Today I gave a keynote address at Red Hat Summit; the following is an excerpt from that talk.


The past two years have focused on “what we all had been going through.” But I think we should look at it as “what we have and are accomplishing.” 

Globally we saw nearly every industry go to 100% remote working overnight. Regardless of industry and size, organizations learned to operate virtually and on-demand. Companies needed to deliver goods and services to customers without a set brick-and-mortar footprint. We saw new tech hubs emerge in unlikely places because workers we no longer bound by needing to be based in specific cities. Newly-remote workers realized that they didn’t have to be tied to a physical office, and organizations focused on hiring new talent based on skill and not location. 

These are not insignificant achievements, and while this way of working was unfamiliar to those who were forced to adapt during the pandemic, to the open source world, it was just another day.

Every open source project is worked on remotely and has been since their inception. Just look at the Linux Foundation, which supports more than 2,300 projects. There were more than 28,000 active contributors to these projects in 2021, adding more than 29 million lines of code each week and with community participants coming from nearly every country around the globe. Most of these contributors will never meet face to face, but they are still able to drive the next generation of open technologies. 

Whether we realized it or not, our accomplishments during the pandemic brought us closer to the open source model, and this is why open source innovation is now driving much of the software world. Through this new way of working, we saw new revenue streams, found new ways to become more efficient, and discovered new ways to engage with our customers.

As we approach what, hopefully, is the tail end of an incredibly difficult few years, it’s time to accelerate. It’s time to take the lessons that we learned and applied as we transformed to digital-first and use them to improve our businesses, cultures and global communities. 

The term “new normal” is now used like it’s pre-determined and static. It isn’t. 

You get to define your new normal. What do you want your business to look like? How do you want to embrace the next generation of IT? How will you drive your technology strategies closer to innovation? 

The only way you get closer to this innovation and the only way you can use this innovation to keep pace with changing demands is by adopting open source developed technology. That’s what is going to get you to the new normal. Open source developed code is the foundation of the innovation that is driving the future of IT, not open core or proprietary software. The only way to create and adapt to these innovations is through open source developed technology. 

At its heart, the new normal for IT starts with open source. Open source software provides a channel that doesn’t limit your inspiration or aspirations. This has always been Red Hat’s model - open source practices, code and technologies are at the center of everything we do.

Eight years ago, which sounds like a lifetime in IT terms, admittedly, 90% of companies I talked to were going to a singular cloud provider. Whether because they were trying to get ahead of the curve or due to other pressures, many CIOs might have entered the cloud before they had a concrete plan in place. Now nearly a decade later, some of these same CIOs are finding out that their choices weren’t the best, either for their budget, workloads, or overall strategy.

The reality is, these organizations won’t get to choose hybrid cloud - it’s coming to them whether they’re ready or not. While the cloud brings much value to some applications, not every application needs, or should, be in a public cloud. Some applications may be better suited in one specific cloud, and some applications may be required to run on-premises while consuming services in the cloud model. That’s the beauty of hybrid cloud—a concept Red Hat adopted long ago.

Your applications, workloads and infrastructure should run and live wherever you need them. This could be the datacenter, the public cloud, multiple public clouds or at the edge, where compute resources need to be as close as possible to your data. The fifth cloud isn’t a datacenter - it’s a connector. It’s linking disparate cloud environments, devices and workloads established on common, open industry standards. That’s what Red Hat provides.

About the author

Paul Cormier is Chairman of Red Hat. He has been with the company since 2001 and previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure, he has driven much of the company’s open hybrid cloud strategy, playing an instrumental role in expanding Red Hat’s portfolio to a full, modern IT stack based on open source innovation.

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