By Carl Durrant, Senior Consultant, Avocado
Red Hat’s mission is clear – “To be the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors and partners creating better technology the open source way”. Today, we are facing some very complicated, global challenges. In addition, change on all vectors is accelerating on an exponential curve. As our shared and collective problems get bigger, our means of collaboration must evolve and become more sustainable on a larger scale. Open source is Red Hat’s strategic advantage and it is why they exist. They are a major creative force in the open source technology ecosystem. If it helps their customers and makes open source stronger – they do it. I like this philosophy. I believe that Red Hat’s play uniquely positions them to be the next defining technology company of the 21st century.
Ideas worth exploring
This was the 14th annual and largest Red Hat Summit to date with over 7,000 attendees, 36 keynote speakers and 325 breakout sessions. As my first Red Hat Summit, I was keen to see how the event would stack up against the other events I have attended in the big cities of the US. The theme “ideas worth exploring” spoke to the endless possibilities of open source and the idea that it is not just the technology but what people coming together do with it. There was a key emphasis on the partner and community ecosystem at the event. The opening keynote closed by encapsulating the Red Hat aspiration – “With our partners, we will make hybrid cloud the default in the enterprise.” This is already the reality in lots of organisations that were not born in the cloud, however the real play for Red Hat is getting their latest product OpenShift, a Kubernetes-based container management platform, as a centre piece for delivering an open, hybrid cloud. In concert with the wider ecosystem of Red Hat products, built upon our favourite Enterprise Linux, Red Hat have a very strong value proposition.
The platform for big ideas
Red Hat is the second largest open source contributor in the development of Kubernetes. At the event, there was a huge amount of energy and conversation around OpenShift. More and more enterprise workloads are being targeted for containerisation and are looking to the OpenShift product roadmap for support. As a result, Red Hat is strengthening their platform across many areas such as container-native storage and software-defined networking. Technical demos in the keynotes showcased applications delivered in highly available architectures across on-premise, Azure and AWS public clouds with simulated live ‘cloud-out’ failure – all running on OpenShift. The recent Red Hat purchase of CoreOS will only enhance Red Hat’s container Linux offering and OpenShift further.
One of the most interesting innovations I am excited about is the Kubernetes Operator Framework. Automation of operations on a platform like OpenShift with potential for scale and complexity is mandatory. I believe these automated operators will explode as a way to help with this challenge. Red Hat’s other products like Insights, enhance Ansible Tower and Satellite to provide data analytics and AI-driven systems management in a world that increasingly needs to stay in control.
Strength of the partner ecosystem
The partner keynote showcased some of Red Hat’s biggest partners including IBM, HP, Lenovo and Dell. They share common beliefs around hybrid cloud and the products and services they collaborate on. Throughout the event there were customer stories from large enterprises such as Nike and Cathay Pacific talking about how they have successfully used different combinations of Red Hat products to achieve their strategic goals of digital transformation. Technology change was as big a change as culture change.
One of biggest announcements made at the event was that through Red Hat’s partnership with Microsoft, Azure can now offer the first OpenShift-as-a-service (PaaS). Deutche bank is their first customer, running 12,000 containers across 3 regions.
Expanding the universe of open source
The event was full of inspirational stage performances. One of the most memorable was the young girl coding on stage on her 11th birthday. I joined the audience in the standing ovation. Co.Lab also highlighted the talent and passion coming from the next generation by teaching children to code. There was a certain energy in the room when listening to them talk about coding collaboratively with their friends on their projects. The traditional thoughts around technology are changing, increasing the diversity within the tech world. Skills are now being taught a lot younger… or am I just getting older?
The future is open
Many customer stories echoed the same message – they need to think, plan, move and execute faster. They are taking initiatives by building open capabilities and laying out a technology architecture built for change. Long-time customers highlighted the value of having Red Hat as a strategic technology provider to help them succeed. Too many organisations are not in this position leading to frustrated users and dissatisfied customers. Change is happening. Using Red Hat, you get innovation from open source combined with enterprise-grade support. They have a compelling mission driven from experiences in their own transformation and participating in open source communities.
In comparison to other events of its type, I felt there was a different feel overall. It wasn’t about how good Red Hat is or highlighting the latest and greatest feature to celebrate their 25th anniversary. It was that we were part of something bigger. My belief is that Red Hat’s open source business model is, and will, continue to help organisations catch the next wave of innovation to achieve the goals they aspire to. The Avocado team and I are excited to continue to utilise Red Hat to enable us to deliver for our clients, enabling them to achieve their business objectives for many years to come. Thank you Red Hat.