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Business transformation matures beyond cloud: Red Hat

When businesses automate their backend, it will mean engineers can focus on app development rather than servicing the infrastructure stack, according to Red Hat.

While cloud is still top of mind for many chief information officers, Red Hat office of technology vice president and chief technologist Chris Wright believes an increasing area of focus for businesses today is trying to figure out how to automate their infrastructure stack.

Speaking to ZDNet, Wright said a key goal of many businesses today is to improve their speed to market, and part of making that happen has been through automation so that engineers and developers can focus on application development, rather than be concerned with running the backend.

"It's all about the application at the end of the day; we're not just building infrastructure to just sit there ... we actually want to do real work and that work is generated from application developers being able to quickly build apps," he said.

"Maybe for a little while we got too enamoured by the cloud, forgetting we're trying to enable business transformation, and what I've seen mature in the community in the last two years is remembering where our focus is, which is to support next generation application development."

Wright went on to say a key part of making automation possible has been the acceptance of open-source infrastructure, something that once was "fringe-radical" but is now a norm today.

"It's a testament to what it is. It's really challenging to beat; you get a broad scale collaboration of non-differentiated industry components in a way that any single company can't do alone. And we've seen success. It's not just theoretical ... for years we've seen consistent output," he said.

Red Hat recently became the first $2 billion open-source company, with Red Hat's president and CEO Jim Whitehurst crediting enterprises consumption of open source technologies for driving the company's positive result.

"Customers are demanding technologies that modernise the development, deployment, and life-cycle management of applications across hybrid cloud environments. Many are relying on Red Hat to provide both the infrastructure and the application development platforms to run their enterprise applications consistently and reliably across physical, virtual, private cloud and public cloud environments," he said at the time.

Even though a large focus of Red Hat will be delivering on its OpenStack suite, Linux remains core to the company, Wright said.

"We have a large middleware business, which continues to grow. Our history comes from Linux and that's still a significant part of our business and it will continue to be a significant part of the business," he said.

"It gets reinvigorated with containers, which are very much a Linux operating system. We're building a low-level operating system which may or may not be enabling hardware. The application is now running a container utilising some of the closest level components and adding their application specific to that container; that ties us a lot closer to the operating system."