Red Hat system management vision and strategy

Joe Fitzgerald, Red Hat’s vice president of management and security, took us on a quick tour through the past, current, and future plans for one of the next frontiers: integrated, open management. Joe has more than 30 years of system management experience; a dozen of those as an open source supporter. With a few management paradigm shifts under his belt, he takes the coming changes in stride. But first, a little context.

System management through the years

In the beginning, we had single-platform vendors. One vendor, selling one platform, with one management tool. Things were simple. Until you got another platform. And another tool. And then another platform. And another tool. Then things became terribly inefficient.

As platforms proliferated, vendors got smarter. Heterogeneous management was born, and one tool could now support multiple platforms. However, this meant vendors could largely control what platforms you ran. This created a market where a small number of very large companies (Joe referred to them as “the big 4”) controlled a huge portion of the management market.

Then came cloud and the growing popularity of open source. More and different systems–public, private, and hybrid–fell outside the narrow management tools the big 4 provided. By 2017, Gartner predicts at least 2 of the 4 will cease to be viable strategic partners for 60% of infrastructure and operations organizations. The popularity of hybrid cloud, OpenStack, and container-based service delivery only widens the gap. Joe emphasized this point: 74% of enterprises surveyed by IDC think they will need new management solutions by 2017.

So what does this have to do with Red Hat?

Red Hat is best known for infrastructure: Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. We also offer virtualization and solutions to help develop applications. As the industry moves forward, so do we–mobile, atomic, and integration solutions are now part of the Red Hat JBoss Middleware family. We’ve had management solutions for some time (Red Hat Satellite, Red Hat JBoss Operations Network), but a renewed focus on management aims to bring existing functional pieces together with innovative new technologies.

Joe emphasized that manageability is a priority across many different areas, including:

  • Container technologies and hosts
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
  • Middleware
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
  • Security
  • Storage
  • Virtualization

What we ARE doing

Red Hat works with many different open source management projects, including:

  • Cockpit
  • Docker
  • FreeIPA
  • Foreman
  • Katello
  • Kubernetes
  • OpenStack®
  • Pulp
  • Puppet
  • ManageIQ

Through these projects, we are able to innovate and offer enterprise capabilities for automation and orchestration, as well as configuration, life cycle, and identity management. And they are all 100% open source.

What we ARE NOT doing

Because our solutions are open source, we are not building a management monopoly. It is not in our best interest to build a single tool, a vendor-focused suite, or a tightly controlled proprietary management platform. To do so would only further fracture the dwindling market shared by whatever remains of the big 4.

A truly open management platform

We choose–as Red Hat always does–to be open. No one knows this better than Joe. Joe Fitzgerald was the CEO and co-founder of ManageIQ: A proprietary company focused on system management. Red Hat acquired ManageIQ in 2012, and then quickly open sourced the company’s management technologies. Those technologies are the basis of today’s ManageIQ community.

By encouraging customers and partners to integrate their tools and solutions, we are able to work with more technologies and vendors (including Amazon Web Services, VMware, and SAP), and in more environments (public, private, or hybrid). Companies become part of communities to solve their own management challenges. By sharing those problems openly, they can both help and be helped by others. And improvements in the upstream code base make their way into the enterprise products that Red Hat supports. Everyone wins.

The future of management is composable

And open management platform does the same thing for management tools that containers and cloud do for workloads. Whether you call it “microservices” or “plug and play,” the result is the same: more tools that work, better and faster integration of new technologies, and ever-expanding possibilities.

“We are collaborating across so many different areas—inside and outside the company—in some fundamental ways,” Joe said, “”Red Hat is about more than just Linux.”

More about management

Check out Joe’s list of related Summit sessions about: