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Day Two Cloud 095: Grappling With The Open Source Business Model

Today on Day Two Cloud we get into…well, a whole lot of things. For example, what is IT’s value in the age of cloud? How can IT figure out what’s actually providing value to the business vs. undifferentiated heavy lifting? How a company like Red Hat, which is built on open-source software, can be a multi-billion dollar company? How does one go from a practitioner to an analyst?

Our guest is Stu Miniman, Director of Market Insights at Red Hat. You may recognize Stu from former life as an analyst at SiliconAngle and interviewer with The Cube. Stu works for Red Hat now and we do talk about some Red Hat products including OpenShift, but this isn’t a sponsored episode.

We discuss:

  • Making the transition from practitioner to analyst
  • Whether the cloud makes IT obsolete
  • How to identify the high-value aspects of IT
  • The difference between open source and free
  • The business model of open source
  • The value of OpenShift vs. plain-vanilla Kubernetes
  • More

Show Links:

@stu – Stu Miniman on Twitter

Stu Miniman on LinkedIn

Red Hat Summit

Transcript:

[00:00:04.930] – Ned
Welcome to Day Two Cloud today we have a special guest, a friend of the show, Stu Miniman, from Red Hat. He’s the director of Market Insights there. And if you have no idea what that title means, don’t worry, we didn’t either. We made sure to ask Stu what’s going on with that. And we also covered a lot of ground in the world of what’s going on with technology and how we as infrastructure people can provide more value than what we’re doing today. What stuck out to you Ethan?

[00:00:33.820] – Ethan
In the context of Stu working at Red Hat. We do talk about open source software, quite a bit open being kind of part and parcel of what Red Hat is all about. And we get into some specific examples how OpenShift really works and how if I’m looking at open source and thinking free, maybe open source doesn’t mean free. And how Red Hat interprets all that, because, of course, Ned Red Hat is a multi billion with a B dollar company.

[00:00:59.440] – Ned
Right? Well, there’s there’s free as in beer free as in a puppy and free as in a piano. So you will see which one of those OpenShift is for you in this episode.

[00:01:10.420] Stu Miniman, welcome to the show. You’ve been on Packet Pusher’s podcasts before, but this is your first time on Day Two Cloud. So why don’t you introduce yourself to the fine listeners that we have out there.

[00:01:22.720] – Stu
Thank you, Ned. Great to be on. Ethan. Great to be on a podcast with you again. It has been a few years since you and I have had our audio waves recorded together. And nice to see you both since obviously we’re not seeing anybody in person all too often. So hi for the audience that doesn’t know me, Ned said. My name is Stu Miniman. Currently work for Red Hat, my titles director of Market Insights. I’m part of the cloud team there.

[00:01:49.360] So if you’re familiar with like OpenShift, all the kubernetes stuff, Open Stack is in the group that we do join them towards the end of twenty twenty. Before that, most people know me. I was an analyst and host of a video program called The Cube, so I’d done thousands of interviews at all the clouds and everywhere in between. So Amazon, Microsoft, Google, VMware shows. And yeah, Red Hat was was also a show that we covered.

[00:02:18.520] So I personally done thousands of interviews, got to talk to lots of people. And yeah, in my role today, I, I spent a little bit less time on video and sometimes more. I’m more of a guest than a host, but I do still leverage those talents that I had from all the experience on camera and such.

[00:02:38.080] – Ned
Yeah, I’m curious what the path was from an analyst and interviewer to going to work for a vendor, because that’s that’s something that’s crossed my mind before. And I’m curious, what was the thinking process and the path that took you from one to the other?

[00:02:51.640] – Stu
Yeah, great. Great question that it’s funny, right? The last ten years, like as an analyst, I have lots of people that have called me up for, hey, career path. How do I get to be an analyst? Ethanand I probably had some of these conversations when we’d be at a show. And it’s like analysts, you know, I actually so I’m an engineer by training. I have technical background. I actually spent most of my career on the vendor side and analyst wasn’t something that was ever on my career roadmap.

[00:03:19.330] Dave Vellante, who’s got one of the founders of it, was Wikibon, the analyst firm SiliconAngel. He’s like, Hey, Stu, how would you like to talk about lots of different things, help us build community? And eventually this video thing came off. It was like, hey, that sounds really interesting and loved it. Had great access to lots of really amazing people in the industry. I kind of had reached a point, especially during the pandemic, that I was looking at what my options were.

[00:03:47.170] I knew all the companies in the cloud. Red Hat was one that kind of stood out for me, very much for the culture and the people, as well as the technology, which we’ll spend lots of time talking about the technology in this piece.

[00:04:02.080] But Red Hat culture is kind of a unique thing. It is very collaborative in nature. It is very open in how they do things and community is is something at the core of what they do and how they build their products. So that was something that’s attractive to me living up here in the Northeast, too. They do have a very large presence in the Boston area, which is nice. So when things open back up, I’ll be able to go meet with customers locally.

[00:04:28.270] And actually that’s one of the other things. As an interviewer, I love talking to the practitioners. And here’s the thing. As a vendor, I spend a lot of my time talking to customers, helping understand what they’re doing, you know? Yeah, I talk to analysts, I talk to press, but it’s working with those customers, helping them with the challenge that they have that that that connection between IT and business is super, super important, something I spend a lot of time looking at from the analyst side and something that hopefully I can help from the vendor, the vendor side.

[00:05:02.530] – Ethan
Well be more specific then in that role on the vendors, and you just described that a bit, but I was looking at your title, director of Market Insights. All right, well, there’s people we’ve dealt with that are an evangelist or, you know, they are technical marketing. And, you know, we kind of understand what those roles are. Director of market insights. It wasn’t immediately clear to me what you exactly do at Red Hat. So clear that up.

[00:05:24.710] – Stu
Yeah. So it’s interesting, a based on all the spam that I get from people trying to sell me products, market insights really means that, look, there’s a lot of data out there as a former analyst. Some of it is you know, I take kind of the skill set that I had as an analyst, and I bring that inside. So, you know, having been at Red Hat less than a year, that’s one of the values I have internally is, hey, Stu, give us that outside view, OK?

[00:05:51.740] Look at what we have, help us create it better. At its core, my role is a marketing role, but most of what I do is more outward focused. So it’s meeting with customers, whether that’s in briefings, whether we’re having deep dives on different areas, helping them to understand what they need to do, the architectural decisions they need to make. And obviously with a marketing role, hopefully our solution will help in that environment.

[00:06:19.220] – Ethan
So that feels like a bit of a product manager role only you don’t have a specific product you’re responsible for, you’re talking to customers, figuring out what they need, looking at the portfolio within Red Hat and helping the people within Red Hat understand. Look, to make this product better and meet customer needs better. This is where we should go. Is it kind of like that?

[00:06:37.460] – Stu
So I’m peers with product managers, but I am not a product manager. It is. It is more as I said, it is a product marketing role is where where I sit in the org.

[00:06:51.170] – Ethan
You are trying to convince me to buy OpenShift or whatever.

[00:06:54.840] – Stu
I’m right. At the end of the day that is where I sit and but if we’ll spend lots of time really teasing apart what OpenShift is and what makes it up and we can go into it. But look, the the wave of modernization of your applications going to cloud environments is really important. Therefore, what are the what are you going. How are you going to build that and what are the pieces of it? And hopefully OpenShift has a play there.

[00:07:25.130] If it does, we can help. If it doesn’t, there might be other pieces of the Red Hat portfolio. Obviously, there’s like the automation tooling we have at the Ansible, of course. Hey, wait, Red Hat does do the Linux stuff, which basically everybody does these days. So hopefully there is a place in the portfolio overall that we can help you. But yeah, Ethan, at the end of the day, you know, from my standpoint, if we’re not eventually helping OpenShift, it’s outside of my purview.

[00:07:51.980] – Ned
Right, right, and I think you mentioned a really important thing a little while ago, which is you’re bringing your external experience and insights from your world of being an analyst into Red Hat and bringing a fresh perspective that they might not have sitting inside, that I won’t call it a walled garden, but inside there, they’re carefully cultivated culture, as you will. So what are some of those top trends or key insights that you’ve brought into Red Hat that that you found from the vendors and what you’re hearing from the thought leaders out there?

[00:08:28.130] – Stu
Oh, boy. The thought leaders. You don’t want to listen to them. Look at the end of the day, what are the what is what are the challenges that the customers are having at the end of the day? What is the role of IT today, those of us that have

[00:08:42.130] – Ethan
That’s big. That’s deep.

[00:08:44.700] – Ned
Pretty heavy

[00:08:45.980] – Stu
Look at what we’ll dial back to maybe your audience or you’re familiar with a guy. Nicholas Carr wrote an article in The Atlantic years ago. It was basically, does IT matter? And the answer was basically, no, cloud’s going to be this utility and you as IT? You don’t even exist anymore. We don’t need you anymore. The teasing and the understanding we have is, of course, there are things that you need to do, but there are also things.

[00:09:14.240] I’ll tell you the advice we used to give an analyst. Hey, mister customer, I’m sorry to tell you, but there are some things that you suck at and you should stop doing so many years ago.

[00:09:24.470] It’s like, look, if you think you should go buy a building, pour concrete, build out power and cooling and have that for 20 to 30 years, you’re crazy. Stop it. You shouldn’t be in the data center business. There’s only a few companies that do that really well. That doesn’t mean your current data center. They last twenty to thirty five years and we need to figure that out. And yes, there are reasons why some stuff will live in your environment on premises.

[00:09:52.340] Some things will go to the cloud, some things will go to a hosted environment sorting that out. So, you know, my background’s networking. So I know Ethan appreciates this. Everything to me is kind of stacks and interconnections. So it’s always for me is like, OK, what am I good at? What is important to my business and what is differentiated. I love a term that we heard from Amazon for years and it said we need to get rid of the undifferentiated heavy lifting.

[00:10:20.360] When I think back early in my career, how many customers, when I lived on the vendor side, it’s like uh, we’re going to help customers with their exchange rollout and the storage team is going to manage all this. And how much do we get in everything? It’s like, oh my God, I remember on social sometime not too long ago, it’s like Office 365 had some exchange issues and the Internet went all nuts and everything.

