UPDATED 12:16 EDT / JULY 05 2022


Red Hat follows open-source game plan to drive the enterprise hybrid future

Red Hat Inc. Chief Executive Officer Paul Cormier recently offered two key points at the start of the company’s Summit in May: Companies will have to adopt a hybrid model whether desired or not, and open-source code is driving the future of information technology.

Cormier’s post captured the essence of Red Hat’s innovation game plan. As he noted, Red Hat had been on the hybrid bandwagon for a long time and its product portfolio has been geared to architect, develop and operate applications in the modern hybrid enterprise environment.

The hybrid model is extending deeply into major sectors of the economy, including the automotive industry. The company’s product announcements in May included an in-vehicle operating system that will support the software platform for General Motors Co.

“That’s a mini data center in every car,” Cormier said during an interview with SiliconANGLE at the Summit event. “You have to update in such a way that you stay within the safety protocols. That’s what hybrid is all about; it’s tying all of those pieces together.”

Linux as the link

Tying pieces together requires a common bond, and Linux is the foundation for Red Hat. A hybrid model where critical infrastructure must run in a wide range of environments needs an operating system that can work anywhere, and the company’s latest release for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL, during the Summit underscores the evolving role that Linux is playing in compute deployment outside of the datacenter.

Red Hat made a number of enhancements for RHEL 9 designed to address operational consistency in multiple infrastructures and provide stronger security. These included new features to manage RHEL from a single interface and detection protocols for failed updates to software containers. Additional tweaks involving RHEL 8.6 bolstered security through a jointly vetted RHEL and SAP HANA configuration that enabled SELinux, offering privilege escalation attack protection.

Another noteworthy step that Red Hat recently took with Linux is to join the Open Programmable Infrastructure Project in June. Launched by the Linux Foundation, OPI is an initiative to standardize software and APIs in support of data processing units, or DPUs, and intelligent processing units, or IPUs, for enterprise datacenters. Red Hat was joined by Intel Corp., Nvidia Corp., Marvell Technology Inc., Dell Technologies Inc., F5 Inc. and Keysight Technologies Inc. as founding members.

DPU- and IPU-like devices can enable a broad range of services across network and storage domains. OPI’s goal is to bring greater consistency across multiple platforms, an increasingly important role for Linux.

“You can take Linux any place, from the public cloud out to the edge,” Stefanie Chiras, senior vice president of partner ecosystem success at Red Hat, said during a Summit media briefing in May. “It’s like continuing to build a beautiful house on a solid piece of ground. It’s the land that matters.”

Photo: Mark Albertson/SiliconANGLE

The edge opportunity

An increasingly valuable piece of real estate in 2022 is the telco edge. Research firm International Data Corp. forecasts that worldwide spending on edge computing will reach $176 billion this year, a 14% increase over 2021.

Red Hat has been especially active in the 5G/telco space over the past nine months with the announcement of several new deals, including partnerships with Ericsson, Mavenir and Vodafone Ziggo.

In March, Red Hat shared details of its collaboration with Verizon Communications Inc. using OpenShift to manage the telecommunications provider’s 5G edge deployments. Verizon customers can use OpenShift as a single platform to control different types of infrastructure and build applications across multiple clouds.

“The real opportunity around 5G is the industrial applications, things like the connected car … automotive driving, factory floor automation, how you actually interface digitally with your bank,” Darrell Jordan-Smith, senior vice president of industries and global accounts at Red Hat, explained during an interview with SiliconANGLE. “We’re doing all sorts of things more intelligently at the edge of the network, using artificial intelligence and machine learning. All of those things are going to deliver a new experience for everyone that interacts with the network. And the telcos are at the heart of it.”

In late June, Red Hat announced a joint development pact with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. to offer pay-per-use OpenShift on HPE GreenLake, an edge to cloud platform. The agreement brings OpenShift pay-per-use to an on-premises cloud service for the first time, according to Red Hat. Perhaps more significantly, it positions Red Hat to capitalize on expected growth in 5G and the edge.

“There is a great deal of growth in the market right now around edge, edge AI, and telco and the 5G rollout,” Ryan King, senior director of the global hardware partner ecosystem for Red Hat, said in a recent interview with CRN. “Those are all areas of growth that we are looking at with this model.”

Strategy for high performance

Along with Linux and the edge, Red Hat has been focused over the past year on the field of high-performance computing, or HPC. The use of AI at scale and increased enterprise reliance on data-driven decision-making have created a need for processing complex calculations at high speed across multiple servers.

Linux runs on all of the world’s top 500 supercomputers, and Red Hat has been focused on extending its hybrid expertise to encompass massive-scale HPC deployments. This has included adapting container technologies, such as Podman, to handle workloads in highly demanding HPC environments.

Red Hat’s work signals the move of HPC into the cloud and container ecosystem, and the company is beginning to see evidence of that in its customer base. Near the end of 2021, Ghent University in Belgium adopted Red Hat’s HPC technology to create a developer-friendly environment with massively scalable data storage.

“HPC is a bit slow in adopting new technologies,” Kenneth Hoste, HPC system administrator at Ghent University, said in an interview with SiliconANGLE. “But we’re definitely seeing some impact from cloud, especially things like containers and Kubernetes, and we’re starting to hear these things in the HPC community as well.”

Red Hat’s collaboration with customers such as Ghent is creating ripples of interest elsewhere, including the U.S. federal government. In June, the company announced that it would collaborate with multiple U.S. Department of Energy labs to support cloud-native standards in HPC environments, such as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. The work will include an intriguing effort at Sandia to explore deployment scenarios of Kubernetes-based infrastructure at extreme scale.

Samsung embraces open source

Until recently, the South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. had never partnered with a company in the open-source space. That changed when Red Hat and Samsung jointly announced a collaboration in May to develop software for next-generation memory hardware.

The field of next-gen memory has become more significant in recent years as enterprises seek to bridge the gap between storage hierarchies and an ability to deliver data. Memory storage is a key component in a wide range of aerospace and defense applications, in addition to mobile phones, “internet of things” and AI functions that rely on massive amounts of data.

Red Hat and Samsung will focus on development of open-source software for nonvolatile memory express solid-state drives’ computer express link or CXL technology’ computational memory, such as AI-tailored HBM-PIM or Smart SSD solutions, as well as fabrics. Samsung also announced the launch of a cloud-based research initiative that Red Hat will participate in for development and verification of software in server environments.

Like most businesses, Red Hat is navigating a post-pandemic world where the phrase “new normal” has taken on new meaning. In his May blog post, Cormier challenged the enterprise community to think differently about what the “new normal” will mean by emphasizing that it is anything but pre-determined and static.

“You get to define your new normal,” Cormier said. “How will you drive your technology strategies closer to innovation? The only way you get closer to this innovation and the only way you can use this innovation to keep pace with changing demands is by adopting open-source developed technology. That’s what is going to get you to the new normal.”

Image: Getty Images

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