Red Hat on cloud futures and trends

  • With Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI) model, OSS vendor confident it can support IT organisations as they evolve
  • Notes that OpenStack has over 180 participating companies and 400 contributing developers

Red Hat on cloud futures and trendsMORE enterprises are making the transition to cloud-based infrastructures in the quest for more agile IT environments that better meet today’s business needs.
 
In a nod to rising demand and need for flexibility in pricing, open source enterprise vendor Red Hat recently announced the pricing and availability for its Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.
 
Damien Wong (pic), general manager for Red Hat Asean, said that with the newly introduced Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI) model and a single subscription of three component technologies -- Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation (RHEV), Red Hat CloudForms and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform -- the company is very confident that it will be able to support IT organisations as they evolve.
 
In an email interview with Digital News Asia (DNA), Wong went into further detail about the company’s confidence in its products and what trends will be shaping the industry in the months to come.

DNA: How confident is Red Hat in enticing new customers in a space already crowded with players such as VMware and Microsoft?

Wong: With the newly introduced RHCI model, a single subscription of three component technologies -- RHEV, Red Hat CloudForms, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform -- we are very confident that we will be able to support IT organisations as they evolve.
 
RHCI provides organisations with infrastructure options suitable for today’s traditional applications and those suitable for future cloud application styles. With RHCI, they can move to new application architectures on their terms – at their own pace, with their own IT policies and under their control.
 
RHCI sets itself apart from other players in the market as its integration provides deep and analytic insight into capacity and usage, policy-based workload, and resource management, automation, and orchestration, unifying life cycle management for multiple hypervisor and cloud technologies.
 
This managed virtualisation solution adds value to an organisation’s existing virtualisation investments, providing high-level manageability and services to internal customers. This comes on top of using the power of open technologies to accelerate an organisation’s virtualisation adoption towards a private, cloud-ready infrastructure.
 
Additionally, Red Hat has a strong team contributing to the development of OpenStack. With over 180 participating companies and 400 contributing developers, a total of six software products were released over the course of two years. We are certain that our OpenStack offering caters to industry demands and we are confident that the plans we have set in place for it will turn it into a profitable business.
 
DNA: Red Hat’s pricing model is certainly attractive, especially in a cost-conscious region such as Asia Pacific. However analysts have noted that a "lack of integration between the software layers in the stack may be sticking point for firms already considering a VMware-based alternative." What is Red Hat’s response to such observations by industry analysts?

Wong: RHCI enables organisations to build and manage private clouds while providing a ramp to a highly scalable public-cloud-like infrastructure. As organisations migrate from traditional virtualisation deployments to cloud architectures, the focus is shifting from just the hypervisor to the entire stack of cloud software, which includes Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud system software and hybrid cloud management.
 
Red Hat's new solution is well positioned to cater to the needs of the industry as customers start evaluating technologies like OpenStack for the cloud.
 
The promise of OpenStack is rapid iterative development and test cycles, the ability to deploy systems in minutes, not days or weeks, and unprecedented levels of scale-out that are primarily made possible by the administrative economies associated with automated deployment infrastructure. Providing this level of operational efficiency in an enterprise-consumable manner is the goal of the OpenStack platform.
 
DNA: What does the company have in the pipeline to better address such concerns?
 
We have the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network and the RDO Community to further reach out to organisations and communities – paying close attention to their changing needs and challenges they face.
 
Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network is essentially a global ecosystem of technology and service partners aimed to accelerate the adoption of RHCI solutions.
 
With a multi-tiered programme designed for third-party commercial companies that offer hardware, software and services for customers to implement cloud infrastructure solutions powered by OpenStack, we’re able to build an ecosystem of technology partners with solutions that have been tested, certified and supported, an important part of establishing customer confidence in Red Hat OpenStack.
 
Responding to this need, a core element of the programme is a certification process for technology partners to integrate and validate their solutions around Red Hat OpenStack.
 
The programme offers partners the opportunity to gain the necessary expertise with Red Hat OpenStack technologies, as well as key resources they need to test, certify and publish their solutions.
 
As for the RDO Community, it’s basically a freely available, community-supported distribution of OpenStack that runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora and their derivatives, offering a pure upstream OpenStack experience with the latest stable release from http://www.openstack.org/, packaged, integrated and easy to deploy on Red Hat platforms.
 
The community at http://www.openstack.redhat.com/ offers the opportunity to interact with other users of OpenStack on Red Hat platforms, to share knowledge and build capacity.
 
RDO brings the core OpenStack components namely Nova, Glance, Keystone, Cinder, Quantum, Swift, Horizon and incubating projects Heat, for cloud application orchestration; and Ceilometer, for resource monitoring and metering. As for its installation, it is made easy with the Red Hat-developed installation tool, PackStack.
 
DNA: In the last six to 12 months, what has been the rate of uptake like in organisations looking to upgrade their infrastructure to an open stack or cloud-enabled architecture?

Wong: Nearly all of today’s major public clouds were built on Linux, that we are sure. While we do not have the statistics right now to share, we do know that more regional CIOs (chief information officers) are increasing their spending on public cloud services and technologies – up to an increase of 50% in spending, estimated to be US$7.5 billion.
 
We’ve also seen an increase of organisaitons' adoption of Red Hat’s open source solutions as migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux from RISC-based UNIX allows them to free up budget by significantly lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) and resources to focus on their biggest challenges, instead of maintaining the status quo. The recent launch of Red Hat OpenStack RDO enables easier adoption of OpenStack.
 
DNA: Do share an update on the progress of Red Hat’s investments in its partner ecosystem.
 
Wong: Globally, Red Hat’s channel has grown tremendously over the past four years and the channel momentum has contributed to total company annual revenue that exceeded US$1.3 billion over the last financial year. Asia Pacific has played a significant role in contributing to this, and as the IT landscape continues to evolve and create new opportunities for partners, Red Hat has implemented core partner programme enhancements and investments designed to support and reward its partners.
 
These programmes are the Refreshed Global Partner Training Curriculum and Red Hat Partner Demo System.
 
We’d also like to share some updates on the upcoming Red Hat APAC 2013 Partner Conference. Set to take place in Bangkok, Thailand from Sept 10-13, this conference will provide a platform for executives to engage with Red Hat’s technology experts and top business partners.
 
With the theme ‘Stronger Together’, the event will focus on the value of Red Hat technologies and collaboration to drive growth and expand business opportunities. This conference, in other words, is an avenue to network with executives and representatives from our VARs (value-added resellers), solution providers, distributors, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), ISVs (independent software vendors) and SIs (system integrators), giving businesses the opportunity to expand their horizons and create new income streams.
 
We believe that businesses will continue to adopt open source solutions as the mainstream technology that not only liberates resources, but, at the same time, provide an IT infrastructure that is secure, robust and agile.
 
Red Hat has been working closely with its partners in Asia Pacific to reach out to local customers, creating an ecosystem that is supported by both parties. We’ve attained success in many markets including Malaysia. We understand that supporting our channel is critical to Red Hat’s ability to deliver enterprise-ready, reliable, open source solutions to our customers.
 
Our partners are an extension of Red Hat, and by investing in resources that our partners need to meet local customer demands, we hope to position them for success.

The ICT industry is experiencing a paradigm shift as companies migrate to cloud-based solutions with their services becoming more of a commodity. It is crucial for the cloud service providers to standardise on a technology set, such as open source, which can enable the most efficient and cost effective operations.
 
More and more service providers are now leveraging open source for their technology stacks, which enable them to build Centres of Excellence (COEs) around the different products while keeping the TCO low.
 
With Red Hat’s alliances, partners are more broadly classified as ISVs, OEMs, solution providers and such.
 
DNA: In which industry verticals in the region is Red Hat seeing the most interest?
 
Wong: Red Hat’s global channel business has grown over the past four years with channel bookings at 53% of total bookings in FY08 (2008 fiscal year) to 60% in FY12 and most recently, 62% for FY13. In the latest earnings results, Red Hat achieved the 45 consecutive quarter of revenue growth.
 
Red Hat now provides innovative solutions to more than 90% of the Fortune 500 companies. Globally and in Asean, we have seen a consistent growth of interest in all verticals including financial services, technology and media, telecommunications, service providers, and government entities.
 
DNA: What kind of industry trends does Red Hat foresee taking shape in the coming months, specifically in the area of cloud computing?
 
Wong: Some of the industry trends that we see forming up in the coming months are the need for product stacks; increased security concerns among enterprises and big data’s demonstrable ROI (return on investment).
 

Need for product stacks: Organisations are in need of a truly open framework for hosting cloud workload whilst operating on a platform that offers maximum flexibility and cost effectiveness. Enterprises want to be free from proprietary lock-in, allowing them to move to open technologies, all while maintaining their existing infrastructure investments.
 
Security concerns for enterprises: Malaysian enterprises need to relook at security holistically in order to comply with legal and regulatory environments such as mandating data protection and compliance with cyber-security standards. Organisations require products that will protect against a variety of threats, lower TCO and offer more streamlined management. Security for cloud and mobile will continue to remain high on the priority list for companies in 2013.
 
Malaysian government agencies are also open to opportunities to improve security, carve out costs, transparency, public participation and collaboration. According to FutureGov, Malaysian government organisations have consistently ranked above their regional peers over the last six years in the country’s annual benchmarking process which has tracked the project management, planning and vision of over 500 government agencies annually since 2007.
 
Big data shows demonstrable ROI: Big data projects are beginning to show demonstrable ROI. As with cloud, the definitions will mature, enabling better focus on delivering business value. This infrastructure that integrates with data from social media and open data sources will dramatically increase the demand for management and security. The risk of big data decision is much lower and the insights big data provides will increase IT’s leadership on innovation.
 
With the exponential explosion of data – especially from unstructured sources like social media, there is a growing need to harness all the information for strategic insights and business advantage. However, mining big data information continues to be challenging given that 90% of big data is unstructured (i.e. text, video, images, etc). Organisations that are able to understand, manage and analyse the data will have deeper and richer business insights.

Related Stories:

Red Hat announces OpenStack-powered offerings to deliver on open hybrid cloud vision

Red Hat beefs up Asia Pacific operations

Red Hat forges on, 44 straight quarters of revenue growth

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