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Red Hat claims to be a neutral broker that will pave the way for organisations to run the same container application platform across different public cloud services and in a hybrid cloud environment.
This comes at a time when major public cloud suppliers are all trying to differentiate themselves through platform services – for example, with their own implementations of the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration platform.
Speaking to Computer Weekly on the sidelines of Red Hat Forum in Singapore, Damien Wong, vice-president and general manager for Asian growth and emerging markets at Red Hat, said the company’s OpenShift platform will let enterprises run containerised applications on the same platform, regardless of cloud deployment model or underlying cloud infrastructure service.
“If you’ve chosen a layer where your core infrastructure lies, then it might be better to have a neutral broker like Red Hat to focus on the application platform that sits on top on it,” he said. “This will free up your resources to focus on the vertical domain that you’re more naturally suited to”.
Wong acknowledged that although some enterprises might still choose application platform services from cloud providers, they must be prepared that they are going to be partisan and would require certain skills.
“But it’s still early days as just 20% of workloads have moved to the cloud, so any decision to switch [cloud providers] will probably not be as costly and painful,” Wong said. “Nonetheless, there will be some switching costs that will be incurred.”
As a testament to the value of a neutral application platform like OpenShift, Wong said even though major cloud suppliers have their own Kubernetes distributions, each of them also offers OpenShift through partnerships with Red Hat.
More recently, Red Hat and Microsoft teamed up to offer Azure Red Hat OpenShift, a co-developed, jointly managed OpenShift offering that provides enterprises with an integrated experience, including unified sign-up, on-boarding, service management and technical support in an effort to fuel hybrid cloud development.
“There are some cloud providers that believe they will dominate the industry,” Wong said.
“But they’re also pragmatic enough to know that even if they see themselves as the only ones surviving eventually, there’s still an intermediate stage they need to navigate – which is why many of them have an interim positioning,” he added, referring to the growing support for hybrid cloud setups by major cloud players.
Industry experts such as Jay Lyman, principal analyst for cloud native and DevOps at 451 Research, have noted that Red Hat’s approach to enterprise Kubernetes through its OpenShift platform is well-aligned with enterprise requirements.
Lyman said OpenShift continues to be a top Kubernetes product in the market that simplifies central administration of Kubernetes clusters, environments and users – attributes that any enterprise managing complex IT environments would appreciate.
Indeed, the keenest adopters of OpenShift have been banks, telcos and airlines, according to Wong: “These organisations have technology that’s complex and mission-critical, which is where we excel in, in terms of reliability, security and performance.”
Relating an encounter with a bank customer that had tried to set up its own Kubernetes platform, Wong said while its team of bright engineers had done so successfully, keeping up with new releases and features soon became a challenge.
“It was almost like building on quicksand,” he said. “Eventually, the bank decided that they should focus on their core business and let Red Hat be Red Hat.”
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