Podcast: Funs Kessen – building EU Clouds

Now this was a fun show to record, talking to a realworld cloud architect at one of Hollands leading new technology companies Schuberg Philis who sponsored the Cloud event we’ve been attending this week.

Funs is one of two of their architecture team tasked with helping companies in Holland in the Schuberg Philis growing portfolio of customers to get to cloud safely, navigating governance and privacy regulation and ensuring their workloads and data are successfully transitioned to cloud.

Hope you enjoy the show more to come later if I still have power and bandwidth to get them out pre my flight back to the UK.

 Download the podcast in MP3 format here – or alternatively browse the RSS.

Hybrid Cloud Environments & SDS

My opposite number in North America Gordon Haff has put this great video together that is well worth a watch.

Software defined storage is on the up. Red Hat as an enabler of technology change is investing code, time and resources to help customers focus and realise their ambitions in every aspect of cloud architecture.

Do take a few minutes out your day to watch and if you’d like more information please get in touch or contact your regional Red Hat office.

Linuxcon Europe Show 4: Open Daylight

So heres the thing about working with the Linux Foundation, and the reason why every year I stump up my membership fees to be part of their rollcall. They get it, they genuinely get it. Jim Zemlin, Mr Enthusiastic himself who is one of the most articulate geeks you would ever have the pleasure to meet bounds on stage or into a room like an excitable child and on Monday when he jumped on to the stage in Edinburgh this was no different.

One of the reasons for his beaming smile and positive attitude though was the fact that under his stewardship and with boundless energy and pride several projects including OVA have been added to the roster of collaborative projects under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.

Today Chris Wright who is the Director of Software-Defined Networking joined me to talk SDN goodness and how the Cloud piece interacts with the integration of OpenStack. Chris was recently promoted to Director level in Red Hat, well earnt and judging by the size of the audience here for his keynote there were obviously a lot more people out there who wanted to hear him speak than could get in the room.

To find out more about Open Daylight watch the video below and then listen to the show we recorded for you today.



 Download the podcast in MP3 format here – or alternatively browse the RSS.

Cloud: Doing your research pays dividends

Over the last sixteen years of being paid full time to work on Linux and Open Source I have seen technology grow enormously, I’ve seen projects both explode as well as implode and fork, protocols appear, new ways of solving old problems evolve and companies both rise and fall. One thing has remained the same, the conjecture and the articles written by analysts and journalists alike to describe how we all create our pathways to new technology.

To survive in this marketplace any company worth it’s stock price and meeting analyst and customer expectation accordingly needs to have a very flexible but defined set of controls over it’s development, acquisition and market approach. It’s been the same since the dawn of IBM and Xerox and it continues to be the same. One thing that of course has changed has been the shackles imposed by intellectual property being “owned by the fee” to the ability of companies globally to share in the rapid and agile methodologies afforded by using Free and Open Source Software. Reduced time to market, the ability to reverse positions and to move quickly to change market approach and to re-think strategy has become fluid and entirely dynamic. This has of course, not come without significant challenges, and the responsibility of all of us to ensure that we don’t just consume but also contribute back and to maintain the strength and the community heartbeat of Open Source as we take next steps.

Let’s be very clear, Open Source allows organisations to sandpit and build proof of concepts in all areas of technology in a more rapid fashion than ever before and it allows a consensus to grow in every business vertical that unless we adopt, connect and give back we are not partaking in the spirit, but simply reaping the benefits without solving new problems and sharing experience on the way. Red Hat has given back to the community since day one and continues to do so and we also benefit along that route and produce, and support solutions that are best of breed around Linux and Cloud. It’s not a secret, we even show you how the sausages are made, it’s transparent and it’s in your face and customers globally rely on us to maintain software, services and guidance around Open Source.

Open Source could have been described by some in the industry as revolution, in fact you only have to go back and see how young many of us looked in RevolutionOS and other features produced around that time, but more than anything Open Source has supplemented other methodologies and earnt a place at the head of the table for every major household name online brand you could care to name by virtue of it’s flexible nature and power. More than revolution there was steady evolution, responsible guidance and frameworks for growth from companies who emerged. Caldera, Linuxcare, VA Linux, Red Hat, Penguin Computing, SuSE amongst the ranked masses that appeared in the late 1990s. Red Hat, we’re still here. We don’t take for granted for one second the creativity and the power of the community, we still contribute and employ more Open Source key figures than any other SEC listed company worldwide. We also still contribute to every aspect of Open Source and Free Software Communities as well as pushing the mantra of Open being key to what we do and how we succeed.

So this brings us up to where we are today with Cloud.

Recently a couple of articles have appeared that invited discussion and painted a picture of Red Hat and our Cloud Engineering focus that I’d like to correct and to try and explain out. Without conjecture and without the need to appear that I’m playing a biased card because genuinely I’m not, just both articles had me scratching my head having read them confused at the editorial direction and trying desperately to work out how we were being positioned without due diligence seemingly not being done in the drafting of either.

