware’s Cloud Foundry (s VMW)  and Microsoft Azure (s MSFT) to provide full multi-language support and more automation to software developers. Red Hat, because of its provenance as an enterprise open-source software company, is bound to get a look from corporate developers with an open-source preference.

While this update focuses primarily on Java (s java) developers, OpenShift also supports PHP, Python, Perl and Ruby programming languages.

The three big-ticket items in this OpenShift update are integration of the JBoss integrated development environment (IDE); support for Maven, an open-source technology that allows automated dependency resolution; and support for Jenkins, a tool that lets the cloud automatically perform software compilation.

The basic takeaway for developers: They can code their application in the familiar JBoss IDE but then use OpenShift to build, deploy and scale that application.

“You can code the way you want. You can work directly from your IDE and then hit one-click deploy into the cloud, where a lot of this work can now be done for you,” said Issac Roth, PaaS master for Red Hat and CEO of Makara, a PaaS company Red Hat bought a year ago and which forms the basis of OpenShift. Programmers typically have to log into multiple software libraries, fetch what they need, and with each change they have to recompile. Much of that process — including onerous dependency resolutions — can now be offloaded to OpenShift, he said.

These changes make OpenShift more enterprise-ready, said Jay Lyman, senior analyst at The 451 Group. “Although much of this work will be done in test and dev this will let developers take more advantage of cloud resources.”   Most programmers have a favorite language for most of their work, but typically also use a bunch of secondary tools for specific tasks. “If you’re going to pick one tool Java’s a big one since there is so much Java work out there,” Lyman said.

“We’re still very early on in the PaaS realm,” he noted.  “The keys [to success] will be openness and flexibility and I see Red Hat and VMware CloudFoundry as the ones to watch. Heroku, clearly, is also important in the (s crm) context.”

As enterprises evaluate the PaaS model, one big question is whether they will be able to run both new and legacy applications in the cloud. OpenShift promises they can do both.