I’ve been busy – Red Hat Summit 2013

summitcast

The last ten days have seen me camped out in Boston in the US at Red Hat Summit recording, mastering and publishing fourteen podcasts during Red Hat Summit. Usually I do one a week so to get fourteen recorded and out there on iTunes, Stitcher and a dedicated smartphone app for all platforms was tiring to say the least.

So for those of you wondering why there hadn’t been a Cloud Evangelist podcast last week, go listen to the shows I made available to you on the Red Hat Official Podcast page from Summit by clicking here.

Podcasts on OpenShift, OpenStack, Gluster, RHEV, IBM PowerLinux, ARM and Hyperscale, identity management in the Cloud, SELinux (with Dan himself). We talk NetApp and oVirt with Jon Benedict once more and we have a lot of fun along the way.

Fourteen shows you can’t miss out on with over 10,000 listeners to date – go listen.

Cloud – it’s about relevance

The consensus around the water fountain is in, the sensible folk are achieving and those that play catch up are spending way more corporate investment on keeping up with the achievers and go-getters in Cloud and virtualisation. That sums it up in a nutshell but to simply write an article with less than thirty eight words isn’t going to suffice so let’s explore where the Cloud market is making active differentiation in the evolving dynamic world of corporate and enterprise computing.

Blessed are the geeks for they will inherit the datacentre

There are very few differences in the manner that eighty percent of global enterprises tackle enterprise computing challenges. No matter whether exponents of purely “Cathedral” type platforms and toolsets or the “Bazaar” model of entrepreneurial achievement utilising open standards and challenging established paradigms of development and provisioning by reasoned utilisation and embracing of community ethics and freedoms. I hope I’ve got that right or my ex VA Linux colleague Eric Raymond is going to be less than happy. I use the word geek in the heading above with due reverence, without levity as a badge of achievement.

Whilst you could argue that venture capital and the influx of guidance in the form of management at many of the investment companies are the lifeblood of the evolution of new start companies developing and pushing technologies and products across Cloud. You could also observe that the vast majority of these organisations are building and ramping up harnessing and embracing open source libraries, binaries and technologies in order to get to revenue and to develop products that are relevant.

So what changed ?

The difference between now and the dot.com boom/bust era is that we grew up. Open source grew up too.

The difference is that in 1999/2000 a lot of the advisors who were often positioned or parachuted into new start companies using less “mature” developmental environments and an emerging internet were old school, 1980s/90s boardroom types, often expensive, entirely out of touch with working with dynamic energised folk who were capable at embracing tech but lacked maturity in corporate circles. Management came with money. I was there, I worked at Linuxcare from early days until I parachuted to safety to join the then ebullient VA Linux Systems. It was painful, it was replicated across hundreds of companies globally who all managed to burn huge amounts of funding rounds without generating products or significant revenue. A lot of the blame needs to be levied at the investors who handcuffed companies with legacy management who didn’t understand the gulf between founder management and couldn’t levy influence or control.

In the Cloud arena we have more startup companies producing better product with better guidance from more savvy investor folk, if any of you have ever bumped into the electrically charged spark that is Satish Dharmaraj for example, my former boss at Zimbra (now with a well known VC team) will understand the mental picture I paint entirely. Satish I pick out purely as an example, he isn’t remotely alone in being a trail blazer, at Red Hat you can’t throw a pebble without hitting a key manager or thought leader whose role it is to identify talent and opportunity and then nurture it. We even invest in technology regularly outside of Red Hat.

More importantly nowadays, most of these advisors attaching to first and second round funding have emerged from the Open Source community and are helping shape the direction that many Cloud startups are now able to follow. Thats a good thing. Lower burn rates, better code, better practices and revenue centric companies using Open Source as a base. For those basing companies on revenue (the small percentage) it’s even more impressive.

However they ALL have one thing in common, they’re all aiming to be relevant.

Make relevance your personal mantra for 2013, especially in Cloud

The number of times in recent months I’ve sat down with people in technology circles and talked open hybrid cloud, talked to them about how this gospel I preach weekly from my podcast pulpit of how at Red Hat we are working to demonstrate how we’re innovating by providing key RELEVANT capabilities. If you’re a listener to my podcast broadcasts I weekly try to provide you with balanced thought around cloud and virtualisation but with a passion that comes from a need to “do this right”. To stay relevant with the needs of my listeners.

