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More Enterprises Turn to Open Source During the Pandemic: Red Hat

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As companies across all sectors face the ongoing challenges around customer experience, cost and security, they are increasingly looking at an easy-to-use, always available, scalable solution to solve part of this problem. Many of them have found the answer in Open source solutions. With the pandemic further accelerating the adoption of digital technologies and agile styles of working, open source has become the de-facto for delivery model for all types of enterprise software.

In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Ameeta Roy, Senior Director, Solution Architecture of Red Hat, explains how open source is playing an increasingly strategic role as a default technology of choice for  businesses looking to boost speed and efficiency to enable business transformation and innovation, the new trends in this space and many more. Excerpts

Are enterprises in India open to the idea of shifting to Open-source? How big is the Open-Source market and what has been the growth over the last few years, globally as well as in India? 

Today every business – whether a stock exchange or a telco or a hospital –  is becoming a technology company as they aspire to engage with consumers when and where they want to offer seamless and personalised experience. It would be impossible to get through a day without using a fair amount of open source. For instance, if you go on the web, the things you are touching [by browsing, streaming, or chatting] are open source; if you get money out of a cash machine, you are going to hit banking systems built on open source; airlines’ reservation systems are almost entirely built on Linux (an open-source operating system). Pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, agile styles of working as a result open source has become the de-facto delivery model for all types of enterprise software and is at the core of every emerging technology. Today, organisations are also focusing on IT optimization, automation, hybrid cloud and building modern cloud-native applications to continue on digital transformation initiatives.

What are some of the challenges faced by organisations looking to enable transformation? Can you give an example of an organization shifting to open source during the pandemic.

At Red Hat, we focus on understanding our customers, assessing their IT needs and then working with them to ensure that the outcomes delivered meet their expectations and changing business needs. We work with partners to contextualise our offerings to their uniquely Indian needs in order to truly enable them to transform their business.

For instance, IndiGo airlines used to rely on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), aviation-specific applications for most of their activities like ticket booking, crew scheduling, catering, load calculation, and other business functions and services. Not just that the airline handles Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) messages from its aircraft. All these services are critical for safety. However, these applications required manual intervention and thus were error- prone and inefficient. The airline was looking for an integration solution that could tie all the 400 applications into one single interface.

IndiGo chose Red Hat Fuse based on its agility, flexibility, and real-time data transfer capabilities. Red Hat Fuse is a distributed integration platform that connects applications across legacy systems, application programming interfaces (APIs), and other IT environments using service-oriented architecture (SOA) and standardized packaging frameworks. IndiGo’s teams worked with Red Hat Consulting to validate the deployment architecture and establish code quality best practices.

Which other industries you are catering to? Please share some examples from India that adopted open source to enable digital transformation and innovation?

Red Hat today is well poised to support businesses and governments wherever they are in their digital transformation efforts – whether they are modernising their existing application architecture and infrastructure or innovating with new business models and applications. We see tremendous opportunity for us to further accelerate and power the digital journey of India. Our large portfolio and robust partner ecosystem are well positioned to serve the needs of our customers across verticals. At Red Hat, we work with costumes across sectors like BFSI, telco, Government, Manufacturing, Media & Entertainment. Mid-market is also a growing focus area for us.

For instance, in the insurance sector we work with Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company (BALIC), ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company Limited (ManipalCigna) supporting them in their digital transformation journey. In the BFSI sector, players such as Barclays Bank, DBS Bank and Deutsche Bank wanted to modernise their applications along with ensuring a faster delivery time to customers. They adopted the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform to provide agility and scalability. With a faster delivery platform becoming the need of the hour, the BFSI sector has become an early adopter of cloud strategies.

What are the new technology trends to look forward to in the open-source ecosystem in the next 12-18 months? 

Today, we see the impact of open source technology and open innovation in sectors ranging from e-Education, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, security to public utilities. In my opinion, below are the trends that will further pave the way: With increased focus on security, organisations will prioritise their DevSecOps initiatives. With the well-publicised software supply chain exploitation cases in recent years, security with automation in Dev pipelines will be critical and the open source community will pave the path for continued innovations in the space. More and more organizations will adopt cloud-native Integrated Development Environment (IDE) like Red Hat CodeReady workspaces to improve the software development lifecycle and remote collaboration in 2022.

As per the Red Hat Global Tech Outlook 2022 report, artificial intelligence, machine learning (AI/ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to dominate emerging technology planning. With data science playing a critical role across industries, at Red Hat, we predict that the next-generation of applications will revamp the ways industries function. Kubernetes will continue to evolve as the ideal platform for AI / ML, offering scalability, GPU access, workload portability and so much more. At the same time, IoT, when coupled with Edge Computing, will bring in greater adoption of AI ​​/ ML in key sectors like Retail and will improve overall operational efficiency and productivity in manufacturing industries. While Telcos will be at the center of all IoT and Edge deployments, we see phenomenal growth and potential in other sectors too.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com