[00:10:42.290] But it’s like, look, there shouldn’t be every company having to manage and worry about their email. People can take care of that. I’ve been on G Suite for more than a decade. There’s certain things that you need to manage, but most of it I switch it over to the vendor, the move to SaaS is a big one because there’s lots of things that I don’t need to own the infrastructure. I don’t need to worry about it. When I would go to like Cisco live, the big discussion we had for years was as a network person, I need to now manage and operate a lot of stuff that I can’t touch.

[00:11:18.890] So that shift from I touch it and I cable it to I manage it to hey some of it I can just consume as a service that discussion what’s important to my business, my data, the things that I build to differentiate what I’m doing and what is important for my customers and my business. And IT needs to be part of that process. Can even be a driver of that process done right.

[00:11:48.490] – Ned
Right, if we think about the economics of it, and this is something my dad explained to me a long time ago, he said, you know, even if you’re really good at two things, if one provides high value and one provides low value, then you should farm out the low value thing to somebody else, even if you can do it better than they can, because you should focus on the high value thing. So so what is the high value thing that IT practitioners can bring to the table at the business?

[00:12:14.150] – Ned
Yeah, that’s that’s an awesome question, Ned And what you need to have is there’s that marrying between the business side of the house and the IT side of the house. It for so long has been the group of no. Or if you were lucky, I’ll quote a friend of mine, Alan Cohen. He said, You look at a triangle, it’s either no or it’s slow and we need to get everybody to go.

[00:12:39.200] Because if you remember back, shadow IT was business has a requirement. IT won’t do it. Well, I’ll swipe a credit card and I’ll go do it myself. Well, you know, I talked to lots of companies and you say, OK, hey, how many apps do you build? And it’s like lots of companies they bought software and they deployed it and they did that. You know, we outsource things for years and realize that that didn’t serve my business because my mess for less often wasn’t any mess and any less messy.

[00:13:08.990] And it often ended up being more expensive over time. And if I needed to make change, you know, that’s what I did. We know the only constant in our industry is change. So as a business, what did 2020 teach us? Like, really, really well, hey the plans that I started with at the beginning of the year. By the time I got to the end of Q1, I had to throw them out the window and scramble really fast.

[00:13:33.920] So if I couldn’t respond to that, I’ll throw out that buzzword and happy to talk about it if you want or ignore it. Digital transformation. If I’d done that, if I had already gone through something that I could be agile and move fast, you know, I was in a much better shape than the people that were like, wait, I gotta call the guy he’s got to go cable stuff. Oh, wait, we can’t send him to the office. Oh, nuts. What do I do?

[00:14:01.020] So cloud is not a panacea and it’s not unicorns and rainbows and all that. But there is that that agility that being able to if there’s requirement for my customers to oh hey, I’m you know, I’m the corner whatever food restaurant. And I was used to people coming in and I didn’t deploy a mobile app when I switched to doing takeout. I can’t handle that volume of phone calls. Hopefully I can go to something like, you know, there’s lots of SaaS providers that could help onramp me very fast, but it’s it’s challenging.

[00:14:36.800] I saw it just locally. I saw so many companies go through that, you know, that that churn of trying to figure out how to how to manage. And at the Enterprise, there was much bigger challenges.

[00:14:47.360] – Ethan
You’re hitting on things that are real, things that we are facing because of the pandemic and business transformations that have had to happen. And you said digital transformation. Those are a pair of words that you hear them often enough. You get to choke on them a little bit. We talk about this again, OK? It does actually have some meaning, though. But but it raises a point. So you’re dealing with a lot of customers. You’re a customer facing human.

[00:15:11.140] On the vendor side and on the media side, people like Ned and I, Greg Ferro and lots of others of us that write about emerging technology, we tend to get caught up in the latest hype. The thing that’s cool, the new technology, the emerging thing. Give us some examples of or just a good example of hype that gets a lot of press is getting a lot of traction right now. But when you talk to customers, they’re like, yeah, I don’t need that. That’s not solving a problem I have.

[00:15:37.990] – Stu
All right, something that gets a lot of hype that’s not getting traction yet, it’s it’s a tough question, Ethan, because I always look at, you know the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed. So I lived through the failures of big data. More than 50 percent of big data deployments fell apart. There are often technologies that are misunderstood or we’re not quite ready for. So, you know, I love Serverless.

[00:16:07.600] Serverless has its great use cases. And, you know, for a bunch of years it was like, oh, will this be a technology that takes over everything or will it be relegated to a corner of the world? And it’s great for helping me build websites and do some cool things. But will it do real applications in air quotes for those that are just listening?

[00:16:28.510] Because it really depends on what your businesses. And we’ve seen, it’s been an interesting discussion I, I live in from an infrastructure. It’s a container and kubernetes world. And we’re seeing the world of serverless and containers blurring. Amazon’s blurring that line. We have technologies that are blurring those lines. And for a lot of companies, it’s early and they’re not ready for that. They’re still working on their hey, most of my applications are on VMs and I’m thinking about the cloud. And that probably means I need to look at containers.

[00:17:00.820] But that diffusion of technology is where I am a fan of kind of the crossing the chasm. Are we in the bleeding edge where only, you know, hey, there’s one hundred companies that care about this? Or are we getting to the point where thousands and tens of thousands care?

