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Red Hat Summit 2023 in Review

The News: Red Hat had its annual Red Hat Summit and Ansible Fest event this week in Boston and took the opportunity to issue 14 press releases. For more details on all the news, see the Red Hat newsroom.

Red Hat Summit 2023 in Review

Analyst Take: Annual conferences are always an opportunity for the vendor to launch updates to core offerings and leverage the buzz surrounding the event, but I found the sheer volume of updates from Red Hat rather unprecedented. One explaining factor was the event was also the first time that Red Hat Summit was combined with the annual Ansible Fest conference, which is a community event driven by the Ansible community.

This research note is long enough already, so I will focus on five key announcements from the many that were announced at the event.

Service Interconnect. Red Hat introduced Red Hat Service Interconnect, a solution focused on simplifying application connectivity and security across different platforms, clusters, and clouds. Based on the open-source project Skupper.io, the enterprise-supported version enables developers to create trusted connections between services and applications without the need for complex network reconfigurations or elevated security privileges. With Red Hat Service Interconnect, developers can focus on innovation and easily connect applications across any infrastructure and application environment.

Red Hat’s Service Interconnect addresses the evolving application architectures that leverage open hybrid cloud environments. It eliminates the coordination between developers, network administrators, and security administrators for complex network changes, allowing for faster application development velocity while maintaining security compliance. Red Hat Service Interconnect supports cross-platform and multi-cloud communication by enabling trusted and resilient connectivity between applications running on Kubernetes clusters, virtual machines, or bare-metal hosts.

According to the company, its customers, including ANZ Bank, have already benefited from utilizing Red Hat Service Interconnect to accelerate the modernization of existing applications. ANZ Bank used the solution to securely connect applications across environments, facilitating a streamlined migration to the latest version of OpenShift and improving the developer experience with minimal disruptions. Red Hat Service Interconnect is generally available.

Trusted Supply Chain. Red Hat Trusted Software Supply Chain, a solution aimed at enhancing the resilience of the software supply chain and reducing vulnerabilities, was also launched this week. With the increasing adoption of open source components in applications, supply chain security has become increasingly a top priority for enterprise IT organizations. Red Hat’s Trusted Software Supply Chain addresses this by offering services that enhance an organization’s resilience to vulnerabilities throughout the software development lifecycle. By providing trusted content, knowledge of vulnerabilities, and streamlined CI/CD pipelines, Red Hat aims to bridge the gap between software innovation and source code security. The services reduce development time and cost while ensuring that applications are built and deployed with strong security measures.

The solution encompasses two new cloud services: Red Hat Trusted Application Pipeline and Red Hat Trusted Content. These services, along with existing offerings such as Quay and Advanced Cluster Security, help advance the adoption of DevSecOps practices by integrating security into the software development lifecycle. The solution aims to provide enterprises with proven platforms, trusted content, and real-time security scanning and remediation, allowing for faster and more secure software coding, building, and monitoring.

Red Hat Trusted Content provides developers with real-time knowledge of known vulnerabilities in their open source dependencies and suggests available remediations. Red Hat Trusted Application Pipeline simplifies the security-forward Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) process, making it easier to build, test, and deploy containerized applications securely. Red Hat Trusted Software Supply Chain and its associated cloud services are available for preview.

Developer Hub. Red Hat Developer Hub is an enterprise-grade and unified portal designed to streamline the development process by providing curated tools and resources. Built from the CNCF incubating open source project Backstage, the platform aims to enhance developer productivity, maximize existing skills, and accelerate velocity while reducing friction and cognitive overload for developers struggling with tool proliferation overload. Red Hat Developer Hub looks to offer a single pane of glass for accessing developer tools and resources, self-service capabilities that comply with enterprise-wide best practices, and security and governance measures for all developers across the organization. Red Hat Developer Hub also includes pre-defined and supported templates for faster and more secure application development. Developer Hub provides a transparent set of approved tools, languages, and developer resources, reducing choice paralysis while maintaining innovation. Additionally, Red Hat has developed plug-ins for Backstage that integrate key systems, such as Kubernetes and Quay, into the platform, enhancing functionality and providing a more consistent experience.

The platform addresses the challenges faced by enterprises in delivering and maintaining developer portals by offering an opinionated, supported, and optimized version of Backstage. This announcement by Red Hat brings another open source code base into the premium support stable and should be additive to revenue going forward.

Red Hat plans to further enhance the Developer Hub with additional plug-ins to support a wider range of tools and systems one obvious area I expect to see more of is AI-focused API and connectivity to Hugging Face over time. The Red Hat Developer Hub, along with the plug-ins, is set to be available in the second half of the year, with a Developer Preview already accessible.

