Podcast – Ed Daniel, ITIL, Audit & Cloud

I am joined on today’s show by Ed Daniel. Bit of a coup. Ed is one of Europes leading OSS evangelists but like me shares a background in process management ITIL, security and enterprise enablement. Ed works for Normation and was in London attending DevOps and I didn’t have to push very hard to get him to sit down in front of my microphones.

This podcast is really for the companies who are thinking about deploying Cloud, who are thinking security hardening, process management, ITIL, PCI-DSS, ISO standardisation, deploying against Cloud Security Alliance or SELinux guidelines. If you’re a service provider too this podcast also helps you. It’s your opportunity to hear myself and Ed try and give you a steer on designing your cloud and to get to deployment safely whilst growing the frameworks around Cloud management.

We talk ManageIQ/Cloudforms, how audit and logging is essential, OpenStack and Ceilometer, Heat etc etc. How you should engage with a Cloud provider or upstream vendor.

This is one of those difficult conversations which you rarely hear and that is designed to get you to a point where Open Hybrid Cloud can become a reality. We don’t always agree but between the two of us we try to get you to a point where you are armed to safely and securely start designing and consuming Cloud compute capacity.

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

Podcast: Bill Bauman – the RHEV God

Folks we have a real treat for you today, a podcast from Bill Bauman. The guy is about as good as it gets when you want to talk about virtualisation. A righteous dude and a very good friend. Apologies for the photo above, Bill is on my right, whilst I look like someone pumped me up. I’m offering the excuse of jetlag, good Scotch and bad camera angle.

Recorded in Barcelona on IBM’s stand talking about RHEV and IBM Flex systems if you’ve an interest in virtualisation topology, io architecture planning and the future of proper virtual platform computing you need to listen to this.

You’ll also need the slidedeck to accompany the podcast which you can grab here in PDF format.

Download the podcast here in MP3 and OGG formats

Skilling up for Cloud architecture & planning

Yesterday I had the mother of all days in London, hot and muggy, multiple trains, tubes and walking my feet off whilst getting out and about talking Cloud. I was sat, gratefully, on an almost empty train with aircon and it gave me time to sit down with a pad and paper and to get some thoughts down around some of the precursors to Cloud from an Enterprise perspective and I want to share them with you in the form of steps you can take today to build a level of management skillsets towards enterprise Open Cloud adoption and design.

The Red Hat multi faceted approach to technology encompasses support, design, release and management of software across enterprise and datacentre alike but a significant percentage of annual revenue comes from the demand for our training services under the auspices of the Red Hat University. For over a decade we’ve turned out thousands of certified technicians and management across companies globally who are then armed locally not just to manage Red Hat platforms but to make qualified assessments and decisions around legacy and heterogeneous environments. The RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) has been the badge of honour for many years of the techno savvy across companies globally, and now entry level RHCSA (Red Hat Certified System Administrator) allowing an introductory path to ongoing certification and training pre RHCE study and certification.

Adding to the multiple Red Hat certified qualifications and training there is a great course that is designed for architects, system administrators, and J2EE/JBoss developers alike that offers adoptees a significant leg up towards Cloud understanding at every level. Designed for students who already have achieved their base entry RHCSA as a minimum. The Red Hat Cloud Architecture workshop is a two day course that we deliver globally and that is solving many of the thought issues around provisioning, re-use of legacy hardware and applications and also the missing piece of Cloud for many enterprise customers – governance and planning where costs can often account for up to fifty percent of longterm Cloud adoption if not understood and managed properly.

Giving a proper appreciation of the requirements around planning and building IaaS platforms, looking at the tacit design and thought processes around successful design of private and public cloud, application design specifics and planning the whole provisioning lifecycle of Cloud. We bring the ability to the classroom to allow those in the room to be able to deploy hosts and vm’s and to really get to grips with understanding every angle of ownership around the management requirements of a successful Cloud deployment and how the whole hybrid Cloud model works. Giving customers a real world appreciation of planning, provisioning, scalability and allowing enterprises to get to Cloud quicker with confidence and with the inhouse skilling of key personnel should be a potential boost for many enterprises.