The first was from Laurent Lachal at Ovum. Anybody who has met Laurent knows him as a polished and versatile analyst with his finger right on the pulse, I took part in a thinktank event with him not so long ago and it was great to see him at work, a real thinker, erudite with great balance to technology. His article which appeared in late June on Ovum’s portal confused me slightly because of the positioning. The opening gambit of Red Hat “needing to get out of it’s comfortzone – OpenStack not being the new Linux” confused me greatly, I understood the need for market differentiation and the need to be different but the whole gambit was entirely wrong, hit the tree and missed the apple by a royal mile.

If anybody, analyst or journalist alike thinks that the company who gets to the winning post has the best supported OpenStack solution or a one size fits all installable supportable solution then they’ve misunderstood where we are in 2013 with enterprise computing and solving the needs of our customers. Fact.

Day in day out Red Hat works globally on projects and contributes code, solutions and importantly people, not just our own staffers but our vitally valued and critically important reseller and partner community to solve first world problems in Cloud and virtualisation. We supplement and promote key decision making ability across companies who are looking ahead to OpenStack and other infrastructure solutions to understand how they’re going to form the successful and strong foundations of where to go. Red Hat has long since stopped being just a distribution based company, Red Hat has been out there proving it’s mettle and underwriting and supporting the ambition of customers getting the best out of their rollcall and their investments in technology – and we also have a Linux distribution, RHEL which continues to be the dominant enterprise Linux player. Nobody at Red Hat thinks that OpenStack is the new Linux. Brian Stevens even said it on stage in Amsterdam in November last year at the GigaOM conference, it’s even Google’able. If the main man says it then am entirely unsure what the remit and direction of the editorial stance is ?

Also confused – What is Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (RHEL-OP) ? It’s described in the article at the commercial version of RDO.. Don’t know what RHEL-OP is, we announced RHOS (Red Hat OpenStack) and it isn’t the commercial supported version of RDO. We explained what RDO was eight weeks before this article went live – it’s even been available on the RDO website since the Monday we launched it at the OpenStack Developer Summit in Portland. Search engines are great at enabling that when researching a position paper or article that you are able to align your sources and editorial before pressing the nuclear publish button. If there is confusion, guess what there are also podcasts available with the RDO community team lead on this very portal that explain what RDO is and what Red Hat OpenStack is. There is also a plethora of other resources such as the podcasts I recorded with Perry Myers and Rhys Oxenham two weeks before this analyst article went live that was listened to by 3,000+ people (including analysts) on the official Red Hat Summit podcast channel so no real excuse for getting stuff so categorically “wrong” . The paragraph “Red Hat needs to more clearly define how it plans to converge its technologies” then goes on once more to entirely confuse our actual stance around Cloud engineering. At Red Hat we’re open and transparent. It’s one of the reasons people feel safe because we tell people what we put in our sausages and we work hard to communicate effectively with customers – ahead of time. We’re a subscription based company built on strong foundations of engineering excellence and communicating our services and our solutions to resellers and customers alike. It’s something that works well and something that we always strive to ensure is a deliberate go to market strategy.

To this end on the 16th June we released tools to help people understand our strategy around RHCI to enable and aid customers looking at workload migration and to also make sure that our pathway and positioning was easily understood. Alongside these paper tools and online articles we even released a video detailing what our stance is and how we’re working hard to enable transition and change in Cloud. So once more I’m left scratching my head as to trying to understand that if we release this stuff a whole nine days before the analyst piece appeared on Ovum as to why the positioning in the article was so blatantly at odds with reality ? My good friend Stephen J Vaughan Nicholls at ZDNet whose counsel and guidance I regularly rely on published this article on the 13th June almost a fortnight before that did well to paint the reality of how hard we’re working to enable OpenStack as a developing and critical part of Cloud. Add on the whole raft of keynotes and product specific videos that were available immediately online via YouTube during and post Red Hat Summit a week before the article was posted actually gave root and branch guidance as to our stance without having to even do a great deal of homework, you just have to listen to Paul Cormier or Brian Stevens (especially the cameo from Mark McLoughlin who features on podcasts here) to have enough correct info to position your piece accurately without conjecture or mistake.

The second article was from Brian Proffitt carrying the headline – Reality Check – OpenStack is NOT the new Linux. Might be worth you reading it (clicking on it will open it in a new window).

