Red Hat's cloud love affair

Yes, Linux is important, but Red Hat is pressing forward with its open-source cloud initiatives.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Sure, Red Hat is a major Linux company. Indeed, most would say it's the Linux company, but moving forward, what Red Hat wants to be is the private cloud company.

Computer Clouds

You think of Red Hat as the Linux company, but it wants to be known as the cloud company and it's well on its way there.

Red Hat's annual gathering of developers, customers, and partners, Red Hat Summit, in Boston proves this point. What's the biggest news coming out of the conference? According to Red Hat it's that "this week alone, more than two dozen enterprise customers are at Red Hat Summit to speak about their production deployments on OpenShift."

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) powers OpenShift, Red Hat's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud, of course, but it's the foundation. The building, what Red Hat is selling, is made up of Docker containers, and the Kubernetes container cluster manager.

As Red Hat's fiscal year 2017 concluded, RHEL still accounted for most of the company's profits, but OpenShift kept growing. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said during Red Hat's quarterly investment call that Red Hat "closed our second OpenShift deal over $10 million and another OpenShift deal over $5 million. And significantly, we actually had over 50 OpenShift deals alone that were six or seven figures. In the fourth quarter, approximately one-third [of our largest deals] had an OpenShift container platform component."

Red Hat isn't just investing in OpenShift's sales. The company is investing its intellectual capital in the open-source projects behind Kubernetes. Red Hat is the top enterprise Kubernetes contributor. All together, Kubernetes has more than 1,100 engineers working to deliver robust, scalable, more secure container orchestration. That's three times as many developers working on any other container orchestration project.

Only Docker itself puts more work on Docker (now Moby) container development than Red Hat. Red Hat is the top contributor to the OCI/runc project.

All this work has resulted in a lot of business for Red Hat. The company has announced the following deals:

  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - Europe's third-largest airport has set a goal of becoming the world's best digital airport by 2018. To do so, it is creating a multi-cloud platform based on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat JBoss Fuse, and Red Hat 3scale API platform on AWS and Azure to speed delivery of new apps.
  • International Airlines Group - One of the world's leading airline groups (holding company of AG, which in turn is is the holding company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and Vueling) has picked Red Hat as its technology partner to power its hybrid cloud platform to support its digital transformation initiatives.
  • Miles & More GmBH - The operator of Europe's largest frequent flyer and awards program has deployed a Red Hat-based platform to bring new services to market faster and to scale its application requirements, already speeding services delivery by 15 percent. It has already developed 40 microservices for communicating with its partners, including the "Earn miles" and "Spend miles" programs.

And, there's more to come.

The net result? Red Hat is well on its way to becoming a cloud power.

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