Cloud: Open Business Transformation

A lot of attention this week has been focused on comments made in an interview with Barclays Bank on how their use of Linux allowed them streamlined and focused development environments and how use of Linux and Open Source confirmed their internal strengths to get to first base quicker and faster, saving a huge amount of budget in the process.

Barclays are a thought leader, they’re a great company who understand how changing the ethos and supporting their people to deliver the platforms and technologies allows them to be one step ahead of many in the same vertical industry. It’s one reason Red Hat work with them and why we put so much effort into supporting their ambitions.

So if Barclays can harness Cloud openly and benefit by association can other businesses use it for transforming not just their architectures but also the underlying ethos that glues IT processes and practices together ? Allowing the adoption of Open Cloud to re-invent or re-imagine what they are able to achieve. Agility has always been a cornerstone of Cloud, elasticity goes beyond availability but also describes methodologies of provisioning to fit both governance and appetite. Using Open Cloud to develop hybrid methodologies to build new structures around your internal capabilities may yet be seen as the smartest move yet for shrewd CIOs facing the ever increasing needs from both internal and external facing customers.

OpenShift has given voice to Red Hat’s ability to work with forward thinking developers at every level across every business vertical. To be able to demonstrate openly with three clicks how you break through existing barriers to Cloud application deployment and management. Tie in JBoss (the underlying glue behind OpenShift) and you have an agile structured development environment world class and ready for application deployment as well as those organisations who are realising that migration from WebLogic and Websphere makes JBoss a more advantageous platform than just being a JRE stablemate.

Barclays aren’t the first, they may be one of the most vocal and supportive, but the world is waking up to the fact that if you are sensible, if you understand business process and bottom line effects on your business – you avoid vendor lock in, and you think Open.

We’ve worked very hard over the last five years to build a solution set of technologies as part of engagement at the customer level to get existing enterprise customers often drowning in older legacy less flexible legacy platforms to start thinking openly. The Red Hat Pathways engagement model is proven to work and is a great starting point when you are starting to consider how you re-imagine and re-focus your business process methodology around harnessing the best of Open Source. This is never more critical when it comes to the decision making around Cloud. The video below gives you a brief snapshot of what it is and how it can be engaged with.

Below you’ll also find two more online resources to help you think about why being Open can dramatically increase your agility and flexibility at every level of your business using Red Hat Open Hybrid Cloud.

Red Hat – Get more out of your Open Cloud

Red Hat – Enterprise PaaS

Podcast: Red Hat Acquire ManageIQ

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I’ve been promising to record and release this quick podcast on my take on our acquisition of ManageIQ. I don’t speak for Red Hat on this nor do my views or opinions matter in any way. I look at things from a technology adoption and technology abstraction layer and how it impacts and enhances our abilities in Cloud.

If you’re not aware of ManageIQ I’m presuming you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the last three years.

Needless to say when I found out about ManageIQ becoming part of Red Hat (subject to all the usual shareholder stuf) I was beaming from ear to ear. ManageIQ are an amazing group of people who really understand the granularity of cloud, the flexibility you need to demonstrate when dealing with elastic architecture but the need to get under the hood and deliver. Quite simply they demonstrate maturity in depth and excellence of the highest order when it comes to engineering solutions across heterogeneous cloud platforms and technologies.

manageiq2

Combine that with a virtualisation layer(RHEV/KVM), a storage platform (Gluster – Red Hat Storage), a PaaS platform (OpenShift) and CloudForms and you are effectively delivering an entire orchestration piece that no other vendor, VMWare included, can currently compete with. Seventy two hours on to the minute I am STILL smiling.

Here’s my take on it – listen now on iTunes or Stitcher or click the link to the podcast to listen to it in your browser.

Come back in 2013 for more content – and remember I love hearing your feedback and your news. Better stories come out of collaboration. 43,000+ downloads of my podcasts since August (thats nearly 580 man days of listening if you stacked each episode end to end) is flattering but I can do better – with your help.

Happy Christmas from my family to yours. Have a peaceful festive period and thanks for listening to my work and reading my articles during 2012.

Download the podcast here in MP3 format only

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

Podcast: Cutting through the confusion

I was stood at GigaOM in Holland last week and got involved in a heated discussion over ITIL as a standard in cloud. Tried to point out ITIL is a framework not a standard. Took mental notes while I was there and the result is this short podcast where I can rant and let off steam. The power of the microphone is sometimes awesome and it let’s me educate as well as try to show my enthusiasm for what we’re doing here in Cloud.

