Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, October 21, 2021

At Red Hat Summit, It’s All About Open Hybrid Cloud 

RED HAT SUMMIT 2021 – Change has always been constant for Red Hat as the Linux and open source powerhouse in the marketplace. Since its founding in 1993 with Red Hat Linux, it has over the years matured as an open source company, then as an even more specialized enterprise Linux and enterprise open source company.

But over the last two years, Red Hat, which was acquired by IBM in 2019, has been morphing again, this time as an open hybrid cloud platform vendor that has found a way to wrap its heritage up with new components in an always changing world of IT.

Here at the virtual Red Hat Summit, which opened April 27 (Tuesday) and continues through April 28, the company unleashed a wide range of new product and services announcements that build on this open hybrid cloud theme.

Among the new services are Red Hat OpenShift API Management, Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka and Red Hat OpenShift Data Science, which are all designed as fully-managed offerings for organizations that want to build, deploy, manage and scale cloud-native applications across hybrid environments. All three new services are tightly integrated with the Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated platform to make their use easier for customers.

In addition, Red Hat also unveiled the upcoming general availability of its latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4 operating system, a new Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus edition of its enterprise Kubernetes platform, and for something a little different – a collaboration with functional safety vendor, Exida, to build and deliver a functional safety-certified, constantly-evolving Linux operating system for the automotive industry, based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat OpenShift API Management

The new Red Hat OpenShift API Management services will provide full application programming interface (API) lifecycle management to Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated and Red Hat OpenShift services on AWS, according to Red Hat. It will combine managed operations with native OpenShift integration to enable organizations to focus on innovation and development in building, managing and scaling API-first, microservices-based applications instead of on maintaining their infrastructure. It also enables customers to build their own API management program with capabilities to control access, monitor usage, share common APIs and evolve their overall application landscape through a single DevOps pipeline, according to the company. It can be added immediately to Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated and to Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS.

Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka

Using this new service, Red Hat OpenShift development teams will be able to more easily incorporate streaming data into their applications. That’s important when designing hybrid cloud applications, according to Red Hat, because data streams provide the backbone for capturing, communicating and processing events for modern, distributed application architectures. The fully-managed and hosted Kafka service enables developers to focus on building better applications more quickly, without having to worry about the underlying requirements of data collection and processing. Available today as a developer preview, it is expected to be ready for general availability later this year.

Red Hat OpenShift Data Science

Built on the open source Open Data Hub project, Red Hat OpenShift Data Science provides for faster development, training and testing of machine learning models without the associated infrastructure demands, according to Red Hat. The new service implements common data science tools as the foundation of an AI-as-a-Service platform integrated with select partner cloud services, including ISV solutions from Red Hat Marketplace. It is available today as a beta add-on to OpenShift Dedicated and Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS, with general availability expected later this year.

These new services will help Red Hat customers broaden their use of open hybrid cloud services to fill needs they have in their IT work streams, said Matt Hicks, the executive vice president of products and technologies for Red Hat.

Matt Hicks of Red Hat

"To take full advantage of the open hybrid cloud, IT leaders need to be able to use the technologies that they need in whatever IT footprint makes sense for them,” Hicks said in a statement. “Red Hat managed cloud services effectively drops many barriers that have kept organizations from harnessing the full potential of the hybrid cloud. We believe eliminating the traditional overhead of managing cloud-scale infrastructure will spark a genesis moment for customers and open up a future of possibility where those barriers once stood."

Asked during an afternoon briefing with technology reporters if these latest open hybrid cloud services fit with the company’s earlier roots in open source and Linux, Hicks said they advance the company’s core mission.

“I've gotten to live through a lot of this,” said Hicks, who has been with Red Hat for more than 15 years. “If you look at Red Hat's earliest roots, it was about choice and empowering customers on their solutions and doing that on an open source model. And at the time, if you go back 20 years, that was building trust in Linux and building a hardware ecosystem around that and making that a credible alternative to Unix to let Linux-based innovation thrive.”

Today, it’s not about single machines anymore, said Hicks. “It's data center-wide in terms of how we can empower customers across data centers and multiple data centers – some in cloud, some on-premises – it's extending to edge. And there is a lot more pull for us in taking that open source model and extending it to operations, not just on contributing code, but running it. So it's an evolution of our model [and] it's a really exciting one.”

Analysts Weigh In

Tony Iams of Gartner

Tony Iams, an open source analyst with Gartner, told EnterpriseAI that Red Hat has been targeting hybrid cloud opportunities with its OpenShift and Linux platforms for some time and that today’s Summit news builds on that work.

“The introduction of its high-end OpenShift package will help to reinforce that positioning, but Red Hat is moving into new territory by also delivering managed cloud services for data streaming, ML model development, and API management,” said Iams. “These services expand the range of functions that it can now offer with a consistent operating model across on-premises infrastructure and public cloud services.”

Rob Enderle of Enderle Group

Rob Enderle, principal of Enderle Group, agreed that the strategy is growing Red Hat’s influence with customers.

“IBM, over time, has made a hard shift to open technologies and interoperability, which made the merger with Red Hat work, and that synergy is being showcased at the Red Hat Summit,” said Enderle. “Red Hat and IBM are on the same page with managed multi-cloud solutions that are more easily managed, deployed, and protected over time and differentiate on providing customer flexibility and choice. You could argue that IBM owns the vision now, but Red Hat essentially owns the execution of that vision, given it is essentially their tools that make the vision possible.”

For Red Hat, “this Summit showcases what may be the most successful merger IBM has ever had because it has significantly enhanced both IBM’s offerings and Red Hat’s overall performance and reach,” said Enderle.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4

With its latest version of its enterprise Linux operating system, Red Hat is delivering more than just code for servers with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4. This version will from here on out be the foundation of what Red Hat calls its Red Hat Edge initiative, which is built to extend the capabilities of Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud portfolio to the edge, from telecommunications and transportation to smart automobiles and enterprise devices.

Generally available in the coming weeks, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4 is getting new Linux container, deployment and management capabilities scaled for the needs of edge computing. That includes new functionality for its Image Builder tool which now supports the creation of installation media tailored for bare metal, which helps IT teams maintain a common foundation even across disconnected edge environments. Also new are simplified and automated system configuration and management through the Tracer utility and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Web Console updates, providing intelligent guidance around system patching and updates to help identify downtime due to service restarts or system reboots, as well as extended security capabilities for hybrid cloud operations.

Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus

The latest edition of Red Hat’s Kubernetes platform includes enhancements for security and management to streamline DevSecOps for customers across their operations. Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus brings together everything needed to build, deploy and run nearly any application wherever OpenShift runs.

Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus builds on the capabilities of OpenShift Container Platform and adds advanced security features, Day 2 management capabilities and a global container registry. It also extends OpenShift by bringing together tools to secure software supply chains, infrastructure and workloads, as well as Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes to provide system-wide visibility, management and control of Kubernetes clusters across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Red Hat Advanced Cluster Security for Kubernetes is available immediately, while Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2021.

Red Hat’s Certified Linux Platform for Vehicles

In partnership with functional safety vendor, Exida, Red Hat announced its intent at the Summit to deliver a functional-safety certified, evolving Linux operating system for the automotive industry. Built from core components of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the coming vehicle operating system will be designed for continuous updates throughout its lifecycle while still retaining crucial and required functional safety certifications.

The new vehicle operating system aims to provide greater flexibility to the automotive software ecosystem, which could enable vehicle makers and their partners to focus on providing quality driving experiences while leaving the operating system technology to Red Hat and Exida.

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