Yes, IBM bought Red Hat, but as Chris Wright, Red Hat's CTO, recently told me, "We're fundamentally a separate entity from IBM." Want proof of that? In NYC, Mark Shuttleworth, founder and CEO of Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, and Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM Z and LinuxONE, jointly hosted an event for senior IT financial services executives.
There, they told the managers about the advantages of running financial services on mainframe cloud systems based on Ubuntu Linux. Why? After all, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) runs just as well on the Z series as Ubuntu Linux. In an interview, Shuttleworth explained, "Customers want the security of the mainframe and the flexibility of Ubuntu. Some ask for Ubuntu and Z and IBM gives them that option."
Even after the Red Hat acquisition, "We're comfortable working with IBM," said Shuttleworth "We continue to have active projects with Z, Power, and IBM Cloud. Ubuntu is growing in all these platforms."
Shuttleworth continued, "Older established banks and financial companies are starting to understand cloud and the new style of DevOps as well. Some brand new companies are also combining Z with Ubuntu. We're getting great wins with IBM in financial services."
One example of this is Digital Asset Custody Services' (DACS). This is a system to securely manage smart-contracts while providing fast access to digital assets. Brad Chun, chairman and chief investment officer at Shuttle Holdings, explained: "In just a few years, the crypto asset market has grown from nothing to hundreds of millions of dollars of value, and this is just the beginning. The market expanded so quickly that development of the underlying infrastructure has failed to keep up, and we've seen the consequences, with billions of dollars of digital assets stolen in 2018 alone."
This was a real problem for Chun. "When I launched a hedge fund to trade digital assets, I quickly discovered that there weren't any digital asset custody solutions that delivered on both security and accessibility," Chun said. So, he turned to Canonical and IBM. They created the DACS platform, hosted on IBM LinuxONE servers running Ubuntu Linux. The hardware platform also relies on IBM Crypto Express 6S Hardware Security Modules.
IBM and Canonical are also working together with SLIB, a major French securities software company; Phoenix Systems, a Swiss digital access firm; and Plastic Bank, a green recycling company for poverty-stricken countries. Put it all together, and it's clear that, while IBM has merged with Red Hat, there's no question that IBM will continue to work with its other Linux partners to best serve the needs of its customers. It's become ever more clear that IBM-Red Hat is not your usual acquisition.