Live from the Summit: Getting technology across the innovation gap


Brian Stevens, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Red Hat, brought emerging technologies to the main stage in his Wednesday morning keynote. His multi-part, video-laced talk touched on topics that ranged from development practices to services-based deployment.

“It’s no longer about one singular, large transformation shift. It’s not ‘what’s the next big thing’–it’s how we take community-developed technology and get it across the gap to enterprise IT operations. It’s about countless small, incremental changes.”

Stevens broke his talk into chapters, taking a good look at five areas of intense interest today. Each chapter included a short video from influential experts in each area.


In the past, good development meant supporting thousands of types of hardware. Today that also includes hypervisors. (That’s a lot of stuff.)

RPM used to be the tool of choice for building hardware from source, verifying packages, building application repositories, installing and uninstalling packages, and managing dependencies. RPM was useful, and it helped Red Hat Linux grow in popularity the way that it did.  RPM was ported to other to other OSes and is still in widespread use today–17 years later. We continue trying to jam more things into RPM, even though some are not a good fit.

Then came dotCloud with Docker. In the Docker model, applications are layers in a filesystem. You can use a Docker application as-is, or add and remove layers to fit your needs. Developers can build the apps they like within Docker, without having to worry about where the app is going to run.

“The amount of things you can build with Docker is mind-blowing–even to us,” said Solomon Hykes, dotCloud’s CTO.

> Watch the video: Solomon Hykes (dotCloud CTO)  and Ben Golub (dotCloud CEO)  talk about Docker and Red Hat.


It’s been 8 years since people first started talking about cloud, and we are now 3 or 4 years into serious OpenShift and OpenStack (or PaaS and IaaS) development. There are benefits of these technologies separately, but as they become better integrated the benefits grow. For example, shared monitoring tools and APIs can help admins monitor and maintain applications all the way down through the hardware. And Red Hat teams are very involved in OpenStack, and interested in integrating OpenStack technologies with our solutions.

> Watch the video: Clayton Coleman from OpenShift talks about…


With traditional IT, the more stuff we do, the more systems we need. The more systems we need, the more admins we hire. Data and app growth is making old-fashioned system administration unsustainable. Today’s admins are using software to orchestrate and automate the IT environment. There’s one catch: Existing IT function must be modular so that services can be orchestrated.

“Virtualization gets us part of the way there,” Stevens said. Starting a virtual machine and configuring it using scripts and tools is common, and software-based storage is getting there.  “Red Hat Storage–or Gluster for Red Hat–was designed with an API in mind so IT and apps can scale out,” said Stevens. “The network has always been the bottleneck.”

The ability to flexibly deploy tiers of applications and data is coming, and projects like OpenDaylight, OpenStack’s Neutron, and Open vSwitch (OVS) are advancing software-defined networking efforts.

> Watch the video: Chris Wright from Red Hat talks about connecting OpenDaylight to OpenStack.


Another way to automate massive processes–another theme of Stevens’ talk–is by changing the workflow model developers use. We’ve seen movement away from the 1950’s style waterfall engineering to more agile technologies that can deal with moving targets and the expense of mistakes. “We live in a world of user experience, collaboration, agility, and change, said Stevens. “Conflicting requirements and magnified, massive-scale projects shared by so many [mean that the] legacy model can’t survive.”

Continuous integration and continuous development (CI/CD) provides a stream of updates and new technology, with the end result being, as Stevens said, “a running system every day.” For Red Hat, one of the best benefactors of a system of incremental improvement is Red Hat Enterprise Linux.” Stevens said, “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 will be the first release to experience the value of continuous integration and continuous development.”

> Watch the video: Mark McLoughlin, a leading contributor to OpenStack and a Red Hat engineer, talks about OpenStack’s TripleO and what it contributes to CI/CD.

Stevens admitted that keeping up with OpenStack can be challenging. 6-month cycles (or “mini-waterfalls”) can make it difficult to see what the result will be until the end. CI/CD can help with this, letting both upstream maintainers and downstream organizations accept and reject change as it happens.


Traditional storage of data is expensive, leaving many businesses unable to store everything. Instead, they must pick and choose what is retained or store data in different places. Loss of data–and data that is stored in silos–can limit business intelligence capability.

Red Hat Storage, based on Gluster, helps solve this problem from both sides. It can store, scale, and secure petabytes of data and provide analytics so users can find what they need. Tools from other communities (like MapReduce from Hadoop) are integrated–again, taking advantage of the standardization and flexibility of open source development.

> Watch the video: Steve Watt from the Red Hat Storage team, talks about Sahara (formerly Savanna), Hadoop, and other storage advances.

Red Hat has contributors involved in all of these communities and projects–and many more. “Innovation is not one big massive invention–it’s a series of smaller micro inventions.” said Stevens. And over time, with collaboration and integration, these chapters come together to help smooth the path from raw, new ideas to innovation ready for the enterprise.

Each piece, and each person that contributes, is part of that journey.


Event: Red Hat Summit 2014
Date: Wed, April 16, 2014
Type: Keynote
Title: Bridging the gap between community and the enterprise
Speaker: Brian Stevens (Red Hat)