Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

Summary: Keep the cloud open -- or kill it, Red Hat's chief exec advised during his opening keynote at the company's annual summit Tuesday."Without open source, clouds wouldn't exist.

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Keep the cloud open -- or kill it, Red Hat's chief exec advised during his opening keynote at the company's annual summit Tuesday.

"Without open source, clouds wouldn't exist. Full stop," said Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat President and CEO, noting that three core principles -- collaboration, openness and choice -- enabled users such as Google and Amazon to build the first cloud infrastructure, and adherence to those principles will determine the cloud's fate.

Red Hat CEO Whitehurst

Red Hat CEO Whitehurst

"The protests in the Middle East succeeded because they did everything out in the open ... those same principles will be key success factors in the next generation IT architecture," Whitehurst added.

The cloud is the first user-driven innovation of its kind, and was enabled by open source software, he said. Most technology innovations are vendor or consortium-driven. said.

"End users came up with it .... and now every vendor is trying to say this is my vision around the cloud," he noted. "That's the antithesis of what the cloud is and what it should be. It's not about one stack but a set of principles that allowed this collective innovation to happen.

He took a swipe at Amazon for developing its own set of hooks.  "Clouds have started to develop their own set of APIs. If you're developing an application on Amazon API, you can't move that application ... you're stuck there. If clouds are developed that way, it's kind of like going back to the 80s."

"Cloud apps need to be written so they can go across multiple clouds," he said. "As CIOs develop the next generation IT technology architecture, should they demand anything less than that? Collaboration, not coercison. Transparency, not hype. Choice, not lock-in."

Topics: CXO, Cloud, Hardware, Linux, Open Source

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14 comments
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  • there is a constant fight...

    Unfortunately we live in a monetary economy and not a resource based economy, so there will always be organisations and entities that attempt to hijack the user base. FOSS has come a long way and proves the viability of a merit based open structure of volunteers (even corporation volunteer resources) as opposed to monetary rewards based system. However, the insidious desire to dominate and control will be there as ling as there is money. It is not clear who will win any given battle, but it is ultimately clear who will win the war.
    vonschutter
    • Why pay more for closed

      Why restrict your options to proprietary options? Bizarre, the cost savings from the cloud require we play hardware options against each other, the ability to move requires open systems.

      Happily we've been recommending Linux, java EE. Powerful, scaleable and open. Why pay for less?
      Richard Flude
      • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

        @Richard Flude,<br><br>As usual there is a trade-off between open standards and flexibility and proprietary technology and tighter integration with related software stacks. My opinion is the cost becomes a wash. Disparate technologies that are developed by different parties always have to be tweaked and rarely work out of the box. If they are developed by third parties, support is unavailable or comes at a premium ( part of the open source business model). The upside is you can avoid alot of lock-in. Keep in mind open source and proprietary is not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can have open source technologies that have some degree of lock-in because the implementation doesn't adhere to any standard...especially if there aren't any. <br>Most proprietary solutions work out of the box. Open source advocates, engineers etc...often like to point out that MS infrastructure workers are monkeys because of the ease of implementation. That being said, it's a backhanded complement to MS for creating a system that is easy to admin. However, lock-in is the price you pay for that. Make your choice.<br><br>I am not a Microsoft shill, and I like Linux. I understand the value in having open standards for the sake of interoperability. I do however balk at the notion that all software should be free. It devalues the hard work of the developers that create the software. If you are good at something you should be paid for it.
        bmonsterman
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

    test
    deep@...
  • More stories from Paula Rooney. Please!

    nt
    Dietrich T. Schmitz ~~ Your Linux Advocate
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

    WX forecast: cloudy with rain, possibility of thunderstorms.

    The only parallel I can draw between 80's computing and cloud computing is both leave you with a dumb terminal on your desk and some central computer somewhere that will go up and down based on the whims of the sys admins.
    7mgte
    • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

      @7mgte I believe the comparison was pointing out that proprietary hooks -- like Amazon's -- are little different from proprietary desktop solutions, or proprietary client-server apps that require specific terminals to work with specific server-based systems.

      But I'm hardly the sharpest tool in the shed, so don't take my word for it ... unless I just happen to be right. :-)
      jscott69
    • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

      @7mgte There is another 90s parallel to consider but only the more ancient of us will make the connection. Remember compiling COM Objects on Wintel platforms?