If you want to add to that as an individual there are then a multitude of courses and exams on everything from RHEV to SELinux for individual staffers to become platform specialists and to allow you as an organisation to develop a best of breed approach to your Cloud needs – you can find more information here.

Are you Cloud ready ?

We’ve made available for some time our Cloud Readiness Assessment Guide (registration required but takes minutes to step through) which is free to use and easy to work through and delivers you an automated assessment / appraisal of your readiness. Invaluable and something that as it’s made available freely should really be a no-brainer to work through.

You’ll also find a bunch of whitepapers and a video with Bryan Che around planning and assessment phases of Cloud online here. We also have our Cloud webinars that I know from feedback a few of you have already discovered via this blog.

If theres anything more you want or need to know please reach out to me directly or to your local in country Red Hat product teams and we’ll react promptly.

It’s all about the Enterprise PaaS roadmap

Today Red Hat launched it’s Enterprise roadmap for Platform as a Service to the press and analysts. It’s been a labour of love for a long time internally with our teams and management working intensively to put together a structured offering that really could hit the market offering a value proposition and a lifecycle for enterprise customers.

OpenShift is a game changer in Platform as a Service (PaaS). If you historically look at the definition of PaaS it’s been shrouded in the architectural frameworks, scalability and application / source syncing challenges that present a raft of APIs and behaviour changes to developers that you could perceive as less than friendly – or that doesn’t meet your or my own definition of open. Certainly it’s not the greatest experience when faced with a new stack it presents you with a list of service definitions, frameworks and capabilities.

OpenShift is different. For starters theres a message here for the analysts and technology press – it’s written by developers – for developers. Please don’t lose focus on the importance of this. Theres a reason why the popularity of OpenShift since we launched it last May 2011 has been somewhat stellar. We’re providing an end user experience of being able to focus on what matters – your code. Removing the handcuffs and the shackles and allowing people to get to work faster not worrying about the VM’s, or the change control and how to get servers online and built etc. A gentle cursory search of the Twittersphere will drown the average researcher in plaudits from the development community who have realised a three stage push to Cloud really is redefining how you can just take leaps and bounds into the ecosystem.

Let’s not over egg the pudding here. This blog isn’t a marketing stall that sets out to look purely down the gun of the Cloud technologist and to aim Red Hat flavoured solutions scattergun style. What we’re doing is fundamentally different, to concentrate on a paradigm shift that offers you an application platform in the Cloud whilst managing the stack for you – automating the painful stuff that hinders technology growth and slows down the rate of application development and Cloud provisioning. As I said before developed by developers for developers to deliver the capabilities they need whilst also tacitly improving the developer experience in the process. As we get to a point in the technology curve where Cloud matures it becomes even more obvious that the solutions we describe right now, that we’re making available today, are THE ecosystem of choice not the simple automation of a providers framework or clutch of badly documented APIs.

Click the image below to maximise it to full size for easier reading and understanding

The fact that we come from an Enterprise background with RHEL the supported prizefighter out there in the Linux environments globally then it’s screamingly obvious that once you lift the hood of OpenShift you see all the goodness, strengths and maturity of RHEL underneath. The support for standard operating and development environments as well as all the ultra tenacious stuff that the analysts in Cloud now realise is the kingpin – the major benefits of faster application scaling, better higher efficiency by the virtue of OpenShifts ability to support two tier multi-tenancy from the get go. For the bean counters that means you’re reducing your costs out the box. Proper portability of applications and development environments, industry leading security by virtue of control groups as well as sVirt and SELinux out the box (security as aspect of design not by retrofit) and heres the magic sauce, the multi-tenancy capability at the Operating System tier not at the virtualisation layer unlike other offerings out there.

