Red Hat Forum 2018: Robust, Reliable And Strong Open Source Solutions

Red Hat Forum

Yesterday, I was at the Red Hat Forum 2018 in Bangalore. As a tech commentator and observer, I get invited to a lot of fora. Being someone who started his career as a Linux Admin, Red Hat is very special to me. In the spirit of being unbiased, I went with an absolutely open mind and the event was a bit of an eye-opener for me. Here are my key takeaways from the Red Hat Forum 2018.

Red Hat has traditionally been known to be a strong proponent of disruption and open source innovation not just for customers but also for their internal processes and workflows. This gives them a unique advantage of having a lot of best practices and learnings that clients can immensely benefit from. And this expertise and early mover advantage was on full display at the Red Hat Forum in Bangalore yesterday.

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, which uses a community-powered approach to provide reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat helps 100 per cent of Fortune 500 companies (airlines, healthcare, telcos, commercial banks, US Executive Department) solve business challenges, align their IT and business strategies, and prepare for the future of technology. As a connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, and open source communities, Red Hat helps create relevant, innovative technologies that liberate resources for growth and prepare customers for the future of IT.

Open source is collaborative curiosity. It’s about a culture with a desire to connect and the technologies to do it. Yet what draws our attention isn’t the technology alone; it’s what we can do with it. It gives us the platform for imagination, a focal point to collectively push for new possibilities.

Automation, AI, machine learning–these are a gift we gave ourselves, the luxury of reclaimed time to wonder. To ask not only “What if?” but also “What for?” and “With whom?” Red Hat Forums are the place for these questions, a gathering of the curious, an arena of ideas to reinvent what we have and to dream of what we might.

The event was well planned and had a healthy mix of

  • Keynote presentations on industry trends
  • Detailed technological implementation sessions
  • Conversational sessions with industry experts
  • Learning from customer references
  • Hands-on labs
  • Live demos

Before we get into a full rundown on the interesting bits from sessions. There was something that I gathered from the attendees just prior to the event starting. Most of them were keen to make the switch to become an opensource enterprise, but surprisingly all of them had very similar concerns before making the switch. They were

  1. How secure and reliable is the opensource approach?
  2. What about support and turnaround times?
  3. How tough is the migration from legacy to opensource system?
  4. What is the cost of the switch?
  5. What are long-term business benefits in terms of bottom-lines that favor the switch?
  6. Will Data Migration be a major issue when shifting platforms?

The good folks at Red Hat had anticipated this and the sessions were sequenced and executed in a way to answer all these step by step and the big finale was a fictional pharma company that actually made the shift to opensource with Red Hat partnering them doing a live demo showing the simplicity of the move and the benefits to them. Here are the key sessions that I found particularly engaging and very useful from a learnings perspective

Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen is the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Red Hat’s Asia Pacific region. In this role, he is responsible for expanding Red Hat’s presence and oversee all sales, marketing, and services throughout the Asia Pacific region. He started the event with an engaging keynote that touched upon some important facts about Red Hat

  • The first $3B open source company and listed on the S&P 500
  • Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. 90 offices worldwide (APAC: 28 offices, 13 countries)
  • Team strength: 12,212 associates worldwide
  • 66 quarters of continued growth – FY2019 Q2 revenue of $823 million
  • More than 50% of the world’s financial trades are powered by Red Hat products and solutions
  • Recognized by Forbes on its Top 25 “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list (Aug 2016)

This was followed by Tim Yeaton,  Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Red Hat giving a very crisp keynote that gave insights into Digital Transformation and the open organization. Here he touched upon the fact that just wanting to digitally transform was not enough and right execution was the key. He also highlighted that digital transformation is not a sprint that gets over when you get to the end and is in reality a sustained run to keep innovating and disrupting to constantly add value and improve.

Yatrik Vin, Group CFO of The National Stock Exchange gave an insightful talk about how partnering with Red Hat and shifting to reliable and robust open source systems helped the exchange to ramp up to the scale of a billion transactions a day, all executed with complete security, reliability and data integrity. He emphasized the fact that going opensource with a partner like Red Hat meant that their innovation and disruption was implemented as and when they needed with stability and scale. If a real-time and mission critical service like the NSE can rely on opensource, the future is indeed opensource.

For me, the most interesting session of the day was by Vishal Ghariwala, Brendan Paget and Kingsley Wood from Red Hat who created a fictional pharma company that was running on legacy on-premise solutions. The company then went on to acquire a smaller firm and move to opensource using the entire Red Hat Suite of enterprise opensource solutions. The key aspects that came out were

  • Ease of Migration
  • Assimilation of diverse IT Infrastructure seamlessly using Red Hat Ansible
  • Ability to map diverse database schema without writing any code
  • Ability to bring in compliance and security with relative ease
  • The real cost benefits of the move to Open Source

And the most interesting session in the breakout track was by Benjamin Henshall, Country Manager – India and South Asia & Director Sales, Financial Services, APAC Red Hat. He very succinctly and very interestingly explained Business Innovation and Automation. His mastery and expertise was very evident in the well attended and interactive session

At the end of the day, I came away with a lot of key insights. Here are the main ones

  • Open Source is Robust
  • Red Hat Enterprise Solutions are secure and can support any scale easily with fully reliable security and data integrity
  • Red Hat effectively leverages internal innovation to supplement their knowledge base that helps clients
  • The Open Source community in conjunction with Red Hat ensures forms a good innovation base to solve complex issues
  • The future of enterprise innovation is firmly ensconced in the adoption of opensource solutions to scale

It was a good learning experience and I plan to follow up and explore Red Hat Products and solutions in depth.

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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