What to expect at Red Hat Summit 2019

When IBM announced that it was going to acquire open source juggernaut Red Hat for a whopping $34bn last October, several industry analysts weighed in on the merits of the mega deal and who would stand to benefit more from the marriage.

451 Research’s William Fellows noted that the move puts IBM in a good position to tap on sub-trends in the cloud market, including the growing appetite for hybrid cloud solutions, while Gartner’s Philip Dawson foresees the challenge on the part of IBM in keeping Red Hat separate as it tries to grow its cloud business.

Amid the differing viewpoints from industry watchers, it was clear that both IBM and Red Hat had to keep educating the market on what their marriage meant to employees, customers and investors.

At IBM’s Think 2019 event earlier this year, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst took to the stage and provided hints of what could come.

While his pitch to “make open innovation consumable for enterprise” – a key message that Red Hat is already espousing through its open innovation labs – wasn’t unexpected, he hinted at edge computing and containers as areas where IBM and Red Hat could work well together.

The conversation is likely to continue at this year’s Red Hat Summit in Boston, where Red Hat and IBM executives, including IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, will likely address not only concerns over the cultural differences between their companies, but also what they can do together to write the next chapter of cloud computing.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8

With Linux now serving as the foundation for cloud computing infrastructure, Red Hat is expected to delve deeper into the capabilities of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 at the show. The flagship operating system, currently in beta, is well suited to run mission-critical applications on commodity hardware.

A key feature of RHEL 8 is support for Linux containers – Red Hat’s lightweight, open standards-based container toolkit is now fully supported and included with the operating system.

It also comes with tools like Buildah for building containers, Podman for running containers, and Skopeo for sharing or finding containers. These “daemonless” tools will help developers find, run, build and share containerised applications more quickly and efficiently. You can read more about RHEL 8 here.

Damien Wong, Red Hat’s vice-president and general manager for Asian growth and emerging markets, expects existing beta users to be among the first adopters of RHEL 8, while more risk-averse enterprises might wait for the first update to the new OS before taking it up.

“My sense is that there will be a fairly significant take-up,” he told Computer Weekly earlier this year. “A lot of folks who are involved in digital transformation initiatives will want to have some of the capabilities in RHEL 8, along with the container platform, and API and middleware integration capabilities.”

Ties that bind

Red Hat has always been collaborating with like-mind technology companies to help enterprises harness the power of open source, whether it’s on-premise, on the cloud or in a hybrid environment. Over the years, it has struck various partnerships with the likes of AWS and Microsoft to help Red Hat customers to tap public cloud services.

At last year’s summit, Red Hat teamed up with Microsoft to let developers run container-based applications on the Azure cloud and on-premise through its OpenShift container application platform.

The partnership, which builds on a strategic alliance first announced in November 2015, comes at a time when interest in using containerised applications is growing.

While it was once unthinkable for Microsoft to cosy up with Red Hat, the growing footprint of Linux and other open source software in datacentres and the cloud can no longer be ignored.

With Satya Nadella expected to make an appearance at the show this year, we can expect even deeper ties between Microsoft and Red Hat moving forward.

Customer stories

Red Hat has a knack for bringing a stellar cast of customers to every Red Hat Summit and this year will be no exception. The APAC contingent comprises some of the who’s who in the region, including DBS Bank’s group CIO David Gledhill who will talk about the bank’s digital journey and how it is using Red Hat’s hybrid cloud technologies to build new applications and improve customer experiences.

On the telcoms side, Optus’s Guillaume Poulet-Mathis, its senior innovation manager, and Vasily Chekalkin, its principle software engineer, will share how the telco is using Red Hat OpenShift to deploy a new generation of virtualised mobile core functions. There will also be a live demo of a digitised native phone call and how Optus’s software engineers are revolutionising carrier networks.

Red Hat commissioned TechTarget APAC to cover Red Hat Summit 2019 in Boston. The above content was not reviewed or influenced prior to publication.

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