Linux: The new frontier of enterprise in the cloud

Everyone from developer teams, to operations, to managers of virtual machines needs to know Linux, said Red Hat's Brian Gracely.

Linux: The new frontier of enterprise in the cloud

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson spoke with with Brian Gracely, director of cloud strategy at Red Hat OpenShift, about Linux and the cloud.

Patterson: Linux, is the next frontier, the bold next frontier of the enterprise... Red Hat has been around for years. It's a fantastic distribution of Linux. Help us understand how Red Hat is being adopted and used in the enterprise.

Gracely: Well obviously, like you mentioned, we've been a Linux company for a long time. We've really seen Linux expand along the lines of a lot of the things that are happening in the enterprise. We're seeing more and more enterprise infrastructure become software centric or software defined. Red Hat's expanded their portfolio in storage, in automation with the Ansible platform.

And then the really big trend lately with Linux has been Linux containers and technologies like [Google] Kubernetes. So, we're seeing enterprises want to build new applications. We're seeing the infrastructure be more software defined. Linux ends up becoming the foundation for a lot of the things going on in enterprise IT these days.

Patterson: And how can employers find the employees that have the right skill sets, and what are the best skill sets for deploying Red Hat in the cloud?

Gracely: Yeah. So I think there's a couple of core skill sets. One, obviously, we're seeing more and more Linux system admin, system administrators, who are developing those skills, because those skills are applicable in their own data centers. They're applicable in the public cloud. That's a great foundation.

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Anybody who's been a virtualization administrator is really understanding software centric infrastructure, APIs, and so forth. That's a great skill set to find, and then a lot of people that have been focusing on automation. Whether you've been learning Chef, Ansible, Puppet, those types of skills, all of those are really great foundational things. They're not unicorn skills that you're not going to find anywhere. They're skills you could find all over the country.

Patterson: Speaking of skills, why is it ... it almost feels a little redundant to ask this, but it's important. Why is it that employees should have a diverse set of Linux skills when working in IT?

Gracely: Well, I think the biggest thing is more and more companies are saying, "Look, the interaction that we're going to have with our marketplace, with our customers, is going to be digital. It's going to be through software." What that ultimately means is I want my developers to be able to build features faster, interact faster, make changes. You're seeing more ops teams and development teams having to work more closely together. That whole set of infrastructure and the tools they're using tend to be Linux based.

The more you can have people that understand Linux tooling, automation, software-defined types of things, the more you're going to have consistency of how developers talk to operators, being able to roll out software more quickly, but ultimately, you respond to your marketplace better. You respond better to what your customers want.

Patterson: Brian, I wonder when we look down the road, say, 18 to 36 months, where is Linux, not just in the enterprise, but in the enterprise cloud?

Gracely: Right. Yeah, I think what we see more and more is there no longer is a fixed enterprise. The enterprise is in their own data centers. It's across the three, or four, or five major public clouds. Linux ends up being one of those technologies that's portable. Linux technology, container technology on top of that, those are all portables technologies. What we're seeing people try and figure out is how do I make consistent operations, consistent development environments, wherever the business needs to run.

If I want to run in Asia, and I want to take advantage of public cloud, great. I want to run in my own data centers, because of compliance, great. How do I be really consistent across? Linux is evolving to become that defacto portable-layer and consistency layer.

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