[00:17:17.890] – Ethan
So that that’s something that I’ve been thinking about, too. It’s not just. A lot of us that are in IT want to ride that wave. If we’re practitioners, if we’re operators, we’re infrastructure builders. What’s the next big thing that I got to know and got to learn? But as new startups come to market, as the cloud introduces different challenges, there’s all these niche products that seem to to step in to solve some little problem that someone has.

[00:17:42.520] Ned you and I were in San Diego at KubeCon, I don’t know, the end of twenty nineteen, I guess, right? B.C., before covid. And all these companies that were out there on the floor with these solving these little problems that not everybody had, if you had it, that was an interesting product. And it doesn’t feel like there’s just one big new way to do things. It feels like there’s a thousand ways you might do it all depending. And it’s getting much harder to navigate the technology landscape and know this is how I should direct my company. These are the technologies we can bank on. We know that this is going to going to work.

[00:18:18.140] – Stu
You know, making some really, really excellent point Ethan. So, right. I got to KubeCon and you say there’s hundreds of companies there and I look at half of them are features that I don’t understand why there’s a business case, that there’s a business around it. And no offense to those people, startups are really tough and there’s a lot of things to do. But great technology doesn’t always mean great business or reason why I should figure it out.

[00:18:42.400] Here’s. I’ll I’ll be transparent here. Here’s the tough transition. I look at my career and what’s happening on. A lot of those technologies are coming top down from the application, if I look at something like artificial intelligence, machine learning, it’s not the infrastructure that is the driver for it. It’s there’s often very specific vertical reasons that I’m building some of these technologies. Infrastructure is an enabler of these technologies. We partner heavily with Nvidia. Nvidia’s doing lots of cool things.

[00:19:18.480] That isn’t just, OK, I can do my graphics cards and I can do bitcoin mining. But the specific things that I need to do in these environments, the connection between the infrastructure and the application. For a lot of my career, it was hey as far as the network concerned, it’s just a pipe that stuff runs and maybe I need to worry about buffers and some of these things, but I don’t care what application it is. And I lived in the storage world for many years.

[00:19:47.920] And the same thing it was I cared about capacity and performance, but I didn’t care about what application was running, whether that’s some massive database or some other things in today’s world. We need to start with the application. That’s what’s important. That’s what I’m building. That’s why Cloud is so friggin complicated these days, is when Amazon comes out with a new feature. This is not something that every customer on Amazon needs. It’s they’ve got customers that are doing it.

[00:20:17.440] When we work at Red Hat, when we go and throw our support into a project, what we love is the great thing about open source is somebody created that technology because there was a need. And if the community swarm to it, that means that more people wanted to participate that. So what I found in my time at Red Hat and I knew it a little bit before I joined, but see it even more is we don’t just have people being like, hey, we figured out we could make this cool thing.

[00:20:46.090] Let’s see if we can sell it. It’s there was there’s a base built into the technologies that we work on. So doesn’t mean that all of them will be supported everywhere. And a lot of these just get built into the platforms we’re doing so that they are a feature in our overall solution, not a specific point thing that we’re trying to sell.

[00:21:07.690] – Ethan
You mentioned the application centricity of a lot of these solutions to that is driven by the top down. I’ve been getting into zero trust network access lately. I talked to four different vendors within the last week, all with ZTNA solutions that are quite robust. But they all do it different. How they deliver it, it’s very interesting. Some of them don’t care about the network at all. Where they are doing their enforcement is way above the network layer, way up inside the application, very close to the application.

[00:21:34.510] Others are not. But it’s fascinating that the infrastructure is really. It wants to be invisible from an application and developer perspective. They want to consume it, they don’t want to configure it, or have to worry about it at all. Well, so we should actually take that point and then flip to you doing things at at Red Hat. So we kind of get you got a role as a. Sort of a project manager, adviser and and marketing outward to customers and figuring out what everybody’s doing.

[00:22:07.010] So when you talk to a customer and then you take that feedback back into your the organization at Red Hat, does that actually drive a development decision like we’re going this direction because Stu had this conversation?

[00:22:21.440] – Stu
So Red Hat is, as I mentioned, very collaborative in its discussions. So what’s interesting is if you want to know what we’re working on now, you can watch we do a public broadcast. We put the replay up on YouTube with here’s what we’re working on for the next six to 12 months. So a lot of that discussion is how do we prioritize which things we’re working on? Which projects do we accelerate? Are there is there feedback that we get that we need to work on making something better or changing certain parameters?

[00:22:56.840] So some of what I do is help give feedback so that we say, OK, here’s the list of a thousand things that we need to work on. This is the one that we need to bump up a little bit more. These are the common things that we’re hearing from customers. And we’re we’re going deeper in certain verticals because, of course, the telecommunications companies have often different requirements from the financial services companies. And we need to balance where where we put our efforts, our friends at IBM, to tell you help us with giving us greater insight.

[00:23:35.060] And that that’s one of the questions we get all the time, is the relationship between Red Hat and IBM. And one of the things like any acquisition is like, well, when we go to IBM and we say we have priorities, they can help with an investment, whether that be for an acquisition. Like we made a security acquisition of StackRox not too long ago. And some of the prioritization was, if you go look at our hiring, we are doing a ton of hiring.

