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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Red Hat cloud services deliver time to value and enhance developer and operator efficiency

In this Techaisle Take analysis, I will discuss which customer challenges Red Hat is addressing with its cloud services, market differentiation, especially VMware, and why its significant value lies in providing a consistent full-stack development and operational experience.

The customer challenges

A successful approach to the cloud needs to be structured around its capacity to evolve, support changing business requirements and customer/partner/employee expectations, respond to competitive pressures, and embrace new opportunities for automation/integration of automated systems. Businesses may be comfortable pursuing a limited number of objectives, but these objectives are no longer static. One of the challenges to providing cloud services is that the cloud spans two significant disciplines. One of the challenges to providing cloud services is that the cloud spans two critical levels. At a strategic level, the cloud is a management issue, and at the execution level, it is an IT issue. In IT, there are two main actors, developers and operators. Both developers and operations teams hold promise to support cloud development and deployment. In response, businesses have turned to an approach to development known as DevOps. In response, businesses have turned to an approach to developing and operating systems known as DevOps. Because of the optionality and complexity of tooling, it can be difficult to source appropriate cloud support for DevOps at a practical level. Techaisle’s Container Adoption Trends survey data shows that 57% of commercial customers seek application modernization services, and 77% are currently engaged in application migration services. Yet, 22% of firms believe there is a lack of IT and business strategy alignment understanding related to DevOps practice. Although modernization is a business priority, determining the right approach, paying off technical debt, internal strife between scrum/agile teams, not well-understood data & application dependencies, and legacy SDLC processes slow down the modernization programs. The competing corporate objectives usually compel an organization to manage and deploy a mix of environments, including on-prem configurations, private cloud, and multiple public cloud services. These diverse environments result in the need for a hybrid approach.

As a result, businesses deal with many inhibitors when planning to add business value at a faster pace and compete in the digital economy. The big challenge is building applications faster, reducing time to value, and deploying on-prem in private or public clouds. Operations teams are specifically under pressure to control costs, reduce operational complexity, improve security, and consistently manage across multiple cloud deployments. Operations teams are managing legacy applications running in virtualized environments in the data center while witnessing explosive adoption of the public cloud and associated services. In addition, businesses are increasing edge deployments, specifically in the industrial and telco verticals.

The solution – Red Hat Cloud Services

Red Hat’s cloud services strategy is built to address the multitude of the above-outlined challenges. Red Hat OpenShift provides consistency across all cloud environments, helping developers in cloud-native application development and rolling out applications in containers faster, giving the operators the ability to have the same operating experience across every deployment footprint for every application in both on-prem and public cloud. In addition to the core OpenShift platform, Red Hat Cloud Services includes several tightly integrated application development and data services intended to help developers build workloads and applications within the OpenShift managed-service environments. These additional managed cloud services include an API management service (Red Hat OpenShift API Management), a Kafka and streaming service (Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka), a service to simplify access control across multiple database vendors (Red Hat OpenShift Database Access), and a data science service (Red Hat OpenShift Data Science) for AI/ML workloads. According to Techaisle’s Container Adoption Trends survey research, the additional services are likely to see an adoption growth of 68% among commercial customers within the year.

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Red Hat Partner Program accelerating partner business velocity

Markets behave logically, and therefore channel partners exist for logical reasons. Channel partners are essential to intercepting demand, connecting technology to business outcomes, enabling efficiencies, and providing customer relevance. A sizable majority of IT industry sales are concluded through partners and are not likely to slow down soon. As we emerge from the pandemic, it is clear that the cloud has transformed the IT industry by its ability to provide agile transformation, resiliency, and adaptability. The market has shifted from discrete purchase-and-deploy deals aligned with refresh cycles to a 'hybrid IT' approach that blends a limited number of on-premise assets with a growing range of on-demand services. Application modernization, migration, cloud consulting services, and cloud managed services. Containers have become the PoC beachheads, small to enterprise firms are building the Edge. Techaisle data shows that the need for updated understandings of channel management imperatives has expanded beyond the tactical questions of sales or management metrics or marketing activities. There is a reason why I have written a long preamble before unfolding the main point of the Techaisle Take.

Red Hat is a platform company whose goal is to continue to deliver platforms and the relevant pieces around it that enable a customer to have the maximum flexibility and core capabilities for security, stability, and resiliency. In addition, these customers should be able to deploy applications faster and at scale. Therefore, its open hybrid cloud initiative has to have as broad a partner ecosystem as possible to deliver on Red Hat's promise. Red Hat is still Red Hat retaining its independence and neutrality, but its partner program is changing to tackle the ecosystem challenges. Red Hat has been listening to its partners. Red Hat's Stefanie Chiras, Sr. Vice-President, Partner Ecosystem Success is focusing on partner success. She and her team recognize that partners contribute to creating, shaping, defining demand – in some cases by making customers aware of a new category or product, in others by helping to define solution requirements or specifications. In the hybrid world, the solution deployment is based not on a specified hardware/software configuration but the orchestration of multiple on-demand services integrated with existing legacy systems - a liberating factor for the partner ecosystem in a meaningful sense.

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WW Midmarket Hybrid Cloud penetration has reached 37 percent and 17 percent workload

Techaisle’s SMB and Midmarket Cloud adoption survey of 3200 midmarket firms and 3000 small businesses globally shows that hybrid cloud has been gaining momentum in small businesses, and is already entrenched in the mid-market firms. Hybrid accounts for 37 percent of cloud using mid-market businesses today, up 28% from 2018, and is expected to capture a lot higher proportion of new spending in the next one year. Midmarket firms are moving from public clouds to hybrid deployments with current hybrid workload at 17%, up from 12% in 2018. The current penetration is the highest in the US but planned usage is highest in Europe and Asia/Pacific.

There is no clear trend on the types of workloads on hybrid environments which shows that most deployments are very specific to a customer’s needs and application delivery partner’s expertise. Typical hybrid workloads include ERP, HR, CRM, finance, operations, IoT, analytics, AI, Machine Learning, SAP 4/HANA deployments, disaster recovery, critical event management, mass storage, cloud security and cloud database. Both Azure and AWS are being used by over 90% of US midmarket firms. Red Hat OpenStack is the preferred private cloud platform for 74% of US firms and Red Hat Cloudforms is the most used cloud management solution by 80% of US midmarket firms followed by VMware vRealize. Hypergrid, Morpheus, platform9 and Scalr are in low single digits. Ansible is being used by most channel partners for orchestration and automation.

Corresponding Techaisle survey with partners delivering cloud solutions to SMBs and midmarket customers reveals that Azure Stack is the most popular platform because of Microsoft’s proactive engagement, powerful and extensive Microsoft ecosystem as well as deep product portfolio. Google Anthos and AWS Outposts are picking up pace. Interesting trend is being seen from AWS partners who are beginning to use Google Anthos instead of AWS Outposts. These partners are not only working with AWS native solutions, but offering cloud solutions which are based around other cloud platforms like GCP, Oracle or Microsoft. Some of these partners prefer to use Anthos because they find it to be more of an open technology and AWS Outposts and can be easily implemented across other environments. It gives them a wider approach in terms of compatibility. They have to pay a fixed amount when using using Anthos which is variable with Outposts. None of the application delivery partners are using tools and technology from only a single vendor. The use of Open Source is dominant.

Another view of the data collected in the survey provides fascinating insight into the extent that midmarket cloud users are willing to align different delivery methods with internal requirements. Detailed analysis and segmentation of data reveals that there are pockets of demand (and overlap in these pockets) that exist for public, private and hybrid models in each segment.

Mid-market businesses
Looking at the mid-market segmentation, we see that larger firms are likely to employ multiple cloud delivery strategies. Overall, 51 percent rely on a single delivery approach for cloud, for example, 31 percent use only private. 29 percent of mid-market businesses use two different delivery approaches, with the most common being a combination of private and public models (but not in a hybrid setting). Firms in these overlap areas are not, on average, larger than those using a single delivery method, but they do face added complexity in that they tend to have more locations.

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IBM Acquires Red Hat – What does it mean and to whom

IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat makes sense on several levels: it adds a high-growth software portfolio to boost software and recurring revenue, and provides IBM with a bit of a ‘halo’ in the tech community, as it now controls the industry’s leading Open Source supplier.

Moving down a level, though, why might this acquisition matter – and to whom? Techaisle’s take on the most important angles that shaped and will determine the success of the deal. (Download Techaisle Take report)

Who does this matter to?

Imagine you are an enterprise with a large legacy infrastructure, possibly in a regulated industry (like financial services or government). You see that IT service delivery is advancing faster outside your walls than within your firm, as other businesses aggressively adopt cloud, Agile, DevOps and containers.

You are motivated to try to integrate these advanced platforms/products/methodologies into your environment as well – to capitalize on the advantages that they can deliver, or because you’re afraid that if you don’t act you’ll be left behind, watching competitors introduce new IT-enabled capabilities faster and at lower cost than you can.

In an organization like this, IT executives are unlikely to want to dive headlong into a deep/committed relationship with a public cloud provider like AWS. They will understand the importance of building a multi-cloud, hybrid IT infrastructure, but will want to manage that environment internally, with a focus on existing capabilities (both installed products and skills). “Cloud first” won’t be a living mandate – it might describe an approach to new and non-critical applications, but won’t be a serious consideration for core systems of record.

Advantages (and some potential pitfalls) of a combined IBM/Red Hat

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