Also I take time out to talk about the London Developer Day we’re hosting at London South Bank University on the 1st November (thats next week !!) so if you haven’t registered you need to do so asap right now.

Download the podcast here in MP3 and OGG formats

Value Add – Tough Love in Cloud

There is no doubting the fact that as a lot of enterprise organisations and institutions who have for many years been wholly reliant on silo led computing platform architecture feel a little overwhelmed (or underwhelmed in some parts) by Cloud. Cloud the buzzword de jour, the spin. The undefined re-invention of IT. I see it a lot, and I hear it more. There seems to be this “Tough Love” battle of hearts and minds where the positioning of new IT enablement and design becomes more than technology refresh or even attrition to a position where Cloud becomes just part of the paradigm shift to doing more with less, or getting more for your dollar as you plan and procure your IT spend. It could even, if you outsource some of your current IT mean you spend less with your incumbent provider as you are able to identify and skill requirements and platforms internally with the people who understand your business the best – your current staff rather than hired consultants at arms length.

Cloud will, be under no illusion, also make those service providers and industry service providers increase profitability by being able to create elastic easily consumable cloud services that become stock catalogue items that sell themselves without sales people needing to push the hard sell. If that provider has the right services they become an asset and a building brick for growth – providing people want them. Where demand is met with intelligent solutions in Cloud there is a marriage made in heaven.

Last year, before I transitioned into this role as one of two Red Hat “Cloud Evangelists” I worked alongside the EMEA sales team in Cloud as their technical solutions architect helping providers stand up Red Hat platforms for customers to burst out to or to bring enterprise workloads too. It was enlightening because here was a software and services company working with the provider channel to build context extensibility into providers rather than just providing an OS or middleware capability. Real world business engineering (or re-engineering if you’d prefer to view it in that context) for both provider and enterprise customer alike to build a two way Open non-vendor locked in example of how we envisage those longterm hybrid and public workloads transitioning to Cloud. And then on the back of it building the provisioning and engagement model to assist customers to be able to just slot in as and when they felt the demand and push to do so. Getting over the “tough love” argument by making Cloud business as usual and easy to consume for both consumer of services – and the provider.

Tough Love – The Provider Angle

Service provision at any tier you can define as being able to take a blended approach of solutions and services that customers want or need to be able to contract. With Cloud it’s been hard for the service tier. A massive over emphasis on the hypervisor, on the provisioning and management and the self service element of the equation has left many now with an expensive overhead in the form of the ongoing licencing costs and ownership costs of proprietary technologies and layered or tiered infrastructures. Ken Hess and Jason Perlow of ZDNet explored this when discussing HyperV vs VMWare and there are a lot of other analysts who are now realising that at some point you are left in a position where that most basic cost of Cloud in the public or hybrid tier has to be passed on in the form of the contractual cost to the customer.

They are also missing a point. It’s not just about the provision of Cloud it’s about what you need to do with it when you get there as a customer, your development and deployment of architectures and infrastructures, your hidden ownership charges and your management layer on top. It would be great, and overdue somewhat for the likes of  GigaOM, Gartner and Forrester whose advice and guidance is read and given credence by many to now start thinking out the box and do more than just tickle Cloud ownership. There isn’t one credible ongoing analyst piece around the service provider tier and frankly when I talk to people (people being customers and decision makers) the positioning of left and right mystical fluffy quadrants needs to align itself to physically adaptable IT planning and positioning not just thought leadership and marketing budgets.

For service providers building Open infrastructures on KVM and in the past on Xen (although we now see KVM as the de-facto standard) and who understand the need to use open components such as CloudForms and OpenShift into the mix they are at a major advantage. They are better armed to be able to offer customers a customisable onramp to Cloud adoption at a pace that meets the appetite of sceptical CIOs but also that then reacts accordingly when the consumption and demand for services from that fledgling customer increases at speed. The ability for providers to have that flexibility and capability with the likes of Red Hat at a engineering level, matched and married to a software stack capability across storage, the hypervisor (RHEV KVM), the secure capabilities afforded by SELinux and sVirt, Middleware OpenJRE power in the form of JBoss, Gluster giving them the unstructured kick ass big data story and then wrap it up with their own ability to ride on the back of CloudForms (and DeltaCloud by association) means an immediate IaaS capability. Then as the customers who are already smart enough to be using OpenShift Origin to build out their sandpit PaaS test capability or to have used OpenShift on AWS start to demand hosted PaaS for that provider to be able to do so with applomb.

