View from the airport: Red Hat Summit 2018

Red Hat proves it's a force to be reckoned with in the hybrid space

Red Hat's annual meet is a chance for the company and its customers, to celebrate all things open source; yet this year's summit was about something more important.

With the weight of 25 years behind it, the pressure was on the company to make a bold stand, proving to the industry that it can ward against the likes of Amazon and other goliaths looking to wrestle control of the highly lucrative hybrid cloud market.

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The past few days have proved one thing. Red Hat is poised to become the dominant force in hybrid cloud and open source.

Setting the tone of the conference, Red Hat immediately announced that IBM would be fully containerising its entire WebSphere application portfolio over to Red Hat's OpenShift platform - a direct rival moving its services over to Red Hat technology. It's precisely the sort of knockout announcement the company needed.

If that wasn't enough to persuade its customers of its value in the market, Red Hat also announced a partnership with Microsoft on the creation of the industry's first jointly-managed container platform - essentially OpenShift running on Microsoft Azure, including both its on-premise and hybrid cloud platforms.

With those two major announcements aside, Red Hat took the time to detail its plans for the integration of CoreOS into its wider portfolio, something that customers have been waiting for since the acquisition was announced in January.

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The integration, alongside new offerings through IBM and Microsoft, means that over the next few months the company will have access to a far greater number of potential customers, with a greater portfolio of products to offer them.

It's no wonder then that Red Hat is confident it will extend its earnings winning streak, having already marked 64 consecutive quarters of revenue growth - an unprecedented feat. While the company is far from the monetary value of tech's biggest players, it's fast becoming the most important company in the open source space.

Red Hat considers itself to be the Switzerland of the tech industry, and while that message may be nauseating, it's difficult to argue against the notion of removing vendor lock-in for customers, nor doubt Red Hat's ability to sway traditional technology giants over to open source.

While executives expressed a willingness to engage with trends they see as being future growth opportunities - namely serverless computing and automation - it will be another Summit or two before we see any meaningful action on those fronts. For the time being, hybrid remains Red Hat's focus.

Red Hat will be one to watch over the next year. With IBM and Microsoft already on side, it's anyone's guess which technology giant will be lured next.

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