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​Red Hat to keep its partner-agnosticism post-acquisition, CSPs moving to less-popular solutions

​Red Hat to keep its partner-agnosticism post-acquisition, CSPs moving to less-popular solutions

Developer’s “scalable” solutions seen as a major selling point

Credit: ID 56814521 © Zimmytws | Dreamstime

Partners have “nothing to fear” from an IBM-owned Red Hat and communication services providers are moving towards less popular solutions, a new report into the Linux developer has found.

According to a report from analyst firm Technology Business Research (TBR), Red Hat executives speaking at their Open Innovation Lab and Executive Briefing Center in Boston claimed that its culture and product development would stay the same after its acquisition by IBM, which was closed in July 2019.

According to TBR telecom senior analyst Michael Soper, Red Hat’s independence is a core tenent of the company through an “open-source approach” to management, application development and company direction.

“The open-source community, to which Red Hat and its employees are major contributors, will remain the primary influence on Red Hat’s product road map,” Soper said.

“This is evident in the company’s open hybrid cloud strategy, whereby Red Hat products support hybrid cloud infrastructure from a host of strategic partners, with Red Hat adhering to a principle of partner agnosticism: No one partner is favoured over another.

“Tellingly, during one executive’s presentation, a slide showcased six large customers that Red Hat supported in their migrations to hybrid cloud infrastructures, and the executive could not name the cloud service provider partner. It did not matter, because Red Hat integrates with them all.”

Soper also said Red Hat has seen success with its communication services provider (CSP) customers with solutions that are not its core products of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenStack, with a move towards OpenShift.

“OpenShift, which enables the building, development and deployment of applications in cloud infrastructures, is just beginning to gain traction with CSPs, which represent about 10 per cent of the customer base,” he said.

Red Hat’s solutions are seen as scalable by CSPs, which is considered to be a key selling point according to Soper.

“The company often sees customers adopt its solutions without a subscription due to lack of scale, then begin leveraging Red Hat support when it grows,” he said.

Soper added that Red Hat is aware of concerns that the acquisition could mean the Linux developer will lose its agnosticism, but the telecom senior analyst claimed “there appears to be no threat of this happening”.

“The company recognises that IBM competes with several of its telecom vendor partners in some software and services domains, but agnosticism remains a key tenet of both the company and its CSP go-to-market approach.”

“In some respects, this mirrors IBM, which is often viewed by CSPs as a vendor-agnostic provider of systems integration and managed services, wrapping in best-of-breed hardware partners.”

Soper therefore claimed that continuing this belief will serve Red Hat well as it continues to enter the telecom market, as he said its open-source principles are being accepted by other telecommunication companies and their suppliers.

“Operators are increasingly demanding open and interoperable solutions from their vendor partners, and Red Hat is top of mind in procuring these solutions,” he said.

Red Hat also noted it has a sizeable telecommunication company network opportunity of US$8 billion, Soper said, excluding enterprise IT software the company sells to CSPs.

As for the Linux developer’s future prospects, Soper claimed Red Hat will penetrate the network environments of CSPs based from a foothold it established over 25 years. Future growth with the telecommunications market for the developer is set through its partner network, including companies such as Erissson, Nokia, Cisco, Altiostar and Affirmed Networks, Soper concluded. 


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