OpenShift AI. With AI exploding, and with perhaps the most obvious product renaming ever, Red Hat announced the launch of OpenShift AI, which builds on the predecessor OpenShift Data Science. This solution aims to provide a consistent and scalable foundation for AI operations. OpenShift AI builds upon the existing capabilities of Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenShift Data Science, offering a standardized platform for creating and running production AI/ML models and applications. It enables fine-tuning of models, reduces training costs, and expands AI usage beyond specialized data scientists. The solution integrates with various technology partner offerings and supports deployment in different environments, including air-gapped and disconnected setups. Other enhancements include deployment pipelines for ML workflows, GPU support for inference, and model monitoring.

Red Hat OpenShift AI leverages the recently announced IBM Watson Code Assistant and Ansible Lightspeed. Organizations across industries have already embraced OpenShift AI for AI/ML innovation. Atruvia, Clalit Health Care Services, Guidehouse, Tirando X Colombia, and Veripark are some of the companies Red Hat shared who are leveraging the platform to drive AI initiatives in finance, healthcare, consulting, social impact, and financial services sectors. Red Hat OpenShift AI provides a flexible and scalable foundation for training, maintaining, fine-tuning, and utilizing foundation models in production environments, extending the capabilities of the trusted OpenShift platform.

Event-Driven Ansible. Red Hat announced the general availability of Event-Driven Ansible at Ansible Fest which ran alongside Red Hat Summit. This scalable and resilient solution enables organizations to implement automation as a reliable strategy across hybrid cloud environments. This offering, available as part of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform 2.4, expands the value of existing IT investments by allowing IT teams to innovate without compromising service quality or response times. Event-Driven Ansible seamlessly connects infrastructure and application observability tools with enterprise-grade Ansible automation, automating responses based on predefined rules and events from third-party tools. It enables consistent and automated responses to various IT management functions, reduces manual and error-prone tasks, and allows existing staff to focus on higher-priority activities.

With Event-Driven Ansible, customers can automate Day 0, Day 1, and Day 2 operations across hybrid cloud environments. The solution integrates with a range of third-party monitoring, observability, and IT analytics tools, with pre-packaged resources from partners such as Cisco ThousandEyes, Dynatrace, and Palo Alto Networks. It also supports custom integrations and offers supplementary content for platforms like Red Hat OpenShift, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Event-Driven Ansible is set to be available in June 2023 for customers using Ansible Automation Platform 2.4, and support from system integrator partners like Kyndryl and World Wide Technology is available to help customers get started. If you are looking for a deep dive beyond the press release, I highly recommend this blog by Red Hat’s Michele Null.

Ansible Lightspeed. Leaving the coolest named product name until last: Red Hat and IBM have announced Ansible Lightspeed, again leveraging IBM Watson Code Assistant, a new generative AI service for Ansible automation. The service aims to simplify automation adoption by providing a technology that is intelligent and user-friendly, allowing novice users to automate tasks while relieving experienced automators from low-level task creation. Ansible Lightspeed leverages natural language processing and integrates with Watson Code Assistant, which grants access to IBM foundation models for quick automation code development. The collaboration addresses the skills gap and enhances efficiency, speeding up the time to value for automation.

The focus of Ansible Lightspeed is to empower developers and operators, enabling them to input English prompts and easily translate their domain expertise into YAML code for Ansible Playbooks. The service also benefits from user feedback to enhance its training. By combining domain-specific AI with technical innovation, Ansible Lightspeed offers consistent and high-quality recommendations tailored to specific challenges. The collaboration between Red Hat and IBM emphasizes transparency, collaboration, and choice, with code source matching being a priority. The technology preview of Ansible Lightspeed with IBM Watson Code Assistant is expected to be available later this year.

Looking Ahead for Red Hat

Red Hat introduced several new solutions and services aimed at enhancing application connectivity, software supply chain security, developer productivity, AI operations, and automation adoption at Red Hat Summit and Ansible Fest. The announcements are on trend and timely. The addition of AI capabilities to both Ansible and OpenShift are obvious editions, but they are not reactionary. I view them as thoughtful additions that will improve productivity and provide a platform for further expansion as AI matures within the Red Hat portfolio.

Red Hat Summit and Ansible Fest are a return to pre-pandemic style events where the vibrancy and agility of open source meet enterprise pragmatic requirements. I came away from both events energized by the robust roadmap Red Hat has laid out and how well the organization is placed to be at the epicenter of the secular trends facing the industry as they relate to hybrid cloud and AI.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other insights from The Futurum Group:

Red Hat Announces GA of RHEL 9.2 and 8.8: A New Era of Hybrid Cloud Computing

Red Hat and NVIDIA Partner to Expand 5G Cloud RAN Networks

Red Hat and Oracle Strengthen Relationship: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Now Runs on OCI

Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

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