Balance Has Shifted In Favor Of Open Source

by Abhinna Shreshtha    Dec 10, 2009

Virtualisation and cloud computing promise to disrupt the technology scenario as we know it and according to <b>Ravindra Ranade</b>, head (presales & global professional services) of Red Hat India, the effects are even now becoming visible.


What has determined Red Hat’s current enterprise strategy?

We launched our advanced platform in May 2007. One reason for this was that we saw a shift in the way data centers had been operating up till then. Where, once, data centers were isolated silos, they were now moving to stage where applications were talking to each other.

When we launched virtualisation, we went for a big ISV program. We are constantly working with hardware and software vendors to get certifications from them for our products. By doing this we are trying to create a ready-made ecosystem for our customers who want to go virtual.

We are trying to bring in the same value that was once used for a proxy server for mission critical applications. One more thing is that we are one of the only two companies that provide desktop and server virtualisation as two separate technologies

Speaking of the divide between proprietary and OS. In which direction are enterprises leaning?

Open source is not alien to an enterprise environment. More and more people are adopting open source as it provides value for money. They want to consolidate storage and open source gives them freedom of choice. The battle is tipping towards open source.

There were integration issues 2-3 years ago, but rite now most of the OEMs are certifying applications onto their hardware. Integration issues are fast vanishing. Take the example of our pact with Microsoft to support each other’s environment; this happened because the customer wanted it.

What are some of the common pain points that customers tell you about?

Consistent management capability is one thing that the customer asks from us. He wants the same capabilities for both virtual and physical assets. Another thing that customers normally tell us is that "we have spent millions of dollars on ensuring security." To address this, SE Linux standards, which is part of physical infrastructure, is also maintained in the virtual world.

Another major concern is whether deploying virtualisation would require special training to be imparted to the team, as this translates to additional costs for the company. So basically, management capability, security, and training are the major issues that customers want clarity on.

What is your perspective on cloud computing? Is it heading for popularity in India?

It is definitely catching up. Today everyone has a main data center and a DR site. The question on every CIO’s mind is that why cannot I use the capabilities of my DR center, which I do not use regularly. This way, I create extra demand capabilities for happy hour rushes. The thing is that when you say ‘cloud’ it need not always be an external cloud, it can also be the Intranet. Having a DR site obviously justifies the investment, but if a CIO can show that he is using the DR center for additional purposes then it reflects well on him.

Cloud computing is catching up because people realize they already have the capabilities with them and they do not want to buy a new software to create anything new.

Obviously, there are some vertical and horizontal things that are required.Vertically there is management — whether we are providing the same management capabilities. If you go down layer a concern was whether it will be scalable, i.e. will the response time be the same. Where we are seeing a major traction in the bigger customers making huge private clouds, where they do not have to worry about security and privacy.

Are you working with managed service providers for cloud computing?

Well, I am not allowed to take names, but we are definitely working with them. Red Hat allows multiple virtual guests in the boxes, which is beneficial to the managed service providers.