It’s been more than two years since IBM acquired Red Hat and about a year since Paul Cormier was made CEO of the company. While the takeover has benefited both organisations, both Paul and Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM spoke strongly about the neutrality of Red Hat in dealing with its customers and working with other vendors.
Speaking to DSA in a media session during the recent Red Hat Summit, Paul reminded us once again that this was the hallmark of the deal from day one.
“It has been good for Red Hat and IBM but most of all it’s good for our customers. We treat them (IBM) like a partner. Red Hat is separately run. We determine our own road map, lifecycle, product, pricing, what we do and what we don’t do, etc. Red Hat as a company is still 100% intact just as before the acquisition. There is no push from IBM on where we go as a company”.
Paul also added that if they embedded a deal with IBM, there would be a price. But this is also the same terms they provide to every other partner.
“In a hybrid world, it’s all about choice for our customers. If we don’t show to our partners every day that we are not favouring anyone, the balance will be off. We feel we need to show everyone that it’s really neutral. The fact that Arvind believes this is the best model shows that IBM understands this well”, added Paul.
As such, we asked Paul what he thought about IBM’s decision to build software on OpenShift to which Paul felt that it was a bold decision. He explained that even before the acquisition, IBM planned to make all software container-based. IBM already had their own container-based platform with their own Linux. When Red Hat came in, they just moved it and standardised it towards Red Hat OpenShift.
“I think this is where ISVs are going. We have a huge ISV certifying program now with our containers because this is the future. We actually help with our platform. The clouds are different from each other. If every ISV had to figure out how to run their application on every cloud, it’s a lot of work. As they move to containers, we can be the platform that takes them to the hybrid world. A lot of ISVs see value in this and want to take this journey with us”, explained Paul.
Enabling Managed Cloud Services
During the summit, Red Hat also announced its open hybrid cloud technology portfolio with new managed cloud service offerings. The new services which include Red Hat OpenShift API Management, Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka and Red Hat OpenShift Data Science are tightly integrated with Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated and help mitigate the operational complexities of highly complex modern IT environments without sacrificing developer productivity, providing a common set of capabilities across the full breadth of the open hybrid cloud and on multiple clouds.
By adopting a managed approach to key application, data and platform cloud services, leading organisations are driving new innovation, reducing operational overhead and achieving greater scalability for their cloud-native application environments with Red Hat managed cloud services.
“Right now, the cloud operators are the ones with the most experience in operating large scale clouds. But we think that every CIO is now going to be a cloud operator. Our customers are now running about 5 different clouds and in the future, they can be running up to ten clouds. With multiple clouds now being part of the CIO’s data centre, they’re going to have to take into account how they are going to develop, operate and secure that at scale”, explained Paul.
But are managed cloud services really the answer to addressing the issues of skills shortage and managing new technologies?
For Paul, it really depends on the customers. He pointed out that for some applications and for many reasons, customers might not want to have their own people handling it and keep the platform running with Red Hat. But most customers normally have a mix.
“It all depends on the application. For small customers, it may be all in. However, it is not the norm we see now. It is really application dependent. Customers still need to obtain new and own skills. They need to understand how to work with partners in this set of technologies. This is why we are working with Boston University to fill in the skillsets for the industry”, said Paul.
Red Hat and Boston University have in fact expanded their collaboration to help fund education and research for open source projects, communities and hybrid cloud operations. Red Hat is donating software subscriptions, valued at USD $551.9 million, to the university while also announced a renewed and expanded commitment of USD $20 million to support research and deepen collaboration under the Red Hat Collaboratory at the university.
“Combining Red Hat’s vast knowledge in open-source and hybrid cloud technologies with Boston University’s leadership in combining research and technology to solve real-world industry challenges, this partnership lays a foundation to speed breakthroughs in cloud-based technologies and related open-source projects, while building critical skills needed in the next wave of IT professionals”, said Paul.
As Kubernetes continues to gain momentum, a lot of other tech vendors are also now looking to offer it. For Paul, he believes that Red Hat has been doing their development completely openly and upstream since the day they started.
He pointed out that open-source has become so mainstream that people often confuse projects and products. Open-source is a development model. Red Hat is an enterprise software company with an open-source development model. Kubernetes is a project Red Hat developed with others. OpenShift is a product that consumes Kubernetes, Linux, many projects in Linux and other open-source projects to form a platform that is a product.
“It is all Linux and we are the leaders in it. If you want to be a Kubernetes vendor, you need to do your own Linux. Kubernetes is tightly integrated with Linux, as they come hand in hand. If any vendor says they want to ship their product with Kubernetes, they also have to become a commercial Linux vendor overnight. We have been leaders in commercial Linux for 20 years. We are going to use our experience from upstream end-to-end to deployment and win against the competition. I don’t know of any other company like us, other than us, that puts 100% of their development open and gives every single line of code back to the community”, concluded Paul.