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We are living, and working, through a time of great uncertainty. At a time like this, I’ve found it helpful to remember our values and what's important. What's important to Red Hat is our commitment to our people, our customers and our communities. It goes without saying that wellbeing is priority number one, and we continue to take measures to prioritize the health and well-being of both Red Hat associates and the communities where we live and work.

As we embrace new ways of working, we can look to the open source way of doing business, where the best ideas can come from anywhere, and where transparency and collaboration are vital, and showing up ready to help is a key component to success for each contributor and the community as a whole. We're here, as always, to help. 

We are focusing our efforts on helping our associates, our customers and our communities thrive today, tomorrow, and in the weeks to come. Whether that's continuing your business in a changing world, adapting to a virtual-first footing, or helping us all learn new things and stay inspired - all while maintaining some semblance of work/life balance. 

We have some ideas, and would love to hear yours. In the spirit of ‘release early, release often,’ here are some of the things we're doing, with more to share in the weeks to come. 

First, the table stakes

Red Hat has always had a globally distributed team, but we’ve used this situation to shore up our business continuity work to make sure that customers can count on us through this crisis. You can read about our approach to business continuity here.

Some of our customers have needed support from Red Hat in different ways than they have before. No matter your organization’s circumstances, know that Red Hat is focused on supporting you and helping where we can.

We have shifted many of our training classes to be virtually-led. Where that’s not possible, we’ve increased flexibility for cancelling or rescheduling previously scheduled classes or exams. We have extended timelines for using Red Hat Training Units and extended the exam window by three months. Similarly, we believe the last thing any Red Hat Certified Professional should be concerned with right now is an expiring certification, so we’ve also extended the expiration dates for all certifications set to expire between March 17th and September 30th. Learn about all of these Red Hat Training and Certification updates here.

Expanding access to automation

This crisis has required many organizations to scale up capacity and make changes to accommodate remote workers and other surges in demand that are almost unprecedented. We’ve heard from customers across industries who have told us that automation has been a lifesaver for IT teams already stretched to their limits. 

By offering free 60-day trials of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform that can automate up to 100 nodes, we hope to help even more organizations to automate what they can so that they can keep their focus on the biggest priorities. The free 60-day trials include access to everything included with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. Get started with a 60-day free trial of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform here.

We will also be hosting an Ansible Ask the Expert series to help users get started with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, or to answer specific questions related to their automation efforts. The webinars will be hosted Tuesdays at 9 a.m. ET and Thursdays at 1 p.m. ET for the next four weeks, starting April 14. Join us and let us help you get started.

Sharing tools you can use to enable continued productivity 

The Red Hat Developer program offers Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces, a collaborative Kubernetes-native development solution for rapid cloud application development, which may be useful for developers working from home away from their usual development environments. CodeReady Workspaces are immediately available as a free download. As always we offer learning guides and interactive training courses as well. 

You may already be familiar with OptaPlanner, a Red Hat-sponsored open source project for constraint solving with AI. It can be used to optimize planning and scheduling issues like vehicle routing, conference scheduling, and (most importantly) employee rostering. Some of our OptaPlanner contributors are currently working on a branch of the staff rostering template that will add constraints to the template that are COVID-19 specific.

In addition to normal constraints like "day off requests," and "skill requirements," the team is adding things like "covid risk type" and restricting workers to covering COVID-19 patients or patients outside COVID-19 care to decrease risk.

Introducing The Resiliency Challenge in collaboration with Boston University

Red Hat and Boston University are sponsoring The Resiliency Challenge, a nine-week virtual hackathon for students to envision, design, develop and deliver solutions to help cope with the challenges posed by COVID-19. Projects will align with the virtual university (to facilitate online learning) or to help vulnerable communities during the crisis. 

The Resiliency Challenge is seeking participants for the hackathon teams, as well as mentors and judges. See the site for more information and to sign up.

Sharing best practices and what’s working for us

Our first order of business was to enable as many of our teams to work from home. For many Red Hatters this was nothing new. We have a long history of this kind of collaboration, with teams around the world who work with their colleagues inside and outside Red Hat using tools that were built for online and asynchronous collaboration. Our culture has also been built in this distributed, collaborative model. To many customers, working from home and enabling culture to persist across geographically distributed teams is new. In that spirit, we’re working to share some of the best practices we’ve learned. 

Best Practices for Virtual Business

Like others, we've extended our work-from-home practices and tools to almost everyone. Red Hat’s engineering and IT teams have joined forces to ensure our associates are well connected and are able to work together virtually from their homes.

This includes adding capacity for our VPN and single-sign on (SSO) infrastructure, to cope with the sudden additional load in users signing on from home. It includes adapting our delivery for new hire equipment, so new hires can get started right away. 

For the most part, the tools we need to work virtually have been in place for years. Our pressing needs were to prepare for a quick scale-up in remote users, and to help smooth the transition for working remotely for our associates who were unused to working virtually.

Ahead of the Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience on April 28 and 29, we will host a webinar on business continuity that will go into greater detail about how Red Hat's culture, our processes and technology have helped to smooth this transition.

Best Practices for Remote Leadership

As we support one another, we’ve also worked to stay true to the Red Hat culture and way of working together. 

A remote workforce requires a different communication style and more engaged leadership. It's almost impossible to over-communicate. Leaders at Red Hat have stepped up to create virtual office hours