As you move to embrace a true hybrid Cloud model you have to acknowledge as technologists that your support frameworks and application model will have to stretch to conform to different models with different hypervisor types, SLA’s enforced on you as end user adopters still expected to offer the same level of service and conformity to your users and customers. OpenShift as part of its design specification had a core realisation that if you develop an application for PaaS you were going to be in a situation where there would be flux on the part of everchanging underlying hypervisor or provider technologies. Minimising the adverse effects this would have on PaaS environments in hybrid cloud therefore became a design factor. To be able to maintain service regardless of operating environment and to maintain security and segregation in multi tenant environments and move it away from the underpinning virtualisation layer. Down to basics if you think of a battlefield planner who has to come up with a fabric that will cope and perform to the same level no matter how hostile the weather or the neighbourhood in a conflict zone then OpenShift is the body armour of choice for the Cloud soldier going into battle.

Bryan Che is the Product Marketing Manager and thought leader at Red Hat on all things Cloud, an MIT graduate and an amazing font of knowledge when it comes to virtualisation, Cloud and reinventing how we need to embrace change. He has contributed an article today which explores further how the development eco system and our JBoss core strengths can scale to handle multiple applications and multi tenancy in Cloud. Follow this link to read the article, and while you’re there check out his other Tenet’s of Cloud articles which are thought provoking and a great armoury for you to keep personally as you tackle objections and shape your own path in Cloud.

Backroom Heroes – Are You One ?

One of the great things about technologies and platforms built around Linux technology is the underlying doctrine that very often, and this is meant without stigma or criticism, they start out as something else that you started designing. Often more feature rich and capable by virtue of the fact that we have the benefit of choice from the myriad of projects that are available to us under Open Source licences and the community mindset of our origins.

This is hugely important as companies, institutions and large scale government usage of Linux has snowballed over the last eight or nine years, and even more so as budgets have become stretched. The ambition and technical requirements of users and organisations refuse to match available funding. E.g our customers, our users and our directors often expect service delivery to match the needs of the business which snowball. Having that Open methodology to service provisioning and product development means that now more than ever the influence of Open Source and Free Software doesn’t just make “inroads” but becomes the “incumbent” technologies that the majority of large organizations now rely on to go to work and deliver service capability.

When I stand at a white board in front of customers or a room full of people who eagerly expect some magic doctrine to appear Hogwarts style from my marker pen I often reflect on the fact that the diagram I’m about to draw, or maybe the steps I’m about to outline come straight from the heart of Open Source. The white board sketch taking place takes it’s shape and meaning from the contributions and commits from the backroom heroes that have built the building blocks of Linux and by reflection the framework of the internet and have given us things that we forget are there from a development perspective and the modular capabilities that we take for granted. Very often technologies, platforms, mash ups and protocols that I’ve watched grow first hand having contributed to them in the community or worked at organisations shaping them before the rest of the world got to download and build their platforms on them. How many of us take a REST API or the ability to use PHP or Python for granted as well as our ability to just roll something without having to go upstream to get a purchase order to buy a Visual Basic or a Lotus Notes licence from a corporate beancounter ? The world has changed, underwritten by the efforts of the community and the maturity model brought to technology change by Red Hat.

I don’t think that we’re under any illusions as technologists that the demands are increasing and it would often be great to have the crystal ball to predict how we’re going to be consuming technology and meeting the demands of users and customers.

It’s even more evident in larger multinational companies or traditional legacy institutions who are probably the biggest growth curve adopters of Open Source, championed and given credence by the often underestimated and unsung bands of heroes working in the backoffice environments. These are the men and women developing the frameworks, the applications and the development environments harnessing the power of Open Source. We see it every single working day given the fact that Red Hat is the backbone of a large percentage of these operational environments and growing.

Linux based platforms, the languages and the technologies that we have as our toolbox to build the feature rich applications, and the structures that our employers or our customers are going to be consuming rely on the capabilities of the community and the likes of companies such as Red Hat especially. This is even more evident when we look at Cloud.

