Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella comes to Red Hat Summit

If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. Or, in this case, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella came to Red Hat Summit to announce a new Microsoft/Red Hat partnership: Azure Red Hat OpenShift.

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The Red Hat Summit keynote in Boston began with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Red Hat CEO James M. Whitehurst hugging each other. That was welcomed by the Red Hat crowd. But the real high point was when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella walked on stage to talk with Whitehurst, bearing news of a new joint Microsoft-Red Hat program: Azure Red Hat OpenShift.

Yes, that's right. Microsoft's current CEO came to a major Linux tradeshow. Somewhere, Steve "Linux is a cancer" Ballmer is spinning.

Why? Nadella explained, "We have to be a bit more humble and say, 'Okay, how do we bring value to the table with great technologies coming from a lot of places?'"

Whitehurst added: "Five years ago we had been linked to the whole adversary relationship. It's just amazing to see how much progress we've had together. And I think that's on both sides and both desire to serve our customers, and we found such great range to work together."

Nadella replied that Microsoft has embraced open source, "because it's driven by what I believe is fundamentally what our customers expect for us to do." Which is to say: Doing what's best for both companies' customers.

Red Hat had already brought OpenShift to Azure last year. This is the next step in its partnership with Microsoft.

The new Azure Red Hat OpenShift combines Red Hat's enterprise Kubernetes platform OpenShift -- which runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) -- with Microsoft's Azure cloud. With Azure Red Hat OpenShift, customers can combine Kubernetes-managed, containerized applications into Azure workflows. In particular, the two companies see this pairing as a road forward for hybrid-cloud computing,

This marks the pair's first jointly managed OpenShift offering in the public cloud. With this fully-managed, jointly-operated service, customers will receive an integrated experience, including unified sign-up, on-boarding, service management and technical support. The service is added into customers' existing Azure bill.

Azure Red Hat OpenShift offers developers and operations teams the following:

  • Fully managed clusters with master, infrastructure and application nodes are managed by Microsoft and Red Hat. Plus, there are no VMs to operate and no patching is required.
  • Regulatory compliance will be provided through compliance certifications similar to other Azure services.
  • Enhanced flexibility to more freely move applications from on-premise environments to the Azure public cloud via the consistent foundation of OpenShift.
  • Greater speed to connect to Azure services from on-premises OpenShift deployments.
  • Extended productivity with easier access to Azure public cloud services such as Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Machine Learning and Azure SQL DB for building the next-generation of cloud-native enterprise applications.

Microsoft and Red Hat are also collaborating to bring customers containerized solutions with RHEL 8 on Azure, Red Hat Ansible Engine 2.8 and Ansible Certified modules. In addition, the two companies are working to deliver SQL Server 2019 with RHEL 8 support and performance enhancements.

The real news though isn't the product per se. The real news was Nadella and Whitehurst shaking hands. Red Hat and Microsoft are no longer just working together; they're partnering together. 

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