Open source has truly democratised technology. Red Hat is one of the top open source companies in the world, creating innovative technologies for over two decades now.
Analytics India Magazine caught up with Neeraj Bhatia, Senior Director Sales, Red Hat India/South Asia to understand more about the open source ecosystem and Red Hat’s role in it. “Digital transformation remains critical to gain a competitive advantage,” he said.
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AIM: How does open source development lead to better technology?
Neeraj Bhatia: The most forward-thinking CIOs and organisations today understand that success in the digital age requires enterprises to sustain a constant innovation momentum instead of innovating on an ad-hoc basis – but coming up with ideas, developing and testing for innovation is not core to every enterprise. More so, enterprises have come to realise they can only do so much by themselves. In today’s digital economy, there is a need for combining efforts for sustaining growth & agility, i.e. open collaboration for open innovation.
Open source software is developed in a decentralised and collaborative way, relying on peer review and community production. The open source community is much larger and faster to innovate than any single vendor. It is the driving force behind much of the technology innovation we see – all of the key mega-trends in technology like blockchain, AI, machine learning are happening because each member of the open source community, through their contribution, is helping to define the future of technology.
Over the few years, we have also seen how the open source approach to solving problems has continued to spread beyond the technology world to help combat some of our society’s thorniest issues. As a result, more and more organisations across verticals, ranging from automobiles to banks to consumer products, are now contributing to, distributing and using open source software within their enterprise and product portfolio.
AIM: How does Red Hat support the open-source community?
Neeraj Bhatia: We believe using an open development model helps create more stable, secure, and innovative technologies. As the largest open source company in the world, we have worked for more than 27 years to invest in open projects and technologies, protect and defend open source intellectual property, and recruit developers who actively participate in open projects across the IT stack. We start with community-built open source software that meets the needs, partially or fully, of our customers. Red Hat builds on these projects, hardens security, patches vulnerabilities, and adds new enterprise features. We then contribute these improvements back to the original project for the benefit of the community as a whole.
AIM: How does Red Hat help organisations innovate and transform?
Neeraj Bhatia: As always, our focus remains on working with our customers to enable their growth and help them survive & thrive. Red Hat today is well poised to support businesses and governments that have a forward-looking plan to serve their customers wherever they are in their digital transformation efforts i.e modernising their existing application, their IT architecture and infrastructure or innovating with new business models and applications to get the best of what hybrid cloud & containerisation has to offer.
Our collaboration with open source communities has helped us bring various innovations to market with products like Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, Red Hat Data Services, Red hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS and more. In the current environment, where many of our customers & their developers are working from home, tools like Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces– collaborative Kubernetes-native development solution–enables rapid cloud application development that provides a consistent, secure, and zero-configuration development environment.
For organisations looking to get the most out of the existing resources and use technology to extend operations to remote or distributed teams, Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides a scalable, reliable foundation for these efforts. Meanwhile, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform delivers extensive automation capabilities, making it easier for IT teams with limited manpower to keep services up and running. On the other hand, businesses with services that are in demand need to scale. These IT teams need to effectively bridge existing mission-critical systems and applications with cloud-native services. Red Hat OpenShift provides a standardised platform across the IT landscape; be it on-prem cloud or hybrid, regardless of its underlying hardware or service provider, enabling IT teams to retain existing resources while moving workloads across for scalability or security or speed.
AIM: What’s your advice for organisations moving to the cloud?
Neeraj Bhatia: An ideal cloud ecosystem should follow open standards and tools to leverage the full potential of hybrid and multi-cloud. Applications should be able to move across environments, have consistent security policies, and automate and manage resources. To leverage the full potential of hybrid cloud strategy, enterprises need to build their hybrid cloud on open standards and tools.
For instance, developers need a platform that allows them to design & deploy applications that are responsive to the business needs of today and tomorrow, regardless of the underlying hardware or cloud architectures. It should give them freedom and flexibility to choose from the ever-growing palette of development tools such as programming languages, databases and web servers — to build and test their applications, without worrying about the infrastructure.
Red Hat’s cloud portfolio provides enterprises with the ability to build a comprehensive and cohesive cloud infrastructure compatible with a diversity of technologies and topologies. Regardless of the cloud services provider or the need to build a cloud that serves everyone from developers to business application owners, Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud solutions deliver interoperability across the cloud continuum economically without vendor lock-in.
AIM: Tell us about Red Hat’s role in developing 5G open infrastructure
Neeraj Bhatia: To stay relevant in the ever-changing market landscape telco service providers need to become more agile to take advantage of the capabilities of 5G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.
Open Telco is the foundation of the modern telco. It refers to the use of open source solutions to foster flexible platforms that provide a strong 5G architecture foundation so that telcos can bring new services to market with superior scalability, security, and efficiency. Red Hat advocates choosing the right technology and associated architecture to lay the foundation for any transformation initiatives. Within the telecom’s context, we have seen the same emerge in the NFV wherein the Telecom operators who aspire to be digital service providers have chosen Red Hat to build their Open hybrid Telco cloud which is ubiquitous in nature and universally can run any workloads from the network, IT and well placed to onboarding emerging application and use cases such as 5G, AR/VR, Edge Computing, and IoT
In line with this, we are working closely with both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. By using IBM and Red Hat’s portfolio of hybrid cloud and cognitive enterprise capabilities, Airtel has adopted an open cloud architecture that uses Red Hat OpenStack Platform for all network workloads and Red Hat OpenShift for newer containerized workloads. And for Vodafone Idea, we have enabled its IT and Network applications to run on a common cloud architecture. With the deployment of our Open Universal Hybrid Cloud, the company will position itself to play a significant role in the future deployment of new technologies.
AIM: What are Red Hat’s future plans, especially in India?
Neeraj Bhatia: The pandemic has further accelerated the digital transformation and created a landscape that will continue to encourage technology adoption in fact at a much rapid pace. In line with this, organisations across verticals are adopting hybrid cloud, automation, integration and development methodologies like cloud-native application development.
We are well poised to support businesses and governments wherever they are in their digital transformation efforts, whether customers are modernising their existing application architecture and infrastructure or innovating with new business models and applications. In fact, we see tremendous opportunity for us to further accelerate and power the digital journey in India. We also have a growing focus on mid-market and small and medium scale businesses to support them in effectively transforming digitally.