[00:24:01.310] I can say more hiring than we would have done if we didn’t have some extra funds from the parent corporation of IBM to be able to focus on that. So I guess to your question, though, Ethan. Yes, I meet with the product managers. I participate in some of the engineering stuff. You know, we’re seventeen thousand person company. So it’s not like, OK, Stu’s driving the product direction. I’m part of it. I give feedback.

[00:24:26.300] You know, my peer, Brian Gracely, who some of your audience probably knows from the Cloud Cast and everything Brian is you know senior director of strategy. So, look, we all work together. We all collaborate, we all give our feedback. And one of the things if you’re not familiar, the Red Hat culture, like when I joined, there’s that tendency to be like, hey, maybe I should be quiet for the first 90 days and kind of listen, because they probably heard many of those things.

[00:24:51.320] And when you go through, like the new hire training, it is if I have an idea, even if I think it’s kind of stupid or they’re going to shoot me down, it’s my job to speak up. So I’m coming in with my background. Also, the general manager of our division, the guy that runs all of cloud, he’s like, Stu, I want you challenging everything we do. I want you helping us move faster. I want you to help pull us in that direction.

[00:25:17.960] And I’ve also been super excited since I’ve joined even I’ve seen a number of people I really respect that have also joined Red Hat. So we are hiring. Check it out. Contact me if you want out there, because, boy, it’s been interesting times the last year and opportunities for change.

[00:25:36.010] – Ethan
Stu, you mentioned Red Hat does a lot in the open. This is what our product direction’s going to be. This is what we’re working on for the next six months and our priorities. But Red Hat is not entirely an open source company, so it does seem to be, you know, a mix of this open source software.

[00:25:54.770] – Stu
Explain to me what you mean by that Ethan, because one hundred percent of what we sell is open source.

[00:26:00.220] – Ethan
But you sell something.

[00:26:01.990] – Stu
We do, we have. I will quote Jim Whitehurst, the former CEO of Red Hat, now the president of IBM. Red Hat, we do not create IP, we do not create intellectual property. Everything that we create goes upstream. So if let me explain, OpenShift, I guess, is a good time for me to explain what OpenShift is and what it isn’t so OpenShift it is it is our kubernetes based platform.

[00:26:32.740] So if you look at it, there are two things that we require that that are part of our stack that you must use this. We have the operating system, which, of course is one of our Linux’s, which of course is open source and our kubernetes. And it is a kubernetes distribution. It is fully open source. Everything we do is completely upstream and we put together with that lots of other projects. So you want your Service Mesh like Istio, you want GitOps, which is Argo CD there.

[00:27:05.140] We talked about those hundreds of projects. Well, dozens of those are packaged as part of what we had. So that when you get the I want to install OpenShift, we actually install the OS and the Kubernetes go together. Many of the other projects start with it by default. And then there’s certain ones that you’re like, oh yeah, I do want those. Let’s pull those pieces of it. 100 percent open source.

[00:27:28.480] – Ned
Right, right. That’s one of the things I have appreciated over the years, is the level of open source and transparency when it came to consuming Red Hat products.

[00:27:38.350] That’s been awesome to see. I think what Ethan might have been alluding to was more of the sort of the conversations that are happening outside of that transparent line that you’ve drawn because you’re doing some of it. And you said you record the video, you republish it, everybody can see that roadmap, but you can’t spill all your secrets. Right. You got to keep something that because sometimes you’re still in the planning phases and you’re not ready to present that to the public. So how do you draw that line between private and public?

[00:28:07.108] – Stu
Ethan, finish the point you had before I respond.

[00:28:09.280] – Ethan
Just the other context here is, OK, maybe everything ends up open source, but it just did a quick search here on Red Hat numbers. You guys are doing billions of dollars of business per year. So you’re not just giving everything away Stu. So we’re trying to understand where these lines drawn here.

[00:28:25.740] – Stu
Ethan, maybe maybe for context, we need to go back for for you and I are similar age. Open source does not equal free software, which is what it was originally called back in the 90s. Absolutely. So why do people pay for the subscription for Red Hat online? One of the pieces is yes, there is support. So part of why you pay, Red Hat, is for support. Now, of course, the hope is most of the time you should not need the support.

[00:28:57.040] But if I look at why have tens of thousands of companies paid for Red Hat Enterprise Linux for we’ve been shipping for over two decades, the operating system is mostly commoditized and I shouldn’t need to worry about, well, we make it ready for the enterprise. So what is the difference between like let’s I’ll give you a concrete example. And from a kubernetes standpoint, as I said, our Linux and Kubernetes is what we put together. Last year there was an exploit that was found in Kubernetes and everybody scrambling and say, oh, my God, there’s an exploit.

[00:29:29.500] This is horrible. And this and that. Well, we looked at it because of what we do at the operating system level. Our Kubernetes was not exposed to that exploit, so our customers were never there, if you were using take your favorite flavor of regular Linux, not from Red Hat, well, the way that they enforce security settings left them open to that kubernetes exploit. So Google had to go and say, hey, there was an exploit. Here’s the patch that we quickly fit. We will now have a more secure environment.

[00:30:04.710] So when you take, you know, take something that is open source, it doesn’t mean that everything is completely identical because it is how do I do the settings? How do I can figure it? How do I put this all together? Our job is we take these solutions and we make them ready for the enterprise so that you can, you know it’s speed, scale and security are kind of the three pillars that we look at how we build things. We did that for over two decades with Linux.

