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Interview: Open Source Technologies: An Ideal Approach

March, 2017

CFO Insights on Technology

Faster innovation through ecosystem collaboration, and scalability

Sovik Bromha, Director Finance, Red Hat India


With digital interventions, Indian businesses are seeing improvement in customer experience, productivity and turnaround time. In your opinion, what should the strategic focus – disrupting with new technology or improving existing technology for competitive advantage?


Every organization today wants to be competitive in the digital economy and to achieve this they either need to transform their business or disrupt. However while driving this change the focus should not be just on the IT infrastructure, but more so around the remodeling of their businesses to be more agile and innovative. In relation to this, open source technologies present an ideal approach in terms of flexibility, reinvention of processes, faster innovation through ecosystem collaboration, and scalability.


How did Linux based platforms become a major disruptor in the enterprise IT solutions segment. What has been Red Hat’s role in this regard?


Linux is the first truly disruptive technology to enter the market 25 years ago, having successfully challenged the archaic single vendor software licensing model. The concept is way ahead of its time, created by a collaborative, non-profit, and open source community of smart developers instead of one single company.


Fast forward to today, with Linux, Red Hat has successfully built a subscription-based business model, empowering enterprises to harness its innovative capabilities in a secure, supported and productized way, making this technology accessible to all and cementing its success. What is more remarkable is the best has yet to come.


Red Hat has been actively contributing to the most exciting open source projects available now and well into the future. But more importantly, giving our customers access to many of these projects in a way which does not lock them in, while offering enterprise-level service and support that accelerates the current pace of digital transformation.


Cloud based IT infrastructure is giving rise to an innovative model - Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). How do you foresee the impact of this model on business efficiency?


IaaS will help align the IT Infrastructure costs to the business growth and ensure the customer avoids over investing in light of difficult business environments and at the same time can easily scale when business grows. This creates a huge potential for business efficiency. Apart from this it will help reduce to a great extent internal IT manpower needs.


What are the innovations in data storage pioneered by Red Hat? What has been the adoption level of these solutions amongst your enterprise clients?   



Unlike proprietary, hardware-based storage, which limits your ability to keep up with today’s immensely growing data stores, the Red Hat® Storage portfolio gives you an open, software-defined storage platform that scales across physical, virtual, and cloud resources—without limits. Red Hat has been leading with two disruptive storage products. Ceph which focuses on object storage and is a great fit for Open Stack or Cloud, and Gluster which is a distributed file storage currently positioned with Open Shift, the enterprise PaaS product. Both of these are seeing really strong interest and adoption, specially with Ceph that adoption has exponentially increased with the adoption of Red Hat Open Stack.


How are Red Hat’s offerings for virtualization enabling businesses to scale up rapidly while retaining agility?


While the foray in cloud technologies has been the focus for last few years, Red Hat has also been a very strong player in data centre virtualization with its industry renowned product the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV in short). It is based on the solid KVM kernel virtualization that has matured as part of the Linux kernel for more than 7-8 years. Using RHEV the customers have been able to migrate from bare-metal deployments to virtualized environments significantly increasing the server density and efficiency.


What is the potential for the innovation ecosystem for Open Source Software (OSS) in India? How can OSS contribute to the success of Digital India Mission?


The biggest benefit of using OSS for a country like India is retaining control of massive amounts of the citizen data it generates as part of the Digital India Mission. OSS also ensures competing technologies can integrate seamlessly via standard based interfaces at the same time there is comfort in having easy and community validated access to the code along with vendor testing and packaging efforts. OSS will be critical to avoid vendor lock-in and content ownership.


Investments in innovation and R&D have long gestation period and uncertainty of returns. Being at the helm of affairs, are you looking to acquire technologies or invest long term to build internal capabilities?


Both these approaches have been leveraged by Red Hat as it looks to ramp up investments in existing product technologies at the same time invest via acquisitions like the recent Ansible to augment its product and technologies portfolio. Been a respected and strong open source proponent itself, Red Hat prefers to consider acquisitions for its needs where active upstream communities and projects already exists and nurture them further.