Open Source software – The strategic position of RedHat

The open source software distributor continues to intensify its strategic position. It is witnessing more number of customers for its open hybrid cloud platform. Also the company has recently announced the availability of Red Hat Storage Server 3.0 solution for its scale out file storage.

red hat

Open Source is free-for-all; however, it still takes someone to leverage the many possibilities and bring it to ordinary end users. In this space, RedHat, the pioneers to build a brand centred around open-source still remains the champion. The brand, noted for its Linux distributions, holds strong, having grown and matured with time, and attracting new customers all the while.

Given the success that open source software has enjoyed at the operating system and application server level, it was a fait-accompli that open source would mark its dominance further up the application stack. What is noteworthy, however, is RedHat being the champion in this space as well, with its open source business process management (BPM) software having surpassed Linux as its fastest growing product.

The reasons behind RedHat’s success on a sustained basis are not hard to find. The company has proven itself quite adept and resilient to embrace the latest cutting edge technology and leverage it to offer innovative and easy to consume products for the end-user. The company keeps on repositioning itself to become a leader – rather than just stay relevant. RedHat’s chief claim to fame is its distribution of Linux. However, the company, far from resting on its laurels, took cognizance of the rapid proliferation and popularity of smartphones to move from a client-server space to cloud-mobile space.

Product Mix

Some of the latest products released by the company corroborate such a trend, and confirm RedHat’s effort to remain the provider of choice in the latest in-vogue environment:

RedHat Open Hybrid Cloud Platform, built using cloud computing and big data technologies, continues to mature and attract new customers to its fold, in the process driving more revenue. RedHat has a big vision and strategy centered on the open hybrid cloud. The platform not just offers common management, storage and middleware to facilitate building workloads across footprints in heterogeneous environments, but RedHat also helps the enterprise-user to put the right workloads in the right place.

Red Hat Storage Server 3.0 solution, also known as “Denali” serves the needs of data intensive enterprise workloads using scale-out file storage. This roll-out combines Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and GlusterFS 3.6, to offer a high performance, massively scalable, highly-available, cost-effective storage for clients. The latest release offers a slew of new features including monitoring using Nagios, volume snapshots, Hadoop workload support, and increased usable capacity per storage server. It also brings in supportability enhancements to address storage management and data protection challenges for unstructured and big data storage. Denali meets exacting performance and scale demands of next generation enterprise and cloud storage deployments exceptionally well.

Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure version 5 (RHCI 5) is a comprehensive OpenStack platform based management solution. Customers may use RHCI5 as a common platform to effectively manage their virtualization and OpenStack environment. This caters to the increasing preference of customers to use OpenStack powered cloud instead of traditional data center virtualization.

The newly launched data of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host offers a streamline host platform optimized to run application containers and comes with RHEL Atomic added, to enhance performance, scalability and security of containers. This offers an optimal platform for enterprises to deploy and run application container.

The latest versions of Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite and Red Hat JBoss BRMS incorporate new planning software developed by the OptaPlanner JBoss open source community project. The Red Hat BPM software makes it simpler for Java developers to extend the JBoss application server platform and create BPM applications. Customers are fast abandoning commercial BPM software developed by IBM (IBM) and Oracle (ORCL) in favour of this RedHat product thanks to its lower costs. Red Hat gives customers the added option of deploying those BPM applications on premise or within the Red Hat OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment, making the product even less expensive than rival PaaS platforms.

Strategic Positioning

The strategic position of RedHat, however, goes beyond simply releasing cutting edge products at low prices.

The company enters into strategic alliance to promote and position its products. A case in point is the company’s tie-up with Wipro, to design a joint go-to-market involving Red Hat hybrid cloud solutions and Wipro’s open source practice. This relationship enables Red Hat to deliver a complete cloud strategy and solution built on Red Hat OpenStack, OpenShift and CloudForms.

Red Hat is also intensifying its cross-selling activities, by including OpenStack, OpenShift, Middleware, CloudForms and Storage to its cross selling technology offerings.

Again, Red Hat is not just poaching customers from its commercial or other open-source competitors, but also identifying and nurturing new customers by itself, and in the process strengthening its strategic position. A case in point is users of BDM application, many of whom would not have considered deploying commercial BPM software in any case, even if an open-source variant was unavailable, owing to cost considerations.

RedHat has always taken the lead in supporting the development of open source communities. Of late, it is active in the AeroGear community project of open source mobile libraries, and the company recently joined hands with ownCloud for its storage server solutions. In fact, RedHat open sources properietary technologies that they acquired, with FeedHenry, the enterprise mobile application platform, the latest technology to go the open source way thanks to RedHat. RetHat’s two other recent acquisitions – Inktank and eNovance have brought on board top talent to enrich the OpenStack project.

RedHat is the living proof that open source is the future. The company has, over the years, accumulated a depth of expertise and proven technologies, including operating system, cloud, virtualization, and development platforms. Rather than trying to block up such a unique combination of stack layers and profit out of it, the company has retained all these technologies as 100 percent open source, with no lock in, and thrown it open for community powered innovation. At the same time, revenue wise, RedHat has increased its revenue significantly from the previous quarter for the 11th consecutive time, when other IT majors, peddling proprietary wares that bring in substantial revenues are struggling to stay afloat.

As Red Hat continues to script its success story and strengthen its strategic position in the open source space, it has become a model for others to emulate.

Author : Nayab Naseer Date : 13 May 2015