Bolt on capability = revenue, the providers who think out the box attract and retain customers longer and become an essential part of the foodchain of Cloud.

Tough Love – The Enterprise / Institutional Customer

It’s hard enough sometimes to run an enterprise environment at the best of times. The driving factors that push and promote the need for ever increasing attention to the needs of customers and consumers of your platforms and architecture are only beaten by the fact that from an accountancy perspective there is little to no elasticity in budgets that need to match or at least demonstrate an affinity for ambitions around elastic cloud. Now add on a new found skill as CIO. Contract negotiation at the most granular level. Signing an SLA is only made easier when you know what signing the solution with your Cloud Provider when you know 1) what you are signing up to 2) if you know what the problem is that you’re trying to solve by engaging with the provider.

Bryan Che of Red Hat writes brilliantly about his“2nd Tenet of Evaluating Products – You Have to Know What Problem You Want To Solve”. If it’s the only thing you click on in this article then I recommend you do so as it’s both thought provoking and influential in it’s steering as a guidance piece. Bryan correctly argues that the comparison of two given cloud products or services are aligned to understanding the problem that the consumption or procurement of that service will deliver. You can’t evaulate until that argument is understood and examined.

When we talk about Open Cloud it’s an understanding that to succeed and get the best out of the utilisation of compute capability in a manner that affords an enterprise something very clear. Independent, capable, assured performance married with a commitment to a flexible future as you grow.

An open provider who demonstrates that the tough love in Cloud is part of their problem, not yours, is the one who can give you the flexibility and the core belief to get to the start line (never mind the finish line). The good news is the smartest way to achieve that goal is for that provider to base his platform capabilities on Red Hat Cloud technologies.

It’s not just about the hypervisor and management – if anyone else tells you it is then it’s time to talk to someone who understands the pressures and needs of your expected IT delivery programme. Make sure they’re open, and make sure they use a certified supported open infrastructure married to a upstream that just happens to have millions of pairs of eyes examining its every release and move.

Pays to be open – but genuinely it’s the toughest love and the most responsible you can be when delivering future computing.

Podcast: Rhys talks Cloud

Today I am releasing part two of a podcast I recorded with Rhys Oxenham last week. In this second installment of a podcast thats proved very popular Rhys will be talking about CloudForms, some of the realworld engineering stuff we’ve been working on with partners etc.

Rhys talks about how CloudForms solves some of the end to end problems of Cloud provisioning and platform management. For you guys looking at the newly released Red Hat OpenStack Preview this could be really important for you to listen to.

I am recording two new podcasts today with Jon Masters and Duncan Doyle, Jon I’ve known for nearly twelve years and is a leading light in the ARM porting world and a longtime Red Hat stalwart. He recently gave one of the best attended and best appreciated Summit talks in Boston. Duncan and I share a common love of everything JBoss so both should be a lot of fun and I’ll bring them to you asap.

  Download part two here in MP3 format or OGG format

Red Hat release OpenStack Preview

OpenStack Technology Preview Available from Red Hat
by: Cloud Computing Team – Written by Gordon Haff (reproduced here verbatim)

The OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing project, has been much in the news. April’s formation of the forthcoming OpenStack Foundation put in place a governance structure to help encourage open development and community building. Red Hat, along with AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, and SUSE, are Platinum members of that foundation. The foundation announcement was quickly followed by a well-attended OpenStack Conference that clearly demonstrated the size and enthusiasm of the OpenStack developer community.

That’s not to say that OpenStack’s work is done. Anything but! The structure and community is now largely in place to form the foundation for development of robust OpenStack products that meet the requirements of a wide range of businesses. However, that development and work doesn’t just happen by itself.

Red Hat was actively involved in the project even before the foundation announcement; we are the #3 contributor to the current “Essex” release. This surprised some commentators given that it exceeded the contributions of vendors who had been louder about their alignment with the project. However, Red Hat’s relatively quiet involvement was fully in keeping with our focus on actual code contributions through upstream communities. With the formation of the OpenStack Foundation and its open governance policies, these contributions have only accelerated.

In parallel, we’ve also begun the task of making OpenStack suitable for enterprise deployments. This means bringing the same systematic engineering and release processes to OpenStack that Red Hat has for products such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat CloudForms, and JBoss Enterprise Middleware.

For example, these enterprise products have well defined lifecycles over which subscriptions can deliver specific types and levels of support. Upgrade paths between product versions are established and tested. Products have hardware certifications for leading server and storage vendors, certification and support of multiple operating systems including Windows and the experience and personnel to provide round the clock SLAs.

In short, stability, robustness, and certifications are key components of enterprise releases. The challenge—one that Red Hat has years of experience meeting—is to achieve the stability and robustness that enterprises need without sacrificing the speed of upstream innovation.

We’re now taking an important step in the development of an enterprise-ready version of OpenStack with the release of a Technology Preview. Red Hat frequently uses Technology Previews to introduce customers to new technologies that it intends to introduce as enterprise subscription products in the future.

Technology Preview features provide early access to upcoming product innovations, enabling customers to test functionality, and provide feedback during the development process. We’re doing all this because OpenStack will be an important component of Red Hat’s open, hybrid cloud architecture.

Here’s where it fits:

OpenStack is an IaaS solution that manages a hypervisor and provides cloud services to users through self-service. Perhaps the easier way to think of OpenStack, however, is that it lets an IT organization stand up a cloud that looks and acts like a cloud at a service provider. That OpenStack is focused on this public cloud-like use case shouldn’t be surprising; service provider Rackspace has been an important member of OpenStack and uses code from the project for its own public cloud offering.

This IaaS approach differs from the virtualization management offered by Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, which is more focused on what you can think of as an enterprise use case. In other words, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization supports typical enterprise hardware such as storage area networks and handles common enterprise virtualization feature requirements such as live migration.

Both OpenStack and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization may manage hypervisors and offer self-service – among other features – but they’re doing so in service of different models of IT architecture and service provisioning.

Red Hat CloudForms provides open, hybrid cloud management on top of infrastructure providers.

These “cloud providers” may be an on-premise IaaS like OpenStack or a public IaaS cloud like Amazon Web Services or Rackspace. They may be a virtualization platform (not just a hypervisor) like Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization or VMware vSphere. CloudForms even plans to support physical servers as cloud providers in the future.

CloudForms allows you to build a hybrid cloud that spans those disparate resources. Equally important, though, CloudForms provides for the construction and ongoing management of applications across this hybrid infrastructure. It allows IT administrators to create Application Blueprints (for both single- and multi-tier/VM applications) that users can access from a self-service catalog and deploy across that hybrid cloud under policy.

Finally, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities on the infrastructure of your choice are delivered by Red Hat OpenShift PaaS. Unlike a PaaS that is limited to a specific provider, OpenShift PaaS can run on top of any appropriately provisioned infrastructure whether in a hosted or on-premise environment.

This allows organizations to not only choose to develop using the languages and frameworks of their choice but to also select the IT operational model that is most appropriate to their needs. The provisioning and ongoing management of the underlying infrastructure on which OpenShift PaaS runs is where virtualization, IaaS, and cloud management solutions come in.

OpenStack is therefore part of a portfolio of Red Hat cloud offerings which, in concert with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss Enterprise Middleware, Red Hat Storage, and other offerings, provides broad choice to customers moving to the cloud. Cloud is a major shift in the way that computing is operated and delivered. It’s not a shift that can be implemented with a single point product.

Find out more:

We’ve been working in the OpenStack community for a while now and can see its potential. Our focus has been around making OpenStack a great product for enterprises to use. Just like we did with Linux. In the future, we plan to release a commercial version of OpenStack for enterprise customers. But today, we invite you to download a preview of that product and try it out for free. Follow this link to the download site here, fill out the form (you will need a redhat.com account and if you don’t have one don’t worry we offer the option to create one).

Requirements:

Red Hat OpenStack Preview only works with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 or higher. You’ll need a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription for each server you install with Red Hat OpenStack.

The OpenStack Word Mark and OpenStack Logo are either registered trademarks / service marks or trademarks / service marks of OpenStack, LLC, in the United States and other countries and are used with OpenStack LLC’s permission. CloudForms and OpenShift are trademarks of Red Hat.