Monday, December 24, 2012

Migration from Unix to Linux and Cloud are key driving factors for our business”

Arun Kumar, General Manager, Red Hat India, talks to KTP Radhika about their growing middleware business and the business opportunities in open source Cloud.

 You have made a few acquisitions in the recent past and tried to diversify business. Where do you stand now?

Till 2006, we were a single-product firm offering Red Hat Linux enterprise solution. After acquiring JBoss, open source application server in 2006, we got a whole set of middleware products. JBoss stands as the most popular middleware application available in market today. In 2008, we bought Qumranet, a software company offering desktop virtualisation kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) technology. In Virtualisation, KVM is a very important open standard-based choice for companies and enterprises. Last year, we acquired Gluster, which has Cloud storage and big data services. Recently, we took over FuseSource, a provider of open source integration and messaging from Progress Software Corporation and business process management (BPM) technology developed by Polymita Technologies. We have gone from a single-product solution provider from a broad portfolio to the middleware stack and to Cloud computing. We have been diversifying our portfolio for quite some time, working with the open source development community and through major acquisitions.

 What are the key verticals driving growth for Red Hat?

Globally, government, telecom and the BFSI sectors have been the biggest adopters of open source solutions. In India too, the trend remains the same. The government is an integral part of our business in this market. Apart from the central government, many state governments are also adopting open source solutions. Indian CIOs are looking for cost effective and open infrastructure solutions, and Red Hat is committed to address these growing demands for open source solutions in Indian enterprises by ourselves and also through partners.

Migration is one of the key aspects of our business globally and in India. Many companies, who are still working with Unix-based servers and infrastructure, are now migrating to the Linux platform. We see a big opportunity in this shift from legacy infrastructure to commodity architecture. Red Hat is working with those customers to help them migrate to a commodity architecture. While enabling migration, we will also help them virtualise. Once they virtualise, it will be easy for them to move to Cloud. In India, there is also a much bigger opportunity in greenfield infrastructure especially in the public sector.
How is your middleware business catching up?

After the Linux stack and the infrastructure stack, the middleware is what most customers are evaluating more seriously from an open source perspective. The main reason for this is the cost factor. Open source middleware can be made available at the fraction of cost than the proprietary stack. Globally, many customers, who have deployed proprietary stacks have shifted to JBoss. We are seeing that trend in India as well. Red Hat, as an open source company is bound to help customers in this migration. We explain to them the architecture, migration plans, risks in migration and so on. In the middleware space, we have to take maximum care since it actually touches business applications.

Further, integration remains a key driver for the adoption of middleware technology. Rising mobile phone connectivity, Cloud and hybrid infrastructure and the explosion in data are bringing in new requirements for integration technology. This is exerting huge pressure on existing systems. Today, the opportunity for integration middleware software is evolving from traditional solutions that focus on foundational integration capabilities to higher-level integration capabilities. These include business rules management and BPM. Red Hat has already provided a foundational integration offering with JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform as well as a business rules management offering via JBoss Enterprise BRMS. Complementing these, existing products with additional technologies and talent like SOA and BPM acquired from FuseSource and Polymita will help us enhance position in the enterprise middleware marketplace.

CIOs are now looking forward to Cloud for enhancing efficiencies. What are Red Hat's offerings in this space?

Cloud is going to be universal. We have very specific cases where Cloud has helped CIOs. Cloud promises commodity architecture, interoperability, IT-on-demand and is highly scalable. These factors are there with open source architecture as well. Open source provides high interoperability since it publishes the source code. Linux also has a highly scalable architecture, and provides interoperability. We work on a subscription-based model. Open source Cloud software is widely used today on commodity servers, so it is a natural evolution to leverage open source for Cloud computing on commodity storage.

Over the past 12 months, we announced two solutions on Cloud. One is CloudForms, which is an open hybrid Cloud-management framework. Another is OpenShift, a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). We also have introduced a port for OpenStack for which the preview is on. The Cloud world is evolving everyday. In Open source Cloud, it is all about where the developers are. We are seeing a huge rush in the developing community. We are actually monitoring all the activities in there. We are actively involved in this space and it is one of our focus areas for the next three years.

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