[00:30:32.880] That’s what we do today for our cloud platform, which is OpenShift leveraging kubernetes and that’s what we do with our technologies. So does that. That makes sense, Ethan, I’m happy to you know, if you’re still uncertain, let’s dig a little deeper, because fundamentally right, this is why, you know, hey, why are there not more billion dollar open source companies? Because it’s really hard. We’re not open core we’re not, you know, kind of forked things like that.

[00:31:01.060] We are open, open, open, open, open. I’ll tell you, like StackRox. We made the acquisition. We when we announced it, it’s like we will completely open source that that doesn’t happen overnight. Come to KubeCon. We’ll give you the latest update as to what we’re doing there. But yeah, it is, as I said, unique. There are plenty of other open source companies and that is completely I will tell you, if you could join some of the internal forums at Red Hat, there are people that are like, this is my religion is to like, you know, I will go to the grave and fight you over how open we are.

[00:31:39.220] I’ve been a supporter of open source. I’ve worked on those technologies for myself over two decades. But I, I understand the balance between, you know, I have to build something. Customers need it. I need to move fast. Well, we can move code fast and get it upstream as opposed to it’s much faster than the old world of standards where I had to go to a standard body and in and things like that.

[00:32:03.430] I mean, Ethan, I went to IETF standard for a bunch of years. I got my my my last vendor I worked for out of having to go to IEEE. So, yeah, it’s I’ve lived in all those worlds too.

[00:32:16.060] – Ethan
Well, let’s condense everything you just said there Stu into an example. If I want to consume OpenShift, I want to I want to run OpenShift. Can I do that without spending money?

[00:32:26.440] – Stu
Yeah. So if you go to try dot OpenShift dot com, we have a sandbox that you can do this. So it is.

[00:32:32.530] – Ethan
No, no, no, come on. Not trying it and doing it can actually run it in production without.

[00:32:37.630] – Stu
There, there, there is, there is a distribution called OKD which is the open source distribution of it because here’s the different look. Red Hat Enterprise, Linux or OpenShift. Can you get that software. Yes. Can you run it. Yes. Are you running it unsupported? Well, that’s that’s like saying, hey, can I get a game and not pay for the usage of it? It’s like, well, that’s the way it works. It’s the subscription model that we have. Ethan is if you’re going to use the packaging that we have that’s there. But there is a distribution that is free and untethered.

[00:33:20.140] – Ethan
That actually helps, because what you’re telling me here is, yes, I have access to the code because it’s open source, but I have to build the rest of the ecosystem that would Red Hat would normally supply for me myself. I’d have to build all of that around it, which most companies don’t, do not want to be in the business of doing that. Talk about your undifferentiated heavy lifting. So you know, what I am engaging Red Hat to do is to deliver me not only the code, but the entire ecosystem to run that in my environment, including support and updates and, you know, and all of that.

[00:33:54.550] – Stu
And it’s just to to to put a fine point on that. Look, there there are certain companies that do extensive end of the year. Let’s look back and make sure that you have paid for every single usage of it. And, oh, wait, we need to double this and triple this and make sure we’ve done this. That’s not our model. If you look at how we charge and when we charge, we try to be pretty flexible. So I’ll give you an example is like, oh, hey, we’re going from we had a rather big change from OpenShift three to OpenShift four, while you’re doing that migration, we’re not going to double charge you.

[00:34:30.490] And so for a window of opportunity, you’ll be using twice the amount of software and twice the amount of licenses that you would have had there. We’re not going to double charge you for that as long as we’ve seen that plan and we do that. So that’s it’s an interesting model when you look at the financial side of things. But yes, we are a multibillion dollar open source company. We’d love to see more of them. We try to put out as much as we can to help people understand that model.

[00:34:59.320] – Ned
So I think one of the things that I want to get deeper into and OpenShifts is probably a good place to keep going with that is, you know, lots of people think about maybe running just vanilla kubernetes and they’ll just manage it themselves. What is the value or the problems and challenges that OpenShift is solving over running one of those vanilla distributions or say, one of the cloud distributions like AKS or EkS?

[00:35:25.930] – Stu
Ned you’ve studied for the CKA. I know you know the answer to this question. Sorry. Sorry. Stu go ahead.

[00:35:32.530] – Ethan
Yeah. No, no. Yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a phenomenal question and something that I the team that I actually have, we spent a lot of time on that. So first of all, let me say we have great partnerships with all the cloud providers. We have native services in both Amazon and Azure. And when I say native they’re in the console, you actually see it.

[00:35:54.520] It looks acts, feels, buy it from the cloud provider. With Google, we have something that we can self manage that we manage for customers. So there are there are degrees of what is different about them, because first of all, as I said, Kubernetes is at its core. It’s a very thin layer. I interviewed Joe Beda’s one of the people that created Kubernetes started Heptio. He’s now over at VMware. Is the quote from Joe is roughly this is a very thin layer, but it doesn’t do a ton by itself.

