Open source leads the future of Cloud

When looking to provide Cloud deployments, channel players are faced with a vast array of offerings from vendors all claiming to offer the ideal solution to a client’s needs. Being spoilt for choice, it has become increasingly difficult for partners to differentiate from competitors.

As the model for Cloud providers expands to include private Cloud build-outs, container-based infrastructure and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions, partners need additional flexibility to better meet customer needs for Cloud-based technologies.

As such, a complete set of unique Cloud services can help partners plan, build and manage a private or hybrid Cloud while still using a multi-vendor infrastructure.

Red Hat channel sales and development director A/NZ, Colin Garro, explained that despite open source technology coming to the fore in the 1990s, organisations are only now starting to realise the value of an open approach to engender business success.

“Open principles are ideal for businesses looking to grow. Speed and agility are crucial for these organisations, just as they are for technology development,” he said.

No matter what a customer wants to do, open source technology lets partners deliver effective and profitable solutions to clients. Bespoke infrastructures developed for clients through open source technologies can be used for any application; from Cloud to mobility and the Internet of things (IoT).

Red Hat business architecture senior director, Michael Ferris, said that much like enterprise IT itself, Cloud computing is constantly evolving, especially with the growing promise of hybrid Cloud approaches and Linux container-based architectures.

“The Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program is designed to encompass nearly all service provider models, spanning the public Cloud to on-site managed services, offering customers a secure, stable and trusted partner ecosystem to build their next-generation IT projects using Red Hat solutions.”

Red Hat has outlined five reasons why the software development environment of the future will be open source.

1. Contestability

Open source gives organisations more choice so they can choose the best combination of solutions from various providers. It prevents lock-in and reduces the risks associated with single-sourcing. Developers benefit because they can choose the tools and development language that work best.

2. Safety

Open source solutions have been tried and tested in the Cloud so users know they work, making them a safer choice. Additionally, open source delivers transparency so that users get visibility into how their open source projects will evolve.

3. Costs

Open source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offers a technological framework for people to collaborate easily, quickly and safely. Developers can experiment cheaply and so take an iterative approach to getting better ideas to market faster. This means the cost of innovation is lower.

4. Integration

Applications that can make a real impact require higher-order middleware services so they can leverage heritage systems and information assets, are easy to manage and monitor, and can be made available in public, private or hybrid Cloud environments. This lets organisations provide consumers with unique products and services, and better compete with disruptive new entrants.

5. Containerisation and microservices

The trends towards containerisation and microservices will continue, enabled by open source PaaS. Microservices involves creating apps as a series of smaller, collaborating services rather than as a single monolith. The container-based PaaS environment makes it easier to compose and evolve non-trivial, microservice-based systems. These become the rich, complex apps that organisations need to remain innovative in the future.

How to differentiate in an ever-changing and competitive market

The recent Red Hat Cloud adoption index revealed that many companies fear applications won’t be suitable for deployment into IaaS or PaaS. Of the respondents, 38 per cent believed that less than 40 per cent of their existing applications would fit into a Cloud architecture.

By deploying open source solutions, partners get an edge over competitors because they can guarantee that existing applications will work in the Cloud.

The very nature of open source solutions is that they are purpose built for a customer’s need. Competitors will not be able to offer the same level of customisation and integration that a partner delivering open source solutions can.

This will make offerings stand out when tendering for new accounts and stick in a client’s mind when it is time for renewals. Partners get the head start that is so vital when trying to compete in such a demanding market.

Garro added that reselling products provides the lowest margin as compared to managed services, or productising your own IP.

“This increases profitability and makes you relevant in a space where everyone is competing for the customer's dollar. Doing this also reduces the risk in projects because you are providing a known repeatable service,” he said.
“There are now a lot of service providers, (of all varieties) competing for the same dollar. Those with the ability to differentiate themselves and provide a value added service will be the ones that are successful. Those that are able to take a vendor's product or solution and surround it with their unique value proposition will eventually be the partners that remain successful.”