Another open source vendor has tossed its hat into the OpenStack ring. A red hat, to be more precise. Now in preview release, Red Hat's (NYSE: RHT) own OpenStack distribution based on the open source OpenStack framework for building and management public, private and hybrid IaaS clouds.

The news that Red Hat was planning on launching its own OpenStack distribution broke back in April when a GigaOm report let the news slip. Red Hat joining the OpenStack community seems like a case of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." It's no secret that the vendor was facing increasing competition from the OpenStack community, and now it really is official the company that helped build the Linux empire back in the good ol' days has seen the OpenStack light.

Of course, Red Hat has had its share of contributions to the OpenStack community and was recognized as the third overall contributor to OpenStack at the OpenStack Summit 2012 in April.

The company is currently looking for feedback from its early customers and expects to launch a fully supported OpenStack release in 2013. That gives Red Hat at least several months to gather customer feedback, test and tweak its distribution.

"Our current productization efforts are focused around hardening an integrated solution of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenStack to deliver an enterprise-ready solution that enables enterprises worldwide to realize infrastructure clouds," said Brian Stevens, CTO and vice president of worldwide engineering at Red Hat, in a prepared statement.

It should be interesting to see what Red Hat has up its sleeve and how it plans to leverage the rest of its hybrid cloud portfolio of products, which include Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat CloudForms, Red Hat Storage and Red Hat OpenShift PaaS.

As partners and customers kick the tires of Red Hat's OpenStack distribution, they should keep in mind it's in its early stages and is currently unsupported by the vendor. Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, the preview version of the OpenStack distribution is available for download now.