Arming, influencing, determining datacentre future behaviour and enterprise adoption of cloud across physical bare metal platforms, virtual, private cloud and public cloud with the Red Hat stack. Marshalling and creating the frameworks for growth that are significantly different from proprietary platforms such as VMWare and Microsoft and with more relevance (see it crops up again) to the problems that enterprise companies need to solve. Built openly, built with focus around application development and portability underwritten by the glue that is Red Hat’s continued core open source belief as part of the fabric of cloud today. ISVs and startup companies who are aiming to be relevant and to drive product adoption and therefore revenue growth (either based on revenue or with the help of investors) are all looking to Cloud.

So next time you are stood, board marker in hand in front of your team drawing out your tiers of your architecture or brain blasting APIs and platform decisions with those in your circle who you rely on just consider. Is the technology and the platform and direction I am taking relevant ? Relevant now, relevant tomorrow, flexible and rugged enough to grow with your organisation, flexible enough to change securely, relevant enough to get you to the finish line, relevant enough to drive revenue and growth to match your ambition.

Unless you’re doing this harnessing open technology, truly open source components and stacks you need to pay attention, you aren’t going to be relevant, and neither is your Cloud.

If you want to know how this all glues together reach out to me and I’ll point you at some folk who will change and empower your needs in Cloud. If you’ve been on Red Hat tour or been to Red Hat Summit (the next kicks off in Boston at The Hynes Convention Center in a few weeks time) then you’ll be aware of the common sense relevance of what we mean by Open.

Red Hat – this is what we do, be open, be relevant and be part of the future of Cloud. Ignore me at your peril.

Open Hybrid Cloud – our new video

We released this video this week and I wanted to share it with you before Red Hat Summit in June, Paul Cormier, Jim Whitehurst and the exec team have worked hard with our Cloud BU marketing folk to get this put together.

 

Podcast: Let’s talk KVM – Steve Higashi

So recently I sat down with a good friend Mr Steve Higashi, possibly my favourite Canadian who actually lives in Austria. He works for OnApp a company I rate highly and we’ve been threatening to do this recording for nearly two years and when he was in London the other week we sat down and talked KVM.

Steve loves Cloud, he’s a righteous dude when it comes to getting down and deep in the weeds talking to customers about engineering goodness. We touch on CloudForms 2.0, Red Hat OpenStack, OpenKVM, the Red Hat stack etc . We try to put some clarity around the whole KVM vs Xen vs proprietary alternatives and to do it in an easy to listen / easy to consume show for you guys to listen to.

Hope you enjoy it, come back later in the week for a great show with Brian Stevens, CTO of Red Hat.

Download the podcast here in MP3 format only

OpenStack Developer Summit kicks off

Am sat at Openstack Developer Summit listening to Red Hat’s own Dave Neary talking about Personas. Really great presentation. Dave and I missed each other at FOSDEM so this week will get a recording done with him for an upcoming podcast.

If you are local to Portland came say hi, the great news this morning about our RDO community OpenStack release has the venue chattering and it’s adding to the importance or why OpenStack is the most important technology stack for the last decade.

20130415-101111.jpg
I am podcasting all week from Portland so if you want to be on my show on iTunes come grab me.

Podcast: Cloud Security Special

Todays podcast is a must for anyone in Cloud who needs to understand high level security. I’m joined over the ether to my studio in Bath in the UK by Gunnar Hellekson and David Egts. We’re talking access controls, SELinux, sVirt, hardening, security in Government and how we engage in Cloud, security and KVM, Common Criteria – the whole works.

We talk RHEV, RHEL, OpenShift, CloudForms, ManageIQ, auditing, logging, hardening, security – learn how Red Hat secure the important enterprise, Government and industry platforms – allowing our customers to sleep easy.

You cannot afford to miss this weeks show !

Gunnar is the Chief Technology Strategist in Red Hat’s US Public Sector team, trusted by government and the military alike and David is one of our Principal Architects at Red Hat. They both “live eat breathe” security so this podcast is three of us who are very passionate about the topic.

And folks theres more, if you liked this podcast tune in to the first few episodes of Dave and Gunnar’s new podcast – the appropriately named Dave and Gunnar show which you can listen to by following this link directly. I totally recommend it, great listening. I’ve been working with them over the last few months recommending kit and I really think this is a show you should be listening to on a regular basis. Gunnar and Dave have taken a totally different spin on podcasting that Rhys Oxenham and I have been planning since November to do monthly that I bought the kit to do – but we haven’t had the time to do. Since Christmas we’ve been set up to make the changes I keep mooting, and this will happen.

