Some may quibble about the exact role, balanced against proprietary solutions, that open source should play in enterprise cloud. From the Red Hat perspective, however, enterprise clouds must leverage open source to achieve maximal value, according to Red Hat's Darrell Jordan-Smith.
In this Q&A (edited for length and clarity), Telco Transformation spoke with Jordan-Smith, vice president of worldwide information and communications technology at Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), to ask about Red Hat's role in enterprise cloud, as well as that of open source in general.
Telco Transformation: What would be your suggestions, from Red Hat's perspective, for creating an effective enterprise cloud?
Darrell Jordan-Smith: Having an open ecosystem is particularly important because you want to have the participation of not just one potential supplier of application services. You want the ecosystem of vendors to be the widest ecosystem you can get to. Red Hat built that ecosystem, going back many years now, around RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), and we've extended that to OpenStack on the cloud. What that means is that we certify many thousands of pieces of hardware and many thousand pieces of software to run tightly with Red Hat OpenStack Platform in a way that we can predictably support it and build a lifecycle around it. That lifecycle of support is from three to five years, depending upon what version of OpenStack you've acquired from Red Hat, which is a really long lifecycle when you have a platform that actually changes every six months... innovating and driving itself particularly fast as we deploy new services and technologies on top of OpenStack .
Obviously, open source in general differentiates us. Everything we do is upstream first, so there isn't anything that we do that is hidden. We just bring that downstream in a supportable implementation; surround that with a certified ecosystem of partners, ISVs, and hardware platforms; and provide a long lifecycle of support and SLAs around that. SLAs are critical if you are deploying mission-critical applications and services in the way that Verizon is. As you can imagine, an outage for a customer costs them a lot of money, and we need to provide them with carrier-level support and service -- which is what we try and strive to do with all of our partners and our customers in that space.
TT: Tell me about Red Hat's recently announced collaboration with Huawei to enable RHEL on Huawei's public cloud platform.
DJS: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. recently was voted as a platinum member of OpenStack Foundation; they took HPE's place in that foundation. They're an important contributor to upstream OpenStack. We have a lot of work going on with Huawei in the upstream project level, so we are aligned with them in terms of what they're contributing, what we're contributing, as a couple of the largest contributors to OpenStack in the cloud. That's an important element of our relationship with Huawei.
As it relates to OTC (Open Telekom Cloud), we have built and announced with them, Deutsche Telekom AG, Telefonica and China Mobile the "All Cloud" initiative. There will be other carriers soon that are part of that federated cloud platform that we will support our Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform on top of. Huawei will offer services in those markets where those operators operate, [and] provide access to the cloud using OpenStack-based technologies and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. (See: The Cloud, the Change & a New Culture.)
So we're working with Huawei in the upstream in terms of OpenStack because their one-cloud platform is based on OpenStack, and we will support Huawei and Huawei's customers in deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based guest virtual instances over that infrastructure.
TT: How important are open source and open standards to enterprise-cloud development and deployment?
DJS: If you advocate, as we do at Red Hat, open source as a mechanism for moving forward, what you find in our experience is that eventually, open source out-innovates proprietary-based platforms, for example, VMware... Therefore, you'll be able to also benefit from the cost mechanics, the cost economics that open source actually provides.
From our perspective at Red Hat, OpenStack is very important in the marketplace. We're working with OpenStack in the network context to deploy network virtualizations within the telcos themselves as well as a public cloud platform for enterprise... Open source itself comprises many different projects, many different communities to those different projects and lots of eyeballs looking at different types of problems -- everything from security to network performance, through to the silicon that we're working on with Intel.
So we see open source as:
- Enabling the ecosystem to innovate faster than proprietary software
- Providing a cost coefficient or economics better than that of proprietary based software
- Having a community that enables our customers and partners to work with us in their upstream agenda to ensure features and longevity, and that what they want to achieve is done within that technology and that platform
- The ecosystem that surrounds the many thousands of software and hardware components that are certified and validated to run on that platform
- Last but not least, telco-grade or carrier-grade levels of service, with support necessary to deploy that in an instance where downtime actually matters
— Joe Stanganelli, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation