Red Hat Summit 2022 was held May 10-11 and covered a number of approaches from customers, partners, and industry experts in delivering open source technologies.
Red Hat has seen significant growth and market share when it comes to enterprise Linux. Innovation demonstrated at Red Hat Summit 2022 shows continued growth, not only in the operating system, but also in ways to address organizational challenges such as skills gaps, peak growth, and modernization in the whole ecosystem.
Red Hat’s CentOS strategy change has caused market disruption for those using CentOS in production. However, Red Hat’s progress and forward-thinking direction seem to address customers’ biggest challenges. Market adoption will ultimately determine the success of their strategy.
Main products to take away
Here are the main highlights of the Red Hat product suite showcased at the event:
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 9. This release, now available to everyone, provides better consistency across hybrid and public clouds, bare metal, and edge networks. RHEL 9 is also built from CentOS Stream, which is an upstream continuous delivery of Linux. This allows the RHEL ecosystem to see what’s coming, see new code features, and provide early information and feedback to Red Hat.
- Cutting-edge RHEL 9 capabilities. Edge is becoming more and more important. RHEL 9 announced a release of edge management delivered as a service that gives users the ability to monitor and scale deployments remotely. This enables improved security, control functionality, zero-touch provisioning, and monitoring of system health and migrations from a single point of view. This release also includes Image Builder, offering customizable file systems and cloud provider support for AWS, Google Cloud Platform, VMware, and Microsoft Azure.
- RHEL 9 security. This release includes protection against hardware-level security vulnerabilities such as Specter and Meltdown. This is achieved by causing the operating system to create areas of memory inaccessible to malicious code. RHEL 9 also provides PCI DSS and HIPAA client security requirements. Another interesting enhancement is RHEL 9’s Integrity Measurement Architecture (IMA), which uses digital hashes so users can detect malicious infrastructure changes.
- Automation with RHEL 9. This release offers an expanded set of system roles aligned to specific configurations. These roles include Postfix, High Availability Clusters Firewall, Microsoft SQL Server, and Web Console. Live kernel patches from web console enhancements allow IT teams to apply updates without using command-line tools. It enables management through the core to the edge of multiple clouds.
- Red Hat OpenShift updates. OpenShift 4.10, released in March with zero-touch provisioning, provides repeatable automation for the edge, including factory workflows for partners and OEMs.
- Ansible updates and validates models. This update and release comes with new validation models that help IT teams quickly build edge architectures. Integration with GitOps gives healthcare providers a way to ingest, analyze, and deliver insights into medical images and data. Ansible Automation Platform adds new automation mesh virtualization to define where automations run to provide scale. Edge locations can scale while Ansible automation improves hybrid cloud and edge workflows.
- Automotive operating system and partnership. A partnership was announced with General Motors (GM) to provide in-vehicle operating systems. GM is building the Ultifi software platform – slated for launch in 2023 – and has the Linux operating system as its foundation.
Additional Highlights of RHEL 9
I had the pleasure of speaking with Gunnar Hellekson, Vice President and General Manager of RHEL Business Unit and Chris Wells, senior director of product marketing for RHEL. During our chat, we discussed the audience for the RHEL 9 release. This release targets three audience segments: hardware vendors, application developers, and operators.
For hardware vendors, support for Arm (ARM) processors and servers has been added, elevating it to first-class citizenship. ARM is often used in enterprises, at the edge, and in public clouds.
Red Hat works closely within its ecosystem to collaborate, including providing boundaries to not overcommit. They seek to meet the needs and function of the ecosystem, but also to ensure consistency. This consistency is designed to provide app developers with a better experience.
Additionally, to keep customers up to date, Red Hat supports customers where they are with their systems. Red Hat plans to maintain different states and versions of the system because it’s important to customers, according to Hellekson. They plan to have a 10 year lifecycle for customers using previous versions of RHEL.
Another interesting discussion was around the edge. Red Hat indicates that the edge has different taxonomies. Edge is defined by Red Hat as use where smaller operating systems run on smaller hardware in multiple locations. This scenario means that updates can occur without any human intervention. Containerized applications would be deployed to the edge with the ability to roll back and use management tools. This is the horizontal usage for the RHEL edge.
Customizable solutions are also important for customers. RHEL is the so-called beating heart of personalization, and both internal and external groups depend on and rely on RHEL.
The conversation around the IT skills gap
Organizations face the limited availability of Linux administrators. An effective way to address this issue is for organizations to achieve consistency and unify their environment. Using tools and automation like Ansible helps companies get the most out of their Linux talent. OpenShift and automation can be used on a web console and with other hardware and software.
Managed services should also be considered. Steph Bacon, Senior Director of Portfolio Strategy at Red Hat, shared some insights into how Red Hat managed services also play a key role in customer success. This is another area where organizations can use a managed services approach to offset skill shortage challenges.
And other Red Hat news
The hardware market is out of sync with a few years ago. The RHEL schedule is a three-year release for major releases and a six-month release for minor releases. Consistency is important for customer roadmap planning, so making this cycle public is important.
Future releases of RHEL 10 and CentOS Stream were also discussed. When RHEL was first created, Fedora was a sandbox, RHEL was for the enterprise, and CentOS was supposed to provide information for the RHEL version. Now CentOS Stream provides the upstream version of RHEL as it is built. CentOS Stream can be considered the new sandbox for enterprise RHEL.
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