      You created Objects with publicly facing interfaces. You used binary compatibility to ensure you never broke the interface, and ensured backward compatibility. You wrote your consumer code and tightly coupled to the publicly facing interface.

      Fast-forward to SOA, WOA, and web interfaces. You see similar problems.
      dave_helmut
  • Kill the cloud

    The cloud was a bad idea in the first place. It was only inevitable that it would become proprietary, regardless of its origin. I believe it all boils down to trust. A "free" cloud or a proprietary cloud, it makes no difference. There is still a cost, and sometimes huge, when the cloud goes down, and the clouds are going down faster and more severely as time goes by. The weatherman is right... there are thunderstorms coming, and it doesn't look good for the clouds. But going back to the 80's is not the only alternative. The 90's look like a better choice for me.
    bionicbub
  • &quot;Cloud&quot; versus &quot;Grid&quot;

    [i]"The cloud is the first user-driven innovation of its kind"[/i]

    Oh, c'mon! About 3-4 years ago they were talking about the same thing but calling it "the Grid" -- only it didn't catch on then. Sounds like revisionist history to me.
    Rick_R
  • What a load or crap

    <i>Without open source, clouds wouldnt exist. Full stop</i><br><br>Maybe we can claim that without closed source, computers wouldn't exist. Full Stop. (hence no need for a cloud!)<br><br>So who's this guy trying to fool?
    Bill Pharaoh
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

    If I get to choose... I want to go back to 80s style computing.
    hiraghm@...
  • Agree in principle

    I'd vote for a set of open standards, along the lines of Internet protocols or USB connectors, to keep things interoperable. Everything great has been achieved by interoperability. Further the American Government should recognise that the best way to prevent future anti-competitive behaviour is not to wait until after the event and penalise the miscreants ... but to insist on interoperable standards as a preemptive strike against unlawful actions (likely by the usual suspects). Instead of passing laws in secret to prevent consumers 'stealing' copyright, why not try to keep global corporations on the straight and narrow?<br><br>And be transparent, of course.<br><br>I'd also vote for a new architecture, more along the lines of Google's network exploitation of commodity items, not the traditional datacentre chock full of vastly expensive proprietary iron running the same old OS's.<br>
    Choice, definitely. Otherwise companies like Apple will cut standards like Flash, restrict one's choice of material and charge a 30% tax on what remains.<br><br>Back to the 80's? In the 70's IBM had its TSO operating system where graphics terminals connected and used their share of the mainframe's computing power. As Paul Murphy said, the 'last 10 years has been a journey to nowhere' with the x86 architecture (nowhere in computing terms, not consumer usage).<br><br>However a good cloud architecture is complex (ask Amazon and LastPass!), but is it not like the design of the Internet ... a suitable project for the American Universities combined? Leaving it in the hands of the current major corporations and US Government seems most unlikely to lead to an efficient and cost-effective result for consumers and businesses.<br>
    Leaving it to the media, and regretably ZDNET too, is also unlikely to bring much joy. Like politicians - too many biased views and entrenched interests (despite disclosures). I am sick of reading the PC v MAC flamebait, 'should we go private or public cloud', 'is Apple/Google/ORACLE evil?'. When I look at what Ed Bott and Paul Thurrott wrote about Windows VAIL, and how they would restrict their home server to a single hard disk ... I am outraged. Do they not remember that RAID was invented in 1988/9? How can they do anything but pour scorn and derision on M$ for their incompetence? Not the failings of their engineers, who are perfectly capable of designing a new file system, but a management culture which has painted itself into a corner by one profit-driven technology restriction after another, until it is impossible to move forward within their own contraints!!<br><br>We do indeed need to mobilise, otherwise Information Technology will be the first industrial revolution where the existing incumbents did not disappear or were not marginalised, in favour of a more efficient order.<br><br>Perhaps Paula would like to start work on her colleagues?
    jacksonjohn
  • RE: Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

    Open Source is for losers who do not care about being able to get anything done. They spend all day attempting to fix errors in their favorite applications. They have to write drivers for any new hardware or just use older out-of-date hardware. Open Source allows no innovation and promotes no learning.
    jfreedle2@...