Executive Exchange: All-day meeting of IT business leaders at Red Hat Summit

header_text_exec_1170“Expunge IT from our vocabulary. It is not separate from the business. It is the business, dammit.” – Thomas Koulopoulos, Chairman and founder, Delphi Group.

For the first time, Red Hat hosted an Executive Exchange during the Red Hat Summit, bringing IT leaders and their peers from almost every business type together for one day. The day was packed with discussions with Red Hat executives; research from IDC and Harvard Business Review; a panel discussion with Accenture, Intel, Red Hat, Dell and FICO; and a passionate plea for DevOps from Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project; and think tank founder and author, Thomas Koulopoulos.


The day began with a Q&A session with Red Hat CEO, Jim Whitehurst, and Paul Cormier, president, Red Hat products and technologies.

Some questions from the crowd included:

  • The maturation process from project to product. Cormier explained the open source development model, describing how more mature products like Red Hat Enteprise Linux can have more time between releases. Cormier hopes more contributors will surface. OpenShift is like Linux, according to Cormier. It has a rich blend of communities and features supporting it.
  • Thoughts on the services and how they can help customers upgrade to new technologies. The Red Hat services team works directly with our partner ecosystem to help on the edges of technology innovation, and on key issues like product upgrades or migrations.
  • How Red Hat Enteprise Linux can help power different types of clouds. “The value of Red Hat Enterprise Linux is that it runs on any hardware platform,” Cormier said. “That value isn’t changed. It’s become more and more important.”
  • Creating common messaging frameworks. It’s critical, but Cormier pointed out that the process of developing these frameworks has to be managed, and worked through communities like JBoss, and through OpenStack projects.


“We’re not building a stack of products,” Brian Stevens, Red Hat CTO of emerging technologies. “We’re making IT more efficient.”

Why should people care about emerging tech? Half the time, ideas die early and often, Stevens said. But, “If we went around the room, 90% of the innovations you mention are happening in the open.”

The value of the open source model allows us to make lighter investments before we eventually commit. For example, with Open Daylight, a dozen people are working on it actively. But when it begins to transform from community to product, upwards of 100 people will invest in the product and training people to use it. Stevens also discussed OpenStack adoption drivers, big data and scale-out storage as a way to manage data horizontally, across the enterprise, and containers. With emerging technology, Stevens said Red Hat’s role is to enable the dialogue and experimentation.


Gillen gave the group an overview of how the market is dealing with the “3rd platform,” which is his way of describing mobility integration, social business, and networks and how they are changing the way customers interact with us and one another.

A few quick insights from the IDC research:

  • OpenStack is the next “big thing” for Linux growth
  • Virtualization is reaching a saturation point
  • More than half of companies IDC surveyed said when building a private cloud, they’re looking to use a different hypervisor
  • The KVM hypervisor will be pulled forward by OpenStack
  • The amount of attention OpenStack gets from enterprise customers “is really impressive.”

Gillen said that organization are facing a challenge: function like a service provider and be threatened by outside, public clouds. Or open up to projects like private cloud as an opportunity to rethink your virtualization strategy and trajectory.


Event: Red Hat Executive Exchange
Date: Tue, April 15, 2014