Now Brian is somebody I personally owe a lot to and whom I have a great deal of personal admiration for. On September 22nd 2000 he published the worlds first polished editorial reviews of our then GPL project SmoothWall that myself and Lawrence Manning were quietly creating in a back bedroom in Hampshire in the UK that would go on to be so huge worldwide and still so popular in millions of networks worldwide. He’s written books that I have on my bookcase and he’s someone I look up to a lot and is one of the original good guys of Open Source and he won’t take it personally if I react to his editorial. At least I hope not. To be very clear here’s a guy who has written and published more editorial in a calendar month than I have in years. You’ve probably read dozens of his articles. However this piece I disagreed with entirely and I know I don’t stand alone. I read it three times, I shared it with people I trust inside and outside of Red Hat who scratched their head and again didn’t quite get the conclusions or the workings . It genuinely didn’t seem to have a point to it and meandered around in circles without making conclusions that merited being published on Linux.com. I can call it out I pay my annual membership to the Linux Foundation and I always loudly support their goals and aims. Just very surprised that this merited publication didn’t suggest balance in the final draft. In some ways the article made some of the same salient points Laurent attempted without research to project across. Maybe it influenced the article, who knows. I know Brian works at SuSE as an evangelist and I am wearing my red Fedora to type this but don’t expect some MTV style Cloud Deathmatch any day soon. Open Source invites discussion, views that differ and provides an avenue for clarity and resolution in all areas of good software development and release and our reporting and analysis of it is no different.

Let’s be clear where we are at without conjecture

At Red Hat we always strive to communicate openly and transparently (and this is in no particular order):

  • To the market, our shareholders, analysts the press etc
  • To our global customers
  • To our partners throughout the world
  • To resellers and the channel who do an amazing job assisting customers with OSS solutions
  • To our community and the wider Linux and OSS community who we rely on to behave in the same manner
  • To customers we haven’t yet welcomed into the Red Hat family

It’s like showing your math working in an examination or test, it’s about being open and transparent so situations like this don’t arise if you use the freely available information at your fingertips to make reasoned judgement using accurate sources. When I record shows and write articles I try to do my homework, Google is my friend and where I need concise information I go and ask people for guidance and information or I don’t hit that publish button. OpenStack has a foundation that Red Hat contribute to, Mark McLoughlin sits on the board and we again are supportive and open to everything that OpenStack stands for and where it’s going. Anybody who thinks that Red Hat is trying to “take over” or to be the best polished OpenStack distribution or make Red Hat the dominant player in OpenStack alone is so far away from the reality of how Cloud is consumed and provisioned by IT departments who want the best out of their technology and simply want a safe bet. Given how many customers globally look to Red Hat compared to every other OSS player for enterprise support it therefore doesn’t surprise me that there are some conclusions reached often where things are slightly rose tinted.

I hope I’ve explained why in this case it’s really quite vital that I feel that you need to prepare before publishing a position piece which can otherwise look inaccurate. Sources like my portal should be invaluable to analysts as you get to hear from the horses mouth as it were, from the people involved in the podcasts I release and the articles I link to from my Twitter feed. I do half the leg work for you.

Getting to the Cloud relies entirely on engineering excellence, relies on knowing the problems you need to solve and being open and entirely diligent about the steps you take in order to build service and offerings. To not learn from the lessons and experiences of the last fifteen years at Red Hat flies in the face of what this company is about and where we are taking this organisation fuelled by the passion and integrity of the staff and the ethos of the company.

We have no secret sauce, we just have the ambitions and the goodwill of the forward thinking customers globally to take care of, openly.

Podcast: Fedora 19 is Cloudy – Peter Robinson


With the launch of Fedora 19 in the last two weeks we thought it was time to get a podcast out with Fedora team member Peter Robinson. It coincided with the third birthday party of OpenStack which we (Red Hat) co-sponsored at the BlueFin building this last Friday gone. Peter and I met up to do some work together Friday and then retired from the scorching heat of London South Bank to the sane 1960s concrete jungle that is London’s National Theatre. It’s a great place to chill in the heat but also to record (hint there in case anyones in London and wants somewhere free to record).

We talk Cloud, Fedora 19 ARM goodness, how Fedora is built and we talk about every aspect of FOSS within Fedora. We also pay tribute to Seth Vidal and this podcast is very much in his memory.

Come back next Wednesday for a new show.

Download the podcast here in MP3 format only

Podcast: Arun Oberoi VP of Global Sales at Red Hat


Another heavy hitting podcast this time featuring Arun Oberoi VP of Global Sales at Red Hat.

Well worth listening to, we talk Cloud, OpenStack, Red Hat growth and positioning, our community responsibilities. Arun is great to talk to, and to listen to, I remember recording this and having one of those “come to Jesus” moments when stuff slots into place. His legacy experience in the IT industry allows him to paint a picture with credibility and assurance.

Do take time out your day to listen to it.

Coming up next week a podcast with Karl Stevens talking Cloud Providers, CloudForms and much more, the planned podcasts with Rhys Oxenham and James Labocki are shelved until we can all get together at Red Hat Boston Summit.

Advance ticket discounting and more information on Summit can be found here.


Download the podcast here in MP3 format only

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.