Red Hat Forum 2012 (Brisbane, Australia) – Summary Part 1

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Red Hat Forum 2012, which was held in the city of Brisbane QLD, Australia. I attended the conference and represented The topic was “Build Your Own Open Hybrid Cloud Today!”. It was a very professional event and it was a real privilege to attend.

To present the Red Hat Forum 2012 summary to Unixmen readers, we’ve decided to split it into two parts to make things easier, as there’s a lot of technical information that follows in our summary.

The “Keynote Presentation” was held by Tom Warner, Red Hat Territory Manager. Tom introduced Red Hat to the audience for those that were perhaps unfamiliar with what services the company provides.

Tom detailed how the methods of delivery of software services have changed and evolved over the course of many years. He used the method of App delivery as demonstrated by Google (Android) and Apple, as a good example of how the cost of software services can be brought down to an absolute minimum, for both the business and customer. “Back in the 90’s, who would have ever thought you could buy a piece of quality software for 99cents? Not many of us.”, suggests Tom.

Tom Warner finalized his introduction by touting the power of free and open-source software and how Red Hat has built upon open-source, in-turn making them a $1billion company.

“The Open Everything” was introduced by Akhil Bhaskar, Manager of JBoss Enterprise Middleware. Very soft spoken, Akhil demonstrated how Red Hat had built on the foundations of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as its core and how Red Hat sees its own future business structure. “Red Hat want to go beyond RHEL and focus on all enterprise services as a whole”, speaks Akhil. The next major step for Red Hat is Virtualization and Storage. Akhil says Red Hat is not satisfied with becoming the worlds’ first $1billion open-source software company. They want more. Akhil states Red Hat intends on becoming a $5billion dollar company. And Akhil believes that this is where Red Hat is heading and that it’s certainly a possibility it will occur in the next 5 years. Very optimistic on Red Hat’s behalf.

Akhil also took the audience back to the 1990’s and stated that Intel and AMD had achieved a lot in standardizing hardware specifications. As a result of hardware standards set up in the 90’s, hardware costs across the industry have been driven down to very affordable levels. Lower hardware costs have led to more and more computer systems being implemented on a worldwide scale. And the side effect of all these computer systems is the ever increasing requirement for more storage. And more specifically, enterprise and data center storage. But then we get to the problem of increasing costs. And this is where the early seeds of virtualization were planted. Linux combined with Virtualization is just one of many ways enterprise and business can keep computer resource costs to an affordable level.

But then Akhil took his speech in a different direction, which appeared to have caught the audience by surprise, including myself. Akhil went into details of an initiative developed by Facebook, the “Open Compute Project”. He described what the Open Compute Project is and how Red Hat is collaborating with Facebook. The first step was to certify RHEL for the hardware developed for the initiative and then to implement Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) technologies.

“What next for Red Hat? The cloud. But what to do with the cloud?”, describes Akhil Bhaskar. That is where JBoss Middleware comes into the scene. Akhil did not delve in to the specifics of JBoss Enterprise Middleware, but rather left that for the next speaker to cover. Akhil then raised the issue of data center storage and how to migrate that data from location A to location B. That is the key focus of what Red Hat is currently working on with its Red Hat Storage technologies.

Akhil Bhaskar described further how one of the key focus’ of Red Hat’s business structure is having all available services based around openness and working with the client regardless of existing technologies they may already have established. And one problem Red Hat is facing, is ensuring clients do not experience any downtime or interruptions when changing and integrating to Red Hat services and technologies.

Akhil explained in great and fine detail all of Red Hat’s cloud options and seems confident they have all bases covered for the present and the future. Enterprise cloud computing is highly technical stuff, as was described by Akhil. In short, Red Hat Private Cloud (also known as On-Premise) can be thought of as traditional data canter storage with network-attached-storage (NAS). Storage and even I/O bandwidth can be added at any time to ensure the on-premise storage capabilities meet ever increasing and demanding requirements. Red Hat Public Cloud is based around a fully POSIX compatible, scale-out NAS and object storage. Red Hat Public Cloud is built and designed for Amazon Web Services public cloud infrastructure. Built upon industry tested GlusterFS and RHEL, clients are provided with an Amazon Machine Image for quick and seamless deployment to the Public Cloud, Red Hat assures. And finally, Red Hat Hybrid Cloud, which Red Hat describes as a software-only solution that can be deployed to either a Private or Public Cloud. Again, built upon scale-out NAS and object storage, both on premise and in the Amazon Web Services Public Cloud. The Hybrid Cloud is also based around GlusterFS but also integrates the extensible file system or XFS.

There are a lot more technical details related to Red Hat’s cloud storage options. But in all honesty, there are too many details to be put into one article here. At the conference, we were shown graphical demonstrations of the Red Hat Cloud setups which made it a lot easier to understand. But unfortunately, I don’t have access to the same graphical slides to present to Unixmen readers. But I do suggest you check out the Cloud Services section on the Red Hat website, as there’s lots of interesting information and technical details to demonstrate in greater detail all available options.

Following Akhil Bhaskar’s speech on Red Hat’s Cloud services in detail, he began to wrap up his time with an introduction to the next topic, JBoss Middleware. Akhil brings forth a very important issue. “Once these cloud computing systems have been implemented, how do you deal with legacy systems? But not just legacy hardware but also legacy software?”, Akhil says. “How do you bring it all together?”. Akhil completed his presentation by reminding the audience that Red Hat promotes and encourages the use and development of free and open-source software. And Akhil says, Red Hat truly believes that the way forward and to innovate, lies within the open-source development community.


This concludes Part 1 of our Red Hat Forum 2012 summary. Next week we’ll post Part 2 of the summary which includes two more presentations. Those topics include JBoss Enterprise Middleware and Red Hat Storage.