Red Hat CEO Cormier: Every CIO needs to be a cloud operator

Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier said edge computing doesn't develop without open source and hybrid cloud architecture. Red Hat also announced partnerships with Boston University and Exida.

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Chief information officers will all have to be cloud operators in the future because these execs will be stitching together platforms to conduct business, said Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier.

At Red Hat Summit 2021, Cormier's keynote focused on how the combination of hardware, applications, virtual environments and cloud services are going to become the new data center. And like those enterprise data centers, the CIO is going to be on the hook for tools, processes, security and best practices.

"Our datacenters are on track to be composed of potentially hundreds of unique clouds, and every organization will need to have the platforms, tools, processes and people to effectively operate across these diverse landscapes," said Cormier. "Every CIO and their respective organizations must understand that they control their own cloud destiny."

In an interview, Cormier said Red Hat customers are going to have to run anywhere between 4 and 10 separate clouds. "CIOs are going to need to develop expertise at running clouds at scale," he said.

Cormier's talk came as Red Hat announced that it will donate $551.9 million in software subscriptions to Boston University to form a research cloud initiative including the Mass Open Cloud. Red Hat and Boston University said they will renew a partnership that includes a new 5-year agreement worth $20 million.

The partnership will focus on research in open-source technology and skill development. Red Hat said that it will distribute subscriptions across its product portfolio over three years.

Cormier said that CIOs want to go all-in on the cloud, but economics and technology considerations mean a hybrid approach is the norm. Hybrid cloud will matter even more as companies go multi-cloud and work in edge computing. "Edge computing simply does not exist without the hybrid cloud," said Cormier. "Hybrid cloud is the new data center."

The trick will be to build applications that can run anywhere not just one cloud, he said. Not surprisingly, Cormier said Linux can provide the linkage between the cloud, hybrid cloud and edge.

Separately, Red Hat, owned by IBM, said that will partner with exida to develop a Linux operating system for the automotive industry. Exida focuses on functional safety systems. Cormier said the auto operating system will be built with components from Red Hat Enterprise Linux and serve as a base for future driver assistance systems. "We look at autos as one of those key edge platforms," said Cormier.