As organizations accelerate their digital transformation efforts they are embracing new hybrid IT models that include a mix of traditional, private and public cloud technologies. Workload strategies in these new models must consider cost, availability, security and reliability, as well as compliance and regulatory requirements. Many enterprises have evolved from use of on-premises virtualization and private clouds to hybrid and, frequently, multicloud environments.

While management and automation technologies have always been instrumental to enterprise IT governance, their importance grows as organizations grapple with the resulting increased speed, scale and complexity. Traditional solutions have been unable to adapt to the needs of these rapidly changing hybrid cloud environments and many organizations plan to acquire new tools to address these challenges.

In addition to the open infrastructure and application platform technologies that Red Hat is making enterprise consumable, we are also focused on opening enterprise management and innovating in the areas of automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Simple, powerful management solutions for hybrid and multicloud environments
One of the main asks we’ve heard from our customers in recent years is that they want to deploy and run their applications on any infrastructure. Not just that, but they want to be able to have management solutions that work consistently across both on-premises data centers and across public clouds. To support this, our focus last year revolved around providing management solutions that are easier to use and yet enable the automation of enterprise solutions that are traditionally complex to govern at scale.

Red Hat’s management portfolio now includes Red Hat Satellite to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, Red Hat Insights to analyze and protect Red Hat IT environments, Red Hat CloudForms to operate bare metal, virtual and private cloud environments, and Red Hat Ansible Tower to automate IT infrastructure configuration and application deployments. With Red Hat’s management portfolio, IT teams are able to increase levels of automation, streamline operations, accelerate service delivery and improve security. This year, we plan to expand and enhance these management capabilities to add additional support for these diverse and rapidly evolving hybrid and multicloud environments.

Along with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta announced in November, we have been enhancing our management solutions to increase the performance, stability and security of Red Hat Enterprise Linux - working to make it the best managed and secured Linux available across private and public clouds.

In 2019, we also plan to make it easier to use our management solutions. Listening to our customers, we are expanding to include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery for many of our management tools to reduce the complexity and human error typical in on-premises implementations. Our SaaS management offerings will be designed to decrease the time to deliver innovation to our customers, allowing us to provide continuous improvements and enhancements. They will also integrate with our on premise offerings to provide a hybrid architecture which we see as ideal for many enterprises. We will also plan to continue providing on-premise management capabilities for those environments that require it.

I anticipate that this year will also help set the stage for advanced analytics integrated with automation. The more information and insight we can provide users about their systems will help better prepare enterprises for future IT investments as infrastructure becomes increasingly complex. In turn, this deeper visibility can be used to drive automation that becomes increasingly more powerful, adaptable and efficient over time.

Eliminating automation silos
You can’t talk about hybrid cloud management without discussing how it goes hand in hand with automation. Expanding on what we saw in 2018, we expect automation to remain a central component for the next level of digital transformation in 2019. To remain competitive, organizations must deliver services faster and more efficiently - resulting in rapid changes to infrastructure, development environments and even processes. And as the scale and complexity of IT operations swell, scalable, agile automation is key to keeping pace.

In 2018 we focused on helping enterprises expand their use of Red Hat Ansible Automation across their organization through supporting cross domain workflows and increasing support both directly and via partners. To help maximize the benefits of automation spread throughout an organization, we’ve seen our customers move to create automation "centers of excellence." These centers of excellence help to provide consistent automation across the enterprise, sharing common solutions and accepted strategies as automation is introduced into new areas of IT internally. We expect this to be a strategic focus and area of investment to help organizations make the most of their automation.

Additionally, we've seen demand for automation increase dramatically across areas from DevOps to Networking and Security domains. Red Hat Ansible Automation provides an accessible on ramp for IT Ops teams to implement a software driven, programmable approach to day to day configuration activities, without having to become full blown programmers. In 2019, we want to continue to help users increase the complexity of their automation and spread it to new areas in IT. Starting with the new workflow features introduced in Red Hat Ansible Tower 3.4, we’re creating solutions to help organizations build a community around a shared automation language, execute faster time to automation and help ensure operational consistency.

The adoption of Red Hat Ansible Automation in 2018 was truly remarkable and we continue to be impressed by how users have embraced the tool to scale automation within their organizations. As we begin to plan for this new year we are making some exciting investments across the management portfolio to not only provide customers more choice in the delivery of their solutions but also investing across the board in the health and well being of Red Hat platforms. We look forward to sharing more with you as the year progresses.

Joe Fitzgerald is vice president of management at Red Hat