It’s so nice to be back in the studio able to control the level of audio again, seems like an age since I was sat at a mixing desk recording this stuff. Listening to this podcast you wouldn’t think that David was in Ohio, Gunnar in Houston, Texas and me the other side of the pond, and all recorded produced and released using Fedora – no Mac’s here folks.

Come back soon for some great podcast content and if you haven’t yet subscribed via iTunes or my RSS feed simply follow the menu bar above to get the links you need. Come back next week for some more great content.

 Download the podcast here in MP3 format only

Solving EU privacy issues with CloudForms

Over the last two and a half years it’s become clearer that despite best efforts there has been a bottleneck in the European Union’s ability to leverage their influence in development of new methodologies of increasing technology consumption or investment in EU cloud.

The clue to the problem lies very much in the lack of credible underlying support that surrounds the European Commissions cloud strategy that emerged in September 2012 that I’ve talked about here before. Their stated aims to increase the spread and adoption of Cloud Computing in EU states were slated to generate about €900bn of generated revenue and a speculative figure of an additional increase in headcount in IT related services by 3.8 million new hires. I’ve read the report in detail and it still makes no sense and just seems to be a finger in the wind (like many analyst reports we all read daily) as to them “taking the temperature of the industry as a whole.”

Maybe it was to buy more time until their slated 2014 time window when the assumption is that the common EU data protection regulations will be outlined. These will replace sovereign data protection acts such as that we take for granted in the UK and to understand the thinking of how that impacts on Cloud.

If we examine how that impacts, say on a company like Amazon, purely as an example, they currently have to implement working practices for AWS in the EU where applicable in contract terms for sovereign customers. These practices have to follow to the letter the data protection acts in France, Germany, Ireland, the UK etc. All those actual data protection acts can be see to be following a skeleton or outline of actual data protection directives issued by the EU but each with their own specific tailored requirements around statute in applicable sovereign territories. So currently it’s hard work for any provider of services to offer a blanket one size fits all across the EU, and the cost of sales and architecture is therefore increased as is cost of adoption for consumption of elastic services generically across multiple territories.

So the hope is we can look forward to 2014 expecting a unified approach to data protection and therefore investment and adoption of catalogue cloud services as an industry. There is no denying that if you have that territorial harmonisation of regulation across the EU it will make it easier for corporations and organisations to build compliance frameworks but also if we were to turn that on it’s head it will create a new raft of operational requirements.

Each member state will have to take on board their individual responsibilities for the legal statute required to make it work and that means additional challenges in Sweden, Germany, Spain and especially France. The workload alone on the part of data controllers facing new responsibilities are going to dramatically increase as well as the definition and creation of procedures and controls. The need to understand how to fit within a new skeleton regulation framework for the management of data privacy then needs to also fold in the needs to handle reporting. We now move to a theoretical world post 2014 where an organisation needs to file compulsory data breach notifications immediately at identification of a data loss or hack.

This all impacts on the lifecycle of cloud services and repudiation of data within contractual periods across multiple territories and potentially multiple providers in open hybrid cloud. This is one of the great facets of ManageIQ capabilities to tag and to “patrol” your complete Cloud fabric in order for you to be able to conform out the box today with responsibilities as a data controller or processor. CloudForms handles Cloud. It doesn’t matter whether thats defined as a public cloud sitting on a provider presence or a private cloud sat in your datacentre. If you’re serious about Cloud you need to have CloudForms in your corner.

An example of this, if for example you have a private cloud the new EU guidance adjudges you to be the processor responsible for data and in most EU states the controller as well and it becomes entirely your position of authority to control the access and protection to that data.

When you start moving those workloads and data upstream to a supplier such as a Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider partner the guidance is clear. The onus is on you the individual to examine at contract and actual practice level that your provider has both the security in place to protect you, but that isn’t enough. You need to be able to do more than just assume a contract keeps you safe without taking on the need for expensive audit procedures and a huge raft of risk registers and rolling pentests / conformance exercises with an often unwilling third party provider who assumes you were happy at the SLA level.

CloudForms combined with ManageIQ give you a single pane capability and the context tagging and reporting doesn’t actually care where your instance is running, be it on a raft of providers on ESX or KVM regardless of location, it just reports and keeps your cloud in line with your controls. It actually draws you in line with the EU regulations ahead of time.

So when the EU regulatory guidance actually becomes more than lipstick on a pig you can look smugly and realise that having implemented CloudForms and MiQ you were ahead of the game, and your business not impacted either by additional regulatory need and complex guidance having a negative impact on your growth.

Expect to read more about CloudForms in the coming weeks and months, for more information engage with your local Red Hat country representative.