Inside the IT industry’s largest commercial open source software ecosystem

Inside the IT industry’s largest commercial open source software ecosystem
Published: 8 July 2019 - 8:02 p.m.
By: Lars Herrmann
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

At Red Hat, our vision of an open hybrid cloud is simple. We believe they should be truly open platforms across any application, environment, and cloud, with portability and operational consistency. This reaches from public and private clouds, to bare metal and virtual environments in traditional datacenters, the extended datacenter (edge), and end-user devices.

Delivering application portability for development and operations across a diverse set of environments, without vendor lock-in, requires ubiquitous open source technologies as well as commercial offerings based on these technologies. Open source technologies can provide layers of abstraction and offer an ecosystem worth investing in for customers and vendors alike. These technologies deliver a pathway to commercial offerings as stand-alone products or as solutions that help solve customer needs.

Standardising with open source.

Standardising on products that use open source technologies can help protect customers by offering an exit strategy. Linux, Linux containers, Kubernetes and Kubernetes Operators are key technologies for these abstractions in modern computing environments. A closer look reveals why:

Applications written and optimised to run on Linux take advantage of the vast hardware and virtualisation support, cloud integration, ubiquitous availability, the Linux security model, and innovation offered by the broader open source community.

Architecting and packaging these applications in Linux container images simplifies deployment across development, test and production environments. The portability offered by container images enables a high degree of automation for the software development and delivery lifecycle, as well as strong security capabilities on compatible deployment platforms.

Kubernetes has evolved as the leading general-purpose container orchestration platform, enabling efficient and dynamic operation of containerised applications on multi-tenant, shared clusters of Linux hosts.

Kubernetes Operators enable automated delivery, provisioning and lifecycle management of multi-container applications, integrating with Kubernetes natively and making use of the flexibility of container image distribution and deployment.

The importance of platforms

Platforms are only as useful as what developers and users can achieve with them and what applications can run on them. In addition to robust technology integration inside a platform, elements like long-term stability, prescriptive technical integration interfaces, and commercial offerings for partners and customers are key ingredients for a successful ecosystem. These are also essential for creating a healthy network design that will benefit all ecosystem participants.

Enterprise customers should also look to vendors to deliver interoperable, secure, and jointly supported solutions aligned throughout the lifecycle of a deployment. Technology partner programs can play a key role in delivering customers ancillary benefits, such as certification offerings for software, hardware, services, and cloud service providers that develop products and services for hybrid cloud platforms. Programs geared towards this enable enterprise stability, improved security, and enhanced efficiencies.

As the industry adopts DevOps, cloud, and microservices, certification of third-party products has to adapt to embrace ideas driving trends, rapid incremental change, and delivery of value –all powered by automation and agile methods. For example, at Red Hat we’ve developed certification services to align with our partners in an always-on, CI/CD orientation including alert systems, cloud-based tooling, re-build services and registry, and publication services. These elements help to provide customers better assurances via a robust certification relationship with ecosystem partners. A similar proprietary program is also facilitating customer and partner journeys for continuous container certification.

New tools for success

Building on this, new certification offerings for technology partners can be designed to accelerate adoption and to increase the hybrid cloud value for mutual customers. With the right tools, vendors can showcase and deliver complete solutions for technology companies to ready their applications for the open hybrid cloud. Ultimately, these allow for stronger customer choice, open source innovation, stability and support.

Applications can be certified for the four footprints – from bare metal to virtualisation or containers in private and public. These delivers the appropriate technology integration needed to meet the desired application outcomes, from traditional enterprise applications to cloud-native, containerised applications, and hybrid cloud services. Solutions like these are paving the way for how the industry can create ecosystems that are worth investing in. Overall, these solutions are truly solving customer needs.

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