[00:36:29.320] It is a platform that you build on top of it. So if I look at the xKSs out there, for the most part, it is Kubernetes. You were getting a project with a couple of services around there. So number one is that what I mentioned before. We make Kubernetes for the Enterprise. This is not hey, I’ve got a developer and I want to do a little bit of kubernetes. It’s like, OK, this is a platform you can run your businesses on.

[00:36:58.330] And when you well, you see Delta making public. This is what we do for our data centers and our public cloud. This is what we run our business on. The role of Kubernetes is to help me build new apps and move faster and modernize what I have. So kubernetes just for your audience that might remember PaaS. One of the things we hear all the time is like, I don’t want to use Kubernetes, it’ll be a least common denominator.

[00:37:26.270] I can’t use all the functions of the cloud. And I’m like, oh, sorry, you’re thinking of before container days existed. Because if I run our solution in Amazon and you want to leverage the native Amazon Services, great. You know what’s underneath what we’re running. It’s EC2. It’s like, great. This is you know, this is not something sitting on top of or even next to in a separate data center or even a bare metal solution.

[00:37:56.000] We are sitting on the native cloud environment. So the differentiation one of those things is that we make it for the enterprise. So I mentioned like those exploits, we’ve got thousands of engineers working to make sure that this is reliable, secure, scalable for those environments. And we take a lot of those projects if you take xKS versus OpenShift. As I said, they have a couple of things that they add with it. We have dozens of projects that we integrated into our solutions.

[00:38:22.400] So could you, buy xKS, go through the catalog, figure out, pick, curate, integrate and then manage that platform? Sure. Do you want to build a cloud platform management team or do you want to spend your time building those applications? That’s where we see the biggest differentiation. And as a matter of fact, as I said, we have lots of customers that are going now to our managed service. Your SRE team can work on building things for your business, not managing that infrastructure layer.

[00:38:50.900] We’ve got SREs that will manage that for you. And that’s a phenomenally interesting trend. We see huge growth on that Amazon, Microsoft, our big partners to help us go much deeper and broader in that space.

[00:39:03.290] – Ned
Right, so, again, we’re moving up the stack here as an infrastructure person, I’m trying to get rid of that undifferentiated heavy lifting. Somebody else can take care of that. Where do I provide more value? I provide more value, higher up the stack.

[00:39:17.300] So something like OpenShift could help provide that additional value. Now, one of the complaints that I hear about Kubernetes is really often is kind of what you alluded to, the fact that it is a very thin layer. So it doesn’t do a lot of the things that I would expect my platform to do. You know, when I was in the world, VMware, I expected to have persistent storage and monitoring and things like data protection and management.

[00:39:42.380] And Kubernetes is like now you’ve got to plug that in somewhere else son, I don’t have any of that. So those things that OpenShift helps with or what’s the solution for all of that?

[00:39:53.330] – Stu
Absolutely. And you’re right. And some of those things are built into the platform. And some of those, if you look, you know, probably our most popular add on to the OpenShift platform, something we call today. It’s OpenShift Container Storage. So it’s the storage software that we opened offer to be able to do. Yeah. You want to do stateful applications with containers? Absolutely. Solve that problem. You can do it a lot.

[00:40:16.670] Again, we’re not a hardware provider. We’re all software. So at the end of the day, if that’s in the cloud, you’re leveraging cloud services. If that’s in the data center, we’ve got a lovely ecosystem of providers and we build out an ecosystem. There’s lots of different ways that you can add, you know, partner software and hardware onto that. So if you’re familiar, there’s the OCI is the OpenShift container interface, which make sure that, like from a storage standpoint, I can integrate with that.

[00:40:47.510] And you would look at that list and see we’ve got tens of thousands of certified containers. And pick your if you’re in your own data center and you have your storage provider of choice, more likely than not, it’s going to be supported in that environment. So we can plug that in. And a lot of our customers, if you look at one of the big values that we have over xKS is our customers. They still have their data center and they’re doing the cloud or multiple clouds.

[00:41:16.310] And while you see the public cloud providers starting to go into the data center, they’re giving you like here’s my stack. And by the way, we’ll often be able to live on that stack, too, because it’s on a roadmap. You want to do an Amazon outpost, you want to do an Azure stack. We’ve got roadmap in discussing publicly how we can put OpenShift on those. But if I’ve got my HP stack or my Dell Stack or my whatever else I’ve built in my data center stack, you know we can live with those. And we’ve got lots of experience doing that as opposed to cloud providers know how to run their data centers.

[00:41:56.080] – Ned
That’s a big point of differentiation when it comes to the cloud providers versus what you have on Prem. The cloud providers are super standardized, their environment is very homogenous. They buy ten thousand of the same server, whereas your on prem environment. You’ve got six servers from Dell, another 20 from HP. Oh, there was a sale or someone from IBM got in or Lenovo got in at some point sold to a bunch of Lenovo servers. You got those two and you got five different storage arrays. That’s a confusing mess. Does…

[00:42:26.030] – Stu
The only counter point I would make for you is if you were to say, OK, I want to build a server. If I go to Dell Dotcom and build a server or if I go to the AWS console and build a server in the cloud, Amazon’s got more choices than Dell does because while, yes, they build to the scale of tens of thousands, Amazon does. I wrote a blog post years ago. They’re hyper optimized, so they don’t just take white box stuff and throw it at massive scale.

