Red Hat plans to deliver its Enterprise Linux 7 in the second half of 2013 in line with its three-year upgrade path but that's not why the company held a press conference today.
In an hour long webcast today, the Linux leader publicly celebrated the 10th anniversary of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its recent success at hitting the $1 billion mark, but more importantly, positioned itself as the heir apparent to the infrastructure throne of the future.
The keys to the kingdom? Red Hat's open source innovation model and open source architecture, which, executives emphasized, is the foundational layer of cloud computing.
Make no mistake about it, VMware and Microsoft, and any other company trying to reform their proprietary image in the open era: Red Hat has the not-so-secret sauce -- the stack of open source technology and open source development model -- necessary to make it the king of the cloud era.
"We're straddling both worlds .... we're driving the future," said Red Hat's longtime engineering chief, Paul Cormier, noting that the stack of Red Hat software once described as the Open Source Architecture is the cloud computing platform today.
Cormier said Red Hat's introduction of an open source software subscription model in 2002 was perhaps the most important event in the company's history, while its embrace of the open source community led innovation model via its merging with the Fedora project, embrace of the KVM open source hypervisor in the Linux kernel, and its pioneering role as Amazon EC2's first cloud partner, locks in its future supremacy.
It's common for US companies to predict triumph well in advance of its fruition. But holding a press conference to announce it is a bit risky, even for an open source company whose software now runs about 20 percent of all servers.
Forget about Linux, executives said. The future is about cloud technologies and virtualization. Red Hat will move well past its 2.5 million subscribers today because customers want an open source infrastructure and an open source hypervisor and there's nothing that VMWare or Microsoft can do about it, execs insinuated.
Red Hat said little about RHEL 7, which will offer, of course, performance and security improvements and innovations in file systems and hardware.
The goal of today's webcast was to give notice to Microsoft, the only other viable data center inrastructure provider, and VMware, the only other viable hypervisor, that their days are numbered because of Red Hat's open hybrid cloud environment, which will be the foundation to delivering the IaaS and PaaS in cloud computing.
What do you think? Will the first $1 billion open source company soar to the top in the cloud era?