by Justin Hayes (Red Hat)

Like many organizations, Red Hat Consulting constantly seeks ways to eliminate organizational inefficiencies in our business operations. These inefficiencies typically deal with how our consultants are trained on cutting edge technologies, how our sales force demonstrates product capabilities to our customers and prospects, and how our technical groups request operational environments (virtual machines, platforms, etc.)

To attack this problem, a team of architects and consultants set out to design, implement, and operationalize a system that will reduce these inefficiencies. This system is called the Red Hat Innovation Center (RHIC). Its vision is twofold:

1. To demonstrate Red Hat products’ features and capabilities through a solutions-oriented approach based on real world use cases.
2. To enable our consultants to quickly and efficiently learn our technologies by lowering the barriers to entry to internal training.

The RHIC is based on the best practices of Open Hybrid Cloud Architecture, a model in which Red Hat is the world leader, providing cloud technologies around IaaS, PaaS, and Cloud Monitoring and Management technologies. One of the ways in which we intend to lower the barriers to entry to our consultants and increase operational efficiency is through self-provisioning capabilities to launch fully operational environments within minutes. For example, this Open Hybrid Cloud enables our consultants to quickly launch virtual machines containing preconfigured application blueprints for various Red Hat platforms and complex integration frameworks.

One of the core architectural components of the RHIC is Red Hat CloudForms, which is our product for building an Open Hybrid Cloud and managing the applications you deploy to it. We are developing an ever-growing catalog of pre-canned demos, showcasing our product and solution capabilities, which can be launched to the cloud by CloudForms' self-service functionality. These demos incorporate best practices for how to configure and use our products that we have learned on the front lines during countless customer engagements. The demos also include complex solutions developed by our consultants to address real world use cases faced by our customers.

Both the Red Hat sales force and our consulting groups now have a toolkit to do things they either could not do before RHIC, or that were cost-prohibitive due to time, financial, or infrastructure constraints. Through the RHIC, a sales team can now select just the right demo to present to a particular customer, improving their ability to show not just what our products can do, but the types of solutions our consultants can architect and implement.

Similarly, a consultant can now search for a demo that uses the technology they are interested in, then launch and learn. This allows them to focus on learning the technology via best practice configurations and custom solutions tackling real world problem. They no longer need to spend time wrangling a server to borrow, finding the software, installing and configuring it, and trying to locate then install a good sample application. Instead, through the RHIC our consultants can self-provision required platforms and applications within minutes and stay focused on learning and working on our technologies, thereby being more efficient and productive. The extent to which we can help our consultants use their time more efficiently will result in a happier and better trained consulting force.

The RHIC team’s focus was to improve our internal operational efficiencies through building a framework built on best practices of Open Hybrid Cloud. We also realize that the challenges we face are not unique, and the solution we've implemented can be replicated elsewhere to provide the same benefits. While the specific inefficiencies might vary from organization to organization, the model and technologies we have proven via the RHIC initiative can help other organizations improve their internal operations as well. Please contact me at to learn how.

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