There is a definite change underway right now. For those of us close enough to the coal seam it’s quite clear. IT budgets for adoption and trying to make legacy applications migrate to Cloud are squeezed – or a pot of cash that doesn’t grow dynamically to the actual needs of your incumbent project or the expectations as they become clear. The funding required to create the necessary frameworks and architectures in our datacentres to Cloud are still pinched as CIOs and management work hard to get into a position where by migrating to private or a hybrid cloud model they don’t dilute the governance of existing application schema. To ensure by embracing Cloud that you don’t introduce new risks or unworkable processes that bring new hidden costs of ownership or worse impact on future capabilities. We’ve got your back. Thats not meant flippantly or as a throw away comment it’s a very real statement of intent.

Cloud can often can be seen to be offputting for some organisations where you’re trying to bring processes and teams of developers together to build core architectures and featuresets, but to do so with a level of maturity rather than Cloud just being cobbled together mixtures of applications, a credit card obtained abstraction layer with a service provider, an SLA that’s often confusing and just another part of a roadmap to Cloud that seems to grow at a frenetic pace. The smart money is on the backroom hero being the one that keeps the ship steady and being the staffer who is critical to this getting designed and deployed stably and we’re right behind you able to give you the tools and confidence to make those steps.

Where a decade ago we were at the beck and call (and you could say the mercy of, without being seen as flippant) of proprietary software companies and service organisations globally to determine our own roadmaps for software usage now the model has evolved. The Open Source community have given us the ability to “grab freely” the technology building bricks to structure our daily working environments and to be able to communicate and interact with the community which has as many non-coding consumers of technology as it does those who contribute commits or other important tasks such as documentation or bug testing. You could say it’s given many of us a voice, you’d be short of reality slightly but you’d be on the right track. It’s given many of us an inside track to grow our careers and to further our personal knowledge and core capabilities and more than that it’s allowed us to build, deploy and support enterprise on premise capabilities whilst at the same time keeping our eye on the future needs of our customers and users.

Cloud is no different. The requirements of having SOA architectures migrated to elastic computing / virtualised hosting architectures and the need to start thinking maybe as much a year or two ahead from the governance perspective are very real. Underlying the compute mentality of what we’re being expected to deliver is both exciting and also challenging. We are working extremely hard in the community, you may have seen our recent announcement on the very real contributions we’ve made at the core of the OpenStack project. You may even have missed the ubercool stuff we’ve made available under the Deltacloud API which we put into the Apache Incubator a couple of years ago thats allowed interaction across multiple cloud types helping avoid the dangers of lock in emerge as risk to Cloud growth.

The Aelous project  that we’ve invested so much time and love in (not aware of Aelous ? – then follow the link) and the upcoming release of CloudForms (coming very soon as a supported architecture piece) and our release of OpenShift Origin this week are demonstrating the very real fact that if you’re serious about Cloud – if you’re serious about being Open about adoption of Cloud technology then you have to take Red Hat very seriously. It’s moved the discussion a long way away from the old discussion of free vs fee Linux OS’s, away from the RHEL v CentOS v other free derivatives. It’s not about the OS tier, it’s about a blended approach to Cloud and to have the entire stack open and transparent and to get to Cloud with confidence. It’s easier to do that when you have the ability to work with us to get there to give support to every step of your Cloud stack from application development and the concept of mobility of application across hypervisor types or service providers. This continues through to development of true hybrid architectures and the ongoing administration and evolution of processes and provisioning as your users and customers look for more and more features and services.

It’s no longer enough to keep the discussion at the hypervisor level. We march on code, we march on goodwill and the back office teams of coders, administrators and the heart and soul of many organisations need the supported mature tools to go to work. Our commitment to you as we take these steps forward is that to do this openly and with confidence Red Hat is here to support you.

Linux often used to creep in quietly through the backdoor. We’ve moved on, we’re here to support you and to help you achieve your goals and to do it with confidence, never more so have you been more important to the ambitions of your parent organizations.

We are providing the ladders to climb up, to reinforce the ambitions and to make this achievable. Moving beyond proof of concept to deployed Cloud can be tricky and time consuming. Follow the links in these articles or reach out to me or your local team at Red Hat and we’ll try and show you the best way forward.