Igor from CloudLinux is a great guy, very smart and I exchanged emails with him before about different things in their products.
They actually do have experience already as they are building their packages directly from Red Hat sources for years. They are in an excellent position to do this both in experience and staff because that is what they do for years now.
Will they try to push their commercial offerings and products with this? Of course, but as long as they don’t bundle any of their tools and packages into the OS and it truly stays bit by bit with RHEL then I suspect plenty of hosting companies and other cloud providers with use them. Let’s hope they just don’t push the upselling too hard which can bother some.
This is course under the control of a commercial company, that might be a good thing or bad depending on how you see things as they can change their tune at anytime. You also have Oracle Linux, they also advertise free for ever (forever seems an overstatement…) and actually that seems to be the best option currently because they patch faster than CentOS when Red Hat releases a new security patch and in some ways is even better than Red Hat because it uses new kernels.
Now, personally I have my suspicious about using anything with the Oracle name on it, but so far its seems to work just fine for most people or even better than CentOS. In the end neither Oracle, nor CloudLinux can really lock you down because as long as their packages are the same, you can always switch back to something else in the future with a simple repo change. There is also Springdale and with this CentOS announcement I suspect other projects will also emerge.
There are huge companies using CentOS, you can expect more than one major company announcing their own Linux distro in the future. This is positive, because now we are going to get, not just CentOS but many RHEL based distros to pick, just like Ubuntu also has so many variants.