Red Hat rolls out the announcements at its annual summit

All the news that was the news from last week's Red Hat summit

Red Hat rolls out the announcements at its annual summit
Stephen Lawson

Last week open source company Red Hat held its annual summit. I didn't actually attended the event, but I took the opportunity to follow along virtually. Many of my analyst friends were there, and between their missives, some back-channel conversations and interaction with their AR/PR team, I got a pretty good handle on what was up.

This comes at an interesting time for Red Hat. Its original business, Red Hat Linux in all its flavors, is going well, but newer open-source initiatives (OpenStack, OpenShift, Docker, etc.) have muddied the waters and created a requirement for Red Hat to embrace different areas.

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Historically, I’ve found Red Hat a difficult organization to engage with. They seem to get a little prickly about criticism (whether constructive or not), and defensiveness seems to be something of a core operating model for them. That said, having a view of the event from a distance gives me a chance to tell it like I see it.

So, to wrap up the main announcements of note, Red Hat delivered the following (based on briefing materials they released):

  • OpenShift.io—A free, end-to-end, SaaS development environment for cloud-native apps built with popular open-source code for modern dev teams using the latest technology. Built from technologies such as Eclipse Che, OpenShift.io includes collaboration tools for remote teams to analyze and assign work. Code is automatically containerized and easily deployed to OpenShift.

  • Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes—Pre-built containerized runtimes for multi-language microservices (Spring Boot, Java EE, Eclipse MicroProfile, Eclipse Vert.x and Node.js) natively integrated with OpenShift. Working with Red Hat OpenShift Application Services (containerized middleware services running on OpenShift), Red Hat now offers a powerful combination to create, integrate, deploy and manage cloud-native applications.

  • Container Health Index—Not all containers are created or maintained equally. With the industry’s first Container Health Index, Red Hat is setting a new standard for enterprise-grade containers. The index inspects and grades all of Red Hat’s container products, as well as those from certified ISV partners, giving customers confidence that they are deploying containers that are secure, stable and supported. Red Hat will be certifying 20 ISV partner products within the next 90 days.

  • Red Hat Gluster Storage with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on AWS—A new solution to help customers achieve more consistent, software-defined storage for stateful applications.

My POV

There’s a lot to digest in all of this. So, let’s look for some key over-arching takeaways.

Red Hat is clearly doing a good job of thinking strategically about the commonalities within the different open-source initiatives with which it works. OpenShift.io, for example, seems to be tying together some discrete components in a good way. I’d also say, as an aside, that Openshift.io is a valuable offering to organizations with some particular traits.

There are a couple of ways to look at enterprise development teams. The first is to allow people and teams to use the tools they want—to give almost total flexibility (within certain constraints) and to let “a thousand flowers bloom.” Other organizations don’t like the notion of too much freedom but still want to offer their developers good tooling to do their jobs. For those organizations, OpenShift.io, offering as it does a consistent development environment, will be an appealing proposition.

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Perhaps even more interesting was the Amazon Web Services (AWS) announcement that sees Amazon’s offerings able to be utilized by applications running in OpenShift containers—be it on premises, in the public cloud or a combination of the two.

OpenShift, of course, offers organizations a way to run Docker containers, orchestrated via the Kubernetes project, on public or private clouds. This tie-up is an extension of previous AWS-friendly initiatives—previously, Red Hat allowed for JBoss Middleware availability as a supported service on AWS. This move extends it to OpenShift while also adding Red Hat support for customers deploying AWS services.

It is, to a certain extent, a further blurring of the lines between public and private clouds. It’s also a nice opportunity for AWS to get a perspective, at arms length, on the hybrid requirements of its customers—something that may come in handy for future developments.

Finally with its container health index offering, Red Hat further tries to position itself as the open source and container vendor of choice. In a complex and fraught world (as the world of containers certainly is), that can’t be seen as a bad thing.

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