Mindful that the move to hybrid cloud is accelerating – and that business priorities are increasingly driving IT buying decisions – Red Hat executives at Red Hat Summit 2017 highlighted the business impact of adopting their portfolio of open-source software products.
The focus at this year’s Summit: Providing developers and IT operators with tools that reduce the number of individual steps needed to complete many repetitive tasks. Integration of functionality, and unified consoles for monitoring and management are intended to reduce operational costs for the business. This approach addresses the “Dev” and the “Ops” personnel within an IT organization – both of which impact overall operational efficiency.
Security, availability, and consistency – the need to address all of these brings home the point that hybrid clouds must extend the reliability of enterprise IT into the cloud-computing world. Bringing those attributes to cloud development and deployment tools is a high priority for Red Hat, which is already widely used in enterprise and cloud environments.
Patterns of Adoption Are Changing
Hybrid cloud adoption, linking on-premises enterprise IT with off-premises public clouds, is becoming widely accepted among IT and business managers. This push into the cloud has been attributed to the process of digital transformation to change their business model, and to compete more effectively. Businesses want to gain IT flexibility and business agility, as their industries (e.g., retail, financial services, healthcare) cope with dramatic change.
Business managers are highly influential in making new technology decisions, requiring their buy-in to technology adoption. In large businesses, their approval is absolutely essential to hybrid-cloud planning and deployments. In small/medium business (SMB), the decision to push more workloads to public cloud providers is often driven by cost and operational priorities.
Without support from business managers, IT organizations will find it increasingly difficult to secure the funding for next-generation systems and software. Enterprise customers describing their Red Hat deployments at the Summit conference included the Disney/Pixar animation studio, the Amadeus airline reservation system, and Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport.
Products Aimed at Dev and Ops
At the Summit, many of Red Hat’s announcements focused on simplification and ease of use for two main roles within IT organizations: software developers and IT operations personnel. Integration of functionality, and unified consoles for monitoring and management are intended to reduce operational costs for the business.
With this approach, developers and operations personnel can each focus on their primary tasks, working more effectively, as IT silos are removed from the infrastructure, and workloads move to available systems and storage resources. One key example: The encapsulation of applications in Linux containers has the practical effect of separating application development from infrastructure deployment, via abstraction. By leveraging containers, IT organizations can move applications through the dev/test/production pipeline more quickly.
Here are three product categories addressed by Red Hat announcements at the Summit:
- Containers. The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.5 allows OpenShift containers, based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to work with open-source Kubernetes orchestration software and Docker. The Linux containers provide a runtime for applications code inside containers that also leverages technology from other widely adopted open-source projects.
- OpenShift.io. The platform combines the features of several widely adopted development tools, helps teams manage work items through the development process, and prompts developers with code options as they build new cloud-ready applications. OpenShift.io uses browser-based IDE and Eclipse Che.
- Ansible. Red Hat is extending Ansible, Red Hat’s agentless automation tool that provides automation services to the full portfolio of Red Hat solutions.Red Hat acquired Ansible and its technology in 2015. Ansible is now integrated with Red Hat CloudForms cloud management platform, Red Hat Insights proactive analytics, and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.
The greatest opportunities for growth, according to Red Hat executives, are in app/dev collaboration tools, middleware and cloud management software. The $2.5 billion company plans to accelerate its top-line revenue growth by leveraging its partnerships with hardware systems, software, services and cloud service providers (CSPs).
Partnering with Cloud Service Providers (CSPs)
As it grows its ecosystem, Red Hat in deepening its partnerships with cloud service providers (CSPs) as customers. Certainly, many enterprise applications will remain on-premises — inside the firewalls of data centers — due to security and data governance concerns. However, the adoption of cloud computing is increasing, with more enterprise workloads migrating to CSPs, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Red Hat announced a strategic alliance with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Red Hat wants to tap the deep reservoir of AWS developers as it grows its sales of OpenShift tools, JBoss middleware, and RHEV virtualization. Through this alliance, Red Hat will natively integrate access to AWS services into the Red Hat OpenShift Container platform. This gives hybrid cloud developers a new way to gain direct access to AWS cloud services, including Amazon Aurora, Amazon EMR, Amazon Redshift, Amazon CloudFront, and Elastic Load Balancing.
Other CSP relationships are important, because many customers are moving to multi-cloud strategies. Red Hat is working with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) on open-source projects, including the ongoing development of Kubernetes orchestration software. Linux containers support multiple programming languages, and provide a runtime environment for applications built on microservices. This allows them to scale up by scaling “out” in a style originally developed by CSPs for hyperscale applications.
Microsoft Azure and Red Hat delivered at least two joint Summit presentations in Boston, showing their increasing co-presence in the cloud computing world. It is tangible evidence of the way that the cloud has evolved, with Linux and Windows workloads running side-by-side, both on-premises and off-premises, on the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Business Objectives and Enterprise Clouds
Red Hat sees its future opportunity in addressing containers and micro-services for end-to-end application development for hybrid cloud. Another focus for the company is improving cloud management for customers that are migrating more business logic into the cloud. Red Hat plans to build on the work it has done with early adopters of hybrid cloud — and to make it easier for new customers and prospects to consider migrating more business workloads to hybrid clouds.
Specifically, three key ingredients for expanding Red Hat’s total available market are: developing container technology, building on DevOps toolsets and automating cloud management. That is why the business marketing messages are so important for the opportunity that Red Hat is embracing as it plans to grow its top-line revenue in 2017.