OpenShift: Exclusive Interview With Red Hat’s Bryan Che


In an exclusive interview with Muktware Bryan Che, Senior Director (Product Management and Marketing for the Cloud Business Unit), Red Hat, explains what OpenShift is all about. We also talked about Red Hat’s cloud strategy.

Swapnil: What is OpenShift?
Bryan: OpenShift is Red Hat’s free, auto-scaling Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for applications.  It is an application platform in the cloud where application developers and teams can build, test, deploy, and run their applications.  It is available at:

Swapnil: Red Hat will be releasing the source code of OpenShift during the open cloud conference? Will there be component still proprietary if yes why?
Bryan: Some operational pieces are not being open sourced, such as the website and user registration that connect to Red Hat corporate systems, which wouldn’t be useful in another context. Otherwise, everything you need will be open source – you can take all of the pieces that will be released to the community or are already in open source and you’d have a PaaS with all the same features as OpenShift. And we expect it to work the other way – Red Hat is intending to take the code from the open source upstream projects and offer these features as a service in OpenShift for those who want the convenience of a managed service backed by the open source leader.

Swapnil: What will be the business model around OpenShift? Are there any plans to offer commercial offerings for OpenShift?
Bryan: We have announced that there are plans to provide a commercial, supported offering for OpenShift, but have not discussed a timeline publicly.

Swapnil: Red Hat has made history by registering 1.3 billion in revenue, what role do you think cloud is going to play in Red Hat’s market?
Bryan: We expect that cloud will be a major driver in Red Hat reaching its next billion in revenue and beyond.  At Red Hat, we are focused on helping enterprises build open hybrid clouds.  That requires both new offerings like Red Hat’s OpenShift and CloudForms, but it also depends on the evolution of all our existing offerings, like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise Middleware.  So, cloud will be driving revenue across Red Hat’s entire product-lines.

Red Hat is uniquely well-positioned in the cloud market given that we have such a broad range of software for creating open hybrid clouds, from virtualization to the operating system to storage to middleware to hybrid cloud management to PaaS.

Swapnil: How big is the cloud market and how are Open Source offerings such as OpenShift going to change the market dynamics?
Bryan: There are many different analyst projections around the size of the cloud market.  Projections for PaaS alone start at around $1.8b in 2015 and run as high as about $10b.  IDC expects that 48% of enterprise IT expenditure in 2013 will be for cloud.  However you look at it, this is a major market disruption.

One of the interesting dynamics around cloud is that this is the first big IT landscape where open source is the default technology model.  If you look at all the big public cloud vendors today, they’re all running on open source.  The cloud got started on open source, and it depends upon open source.  We think offerings like OpenShift are only going to accelerate that.

Swapnil: How big do you think is Red Hat going to be in the enterprise cloud market?
Bryan: We are already one of the leading providers in the enterprise cloud market, and expect to continue to grow our position.

Swapnil: What kind of businesses (size and market) is Red Hat targeting with OpenShift?
Bryan: OpenShift targets businesses who are interacting with their constituents online. Whether small businesses with a website or mobile app, or large enterprises with a sophisticated online presence, OpenShift is designed to satisfy the need of the developer of cloud applications. This market as the runtime for cloud applications is estimated to be worth 10-30 billion dollars over the next 10 years.

Swapnil: Open Source ownCloud recently announced their commercial offering, are there any plans for ownCloud?
Bryan: We have no plans around ownCloud right now.

Swapnil: According to reports Derek Collison of VMware is planning to launch his own commercial version of Cloud Foundry with OpenStack. Red Hat is also working with OpenStack, how do you see it as a competition?
Bryan: Enterprises are looking for many capabilities in a PaaS: what are the capabilities of the platform?  How do we run enterprise applications on the platform?  How do we apply IT governance and policy to the PaaS?  How do we provide qualities of service and meet SLAs?  All these things require much more than just an automation platform—they require an enterprise-class cloud application platform as part of the PaaS.

VMware can’t offer any of these capabilities with CloudFoundry on OpenStack because they don’t have an enterprise-class platform—either operating system or middleware.  Red Hat has both in OpenShift.
Startups struggle to integrate and support the depth and breadth of stack that is required to serve enterprise needs. They can gain traction in a particular segment for a while but will find increasingly that they have to integrate with many components which adds enormous complexity while they compete with broader offerings from big vendors.

Swapnil: Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth recently made claims that Ubuntu is taking over RHEL’s market primarily driven by its cloud offering, what is Red Hat’s response to such claims?
Bryan: We will let our latest quarterly results speak for themselves.