UPDATED 14:48 EST / APRIL 15 2014

Intel on open source: Software, hardware conversations must merge | #RHSummit

IntelDoug Fisher, VP & GM, Software Services Group, Intel, took a trip down the memory lane of being a part of the open source community since its beginning and discusses his takes on the matter with theCUBE co-hosts John Furrier and Stu Miniman, live from the 2014 Red Hat Summit.

“If I look back to when I first started in software, there was an almost unconscious separation about the work you did in software and hardware,” Fisher said.  “You can no longer have separate conversations. The conversation needs to be together,” the intimacy of the software and hardware is critical. “You have to have a combination of both.”

As far as Intel’s software strategy is concerned,  it hasn’t changed for the last 20 years. It is built on “looking at the layer of software and make sure customers take full advantage of what we’ve built,” Fisher reiterates.

Commenting on the evolution of open source, Fisher said Intel has always been “involved in every aspect of software,” with much of the innovation happening in the open source community. “Open source is a simple way to drive innovation into your device,” he said.

Where OpenStack is concerned, Fisher said Intel is “at the heart. My job is to ensure that all the great advancements we put into our platform, the capabilities, they all get exposed.”

OpenStack in turn provides the ability to gain further value and put it into the company’s solutions. “I work with the open source community to facilitate that,” one of the goals being to insure “OpenStack runs best on Intel architecture,” said Fisher.

Work in open source is critical, according to Fisher, as there are multiple operating environments that will be critical to data centers, saying Intel will “drive knowledge back into the advancements of our architecture.”

Intel’s strategy is built on “the desire to solve future problems we see going in into the marketplace,” explained Fisher. Virtualization is a great example, as Intel put VT technology in their platform. “We used open source to exploit that value and bring it to our customers.”

Open Source, a culture based on meritocracy

Comparing Intel’s past support for Linux with current open source community involvement, Fisher said that “the heart of what we do in open source has not changed. We were an early investor in Red Hat. Where it’s moved today, Linux is still at the heart of innovation. The game is still the same, the way you work in open source is still based on meritocracy and contributions.”

Commenting on the Red Hat model, Fisher said “it’s not important where the business model ends. Will you see open source being used to create value? Yes. Will companies be as successful as Red Hat? That remains to be seen. There is opportunity for everybody to use this business model.”

Asked how social media changed the game, Fisher said in a lot of areas, “the agile type software development is really taking hold. A lot of companies use that and have constant update capabilities. We make sure we’re building the infrastructure to help customers get these capabilities faster.”

“You are going to see advancement innovation with OpenStack,” Fisher explained. “It’s going to have to provide a capability where everybody can contribute in a common way.”

Fisher expects the industry will see a predominance of workloads that will be solved by a full enterprise solution. The focus will be on maturing and expanding the main, core element of OpenStack.

Cloudera Investment Impact to the Ecosystem
When asked about the investment in Cloudera from Furrier, Fisher made clear that despite the Cloudera announcement, Intel intends to drive innovation to other Hadoop distro providers and specifically not alienate competitors.

This means that the entire Hadoop ecosystem, including Cloudera’s competitors such as Hortonworks, Pivotal, IBM and MapR, will reap the benefits of Intel’s investment without giving up any equity.

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