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Enterprise organizations have faced a compendium of challenges, but today it seems like the focus is on three things: speed, speed, and more speed. It is all about time to value and application velocity—getting applications delivered and then staying agile to evolve the application as needs arise.
In order to get maximum speed, the first requirement is to make developers maximally productive. They can’t be if they don’t have the tools they need, are waiting for someone else to set up their environment, or have to get up-to-speed on a new environment. And it is irritating as well. For many, cloud services are the antidote to these inefficiencies.
Getting the technology you want with less hassle
Managed cloud services—functionality that is hosted and managed in the cloud—provide a clean separation of the service’s features and effort that goes into administering the service. They provide the best of both worlds if you are looking at them through the lens of a development team under pressure—they provide the technology you want with none of the hassles of acquiring hardware, managing uptime, or updating software.
Another big win is that cloud services are available almost immediately—no waiting around for installation and configuration. The icing on the cake is that cloud services may be cheaper in the long run because you only pay for what you use. No more shelfware!
There are a lot of cloud services out there—some come from the cloud providers themselves, and some come from vendors like us. Far from being competitive, it is a very complementary situation. We provide a different experience.
Red Hat is all about ensuring a consistent experience across hybrid-cloud environments, which is all good with the hyperscalers. At the end of the day, they just want to sell clouds, and the more options for users means more cloud consumption.
Which managed cloud service is right for your environment?
Another dimension of choice is flexibility versus velocity. Some teams want to have access to every knob and dial to address edge cases and use every ounce of knowledge they have about the internal workings of the services.
At the other end of the spectrum are teams that want no part in the details, and want someone else (someone experienced) to just make those decisions so they can focus on developing business applications. At Red Hat, we target our self-managed products at the first group, and our managed cloud services at the second group.
Let me give you some specifics:
Consider container platforms - Kubernetes has won the war as the underlying technology of choice, but it is anything but easy to build out the stack and manage. Kubernetes is powerful, but it can be like trying to fly a rocket ship if you have to administer it. We offer managed cloud services that come in "opinionated" configurations, where we make certain decisions about settings and the ecosystem. Our goal with these cloud services is to make using technology (like Kubernetes) more like driving an automatic automobile.
Or consider our API management service - Our users, for example, do not get to select the underlying database. In most situations, users don’t want to, and they are happy to have someone else take care of it.
Or consider our streaming data Kafka service - Those who have used Apache Kafka know that you need more than just the broker to build applications. You need interfaces, metrics, monitoring, discovery, connectors and more. We have made (informed) decisions about which projects to include and how. We use our experience to deliver a curated Kafka experience that makes Kafka much easier and more efficient to use.
Benefits for the whole team
While the developer is an important user of cloud services, there are other members of the organization who benefit from cloud services. IT ops professionals benefit because much of the complexity of standing up these technologies is removed, and the line of business leaders, who care about achieving business outcomes quickly and cutting costs, recognize that keeping developers and IT ops happy and productive is the fastest means to an end.
With so many teams looking to build new applications, or modernize existing ones, the only question left is how to get started. Another beauty of cloud services is that they are already there just waiting for you to connect and try them out. There is no need to install, host or configure. And which cloud service should you start with? I would suggest a foundational service such as Red Hat OpenShift API Management or Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka.
And then it is off to the races!
About the author
Coco Jaenicke is the Director of Product Marketing of the Application Services business unit at Red Hat, focusing on managed application services. She has more than 25 years of experience working with enterprise infrastructure software, and despite two engineering degrees has migrated to the dark side of marketing.