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Trip Report: Red Hat Summit 2016 – Containers, Community and Code


Full Coverage of Red Hat Summit 2016 on theCUBE (video interviews)


Red Hat Summit 2016 was the 12th year of the event being held in the United States. The event is hosted by Red Hat (RHT) and is focused on Red Hat commercial offerings as well as the broader community of customers, partners and contributors of open source projects where Red Hat participates (Linux, IaaS, PaaS, containers, networking, storage, security, automation, management, etc.)

Red Hat must always find a way to balance the community aspects of open source projects with the commercial aspects of the Red Hat business model. As one of the few companies that generates significant revenues from open source software (and services), Red Hat must not only show significant (engineering, code) contributions to upstream community projects, but also focus on ways to simplify open source software for a broad set of customers. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst continues to showcase examples of companies that are embracing open source software and open company culture, while outlining the possibilities that lie ahead in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Summary of Announcements: 

  • The IT industry’s broadest Linux container portfolio, from no-cost developer tools to massively-scalable container infrastructure, all built on the backbone of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. Red Hat announced (or expanded) an end-to-end portfolio of container tools and platforms that allow developers to build containerized applications locally on their laptop, test them on a variety of resources, and then choose the cloud platform that best meets their business requirements. These offerings build on Red Hat Linux and Openshift technologies, as well as their storage, automation and management portfolio. (press release)
  • New container scanning capabilities with the latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host, Red Hat‘s container-centric operating system. Container security is an area that is getting quite a bit of recent attention, as containers allow developers to quickly create new applications that could cause security issues for the operations teams. By embedded security-scanning technologies at the container and OS level, IT operations now has greater visibility into new applications being added to their networks. (press release)
  • Container native persistent storage for Linux containers with Red Hat Gluster Storage. As more customers embrace the usage of containers (see recent surveys: New Relic, Cloud Foundry Foundation, ClusterHQ, Rightscale) the need to interact with persistent data is becoming more critical. By embracing persistent solutions for containers, Red Hat is attempting to deliver a more consistent operating environment for both modern and legacy applications. (press release)
  • The company’s complete container vision for enterprise adoption, outlined in a blog post by Red Hat‘s President Paul Cormier.
  • OpenShift Primed, a new partner designation for independent software vendors (ISVs) building applications for Red Hat OpenShift. (press release)
  • The launch of JBoss EAP 7, .NET Core on RHEL and OpenShift, and the introduction of a number of new projects and initiatives from the Red Hat Developers team.


There were three common questions that were being asked at Red Hat Summit 2016:

  1. Red Hat has been growing about 20% YoY for the last few years. Can they continue to grow the business?
  2. How does public cloud impact open source companies such as Red Hat?
  3. How are customers evolving in how they use open source software, and does this benefit Red Hat? 

While Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is still the core product line for Red Hat, and this area continues to grow, Red Hat has significantly expanded the portfolio beyond just RHEL and Jboss (middleware). Red Hat is able to offer IaaS (OpenStack), Containers (Docker, Atomic), PaaS (OpenShift, Kubernetes), Automation (Ansible) and Management (CloudForms). Red Hat delivers this software as on-premises and public cloud solutions.

At Red Hat Summit 2016, there was a strong focus on application developers and developer platforms. This began with the DevNation event, with nearly 1000 developers in attendance. The event showcased not only the advances in JBoss and application services, but was highlighted by expanded integration with Microsoft .NET applications. This focus continued throughout the week with containers (see Summary of Announcements, above) being highlighted across the portfolio.

Regarding public cloud, there is an interesting evolution happening with regard to open source. All of the leading public cloud platforms are embracing open source software (containers, big data, orchestration, etc.), both in terms of delivering it as-a-service and contributing new projects into open communities. Red Hat highlighted evolving partnerships with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Rackspace, Atos and several other public cloud providers.

Red Hat showcased many customers during Red Hat Summit 2016, including those in financial markets, travel, retail, gaming and service provider verticals. These customers reiterated their growing confidence in open source software and the community-driven development models that surround them. Many of them highlighted that they are now actively contributing to these communities in various ways.

Key Takeaways: 

Red Hat continues to demonstrate % growth at a level that is higher than most other “traditional” IT vendors (e.g. Cisco, Dell, EMC, HPE, Oracle, VMware). While many startups garner headlines, Red Hat continues to be the one company that is able to profitably monetize a business model around open source software. Red Hat has shown an ability to invest engineering resources in core projects where they can add value and simplify the operational experience for customers, as well as make acquisitions to expand their portfolio.

While many strategists like to focus on “skating to where the puck is going”, Red Hat appears to be benefiting from shifting trends in the industry towards greater acceptance of open source technologies. In essence, a portion of the market is moving towards the Red Hat way of delivering customer value. While the industry is also moving quickly towards public cloud usage, Red Hat has established the portfolio and open source community experience to benefit from shifts towards more usage of software-centric solution and open source software. Red Hat is attempting to position their portfolio to allow customers to use it in whatever cloud operating model best aligns to their business needs.


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