[00:42:55.430] They actually build and they’re like, OK, here’s my T1 mini, here’s my this piece of it. So it is a massive scale, but they are optimizing things there and you want to be able to take advantage of all the new pieces. So it’s an interesting place. I still wish that I could get a tour of one of those Amazon data centers I’ve been through, like Equinix’s Data Center have been through the Supernap in Vegas and those of us that grew up giving a hug to a server and looking at all the blinking lights. It is fascinating when I’ve gotten to look inside what some of the big providers are doing.

[00:43:39.120] – Ned
Azure does a pretty good tour, from what I hear. I haven’t been able to do it yet, but once covid is over, maybe I’ll get to do that. Nobody gets in an AWS data center. Nobody, but nobody. Unless you got the golden ticket or something. So just on that note, expanding on OpenShift, just a little bit more. The other big thing that we kind of focus on was enabling the business, empowering the business, letting them do things, helping developers accelerate.

[00:44:08.190] And one of those things is less code or no code. Is that something that’s also being enabled? Because if I just if the business wants to do something, sometimes they just want to be able to not even write code, but, you know, point and click and drag. Is there anything like that in in the ecosystem allowing that sort of low code, no code approach?

[00:44:29.320] – Stu
You know, it’s interesting. I spent a little bit of time with some of the no code vendors back when I was hosting the Cube and doing some of those things. From an OpenShift standpoint and Kubernetes in general is is pretty flexible as to what it can support. But it is. It is applications that either I could be building by my micro services architecture, I can be pulling my more legacy three tier architectures and replatforming them rehosting them or I can even more modern things like Analytics and AI and ML.

[00:45:06.420] I just haven’t gotten to the point to understand the Low Code/No Code as to how that would fit. I’m sure somebody in the developer team at Red Hat would have a better answer for you. But, you know, it’s we have a lot of flexibility. I just I just don’t know where that piece of the ecosystem fits in.

[00:45:25.770] – Ned
Right. There is a marketplace of some sort with OpenShift, though, where you can deploy a template or a preexisting image. So you can you can get it to that point. And then beyond that, it would take a developer to customize it a little bit, right?

[00:45:39.540] – Stu
Yeah, absolutely. So we rolled out last year, actually, the Red Hat marketplace launched. So one of the main things in there, something we call operators. So it actually came from the CoreOS team. They had a way to put together not just kind of the packaging and the deployment, but the the day two operations to go with the theme of your show itself. But the the whole lifecycle of how do I update it? How do I manage that?

[00:46:06.300] That’s what operators does. That whole framework was actually given to the CNCF. So operators are open. So if you go to operator Hub dot IO, you can see all of the operators that are out there and that will live in any kubernetes environment. The Red Hat marketplace is where OK, if I want to get that in the OpenShift environment and it’s in the the the Red Hat console for for OpenShift so that I can grab that and deploy things and manage them really easily.

[00:46:38.850] – Ned
Can you do anything about the overabundance of YAML?

[00:46:44.930] – Stu
That is something outside of my purview, Ned. We all have our our challenges that that that we need to fight with. I do try to make sure that we don’t put out anything that says single pane of glass. Do you know what how you would spell that? Or it’s a single glass of pain. Sometimes we say.

[00:47:08.900] – Ned
Exactly. Well, Stu. This has been an absolutely fantastic conversation. Thank you so much for joining us today. If people want to know more about you or more about Red Hat Solutions, where should they go? Where should they look?

[00:47:21.320] The easiest place to find me is still on the Twitters. So I’m just Stu, S T U on Twitter if you go to OpenShift dot com. That’s the main website for our stuff. If you want to come the Red Hat summit, we’ve broken into a couple of pieces. Main keynotes are in April, the deep dives are in June and things like the hands on type of pieces. We’re trying to figure out if we can do that towards the end of the year, potentially in person in many locations, much smaller locations.

[00:47:48.740] Pandemic, of course, will dictate that kind of things. Red Hat, of course, being very cautious on the, you know, how we do those things. So, yeah, red hat dot com slash summit is the easiest place to find that. Yeah. Love feedback conversation. I’m always open or hey. Lots of people in my network, you know, we talk career advice to as to what things make sense and which are the hey, do I need to get out of this position in the next two years because it’s completely commoditized and I can find other value that I could add.

[00:48:22.390] – Ned
Awesome. Well, thank you again for appearing and we will include links to all that good stuff in the show notes.

[00:48:29.170] – Stu
Ned, Ethan, thanks so much for having me.

[00:48:30.580] – Ned
Absolutely.

[00:48:31.400] – Ethan
Thanks for showing up Stu. Yeah.

[00:48:33.520] – Ned
All right. And hey, listener, virtual high fives to you for tuning in. If you have suggestions for future shows, we’d love to hear them. You can hit us up on Twitter at Day Two Cloud show or you can fill out the form on my fancy website. Did you know that Packet Pusher’s has a weekly newsletter called Human Infrastructure Magazine? That’s you. You’re the human. You do the thing, you make it all happen. And it is loaded with the best stuff we have found on the Internet, plus our own feature articles and commentary.

[00:49:00.760] It’s free and it does not suck. You can get the next issue via Packet Pushers dot net slash newsletter. Until next time. Just remember, cloud is what happens while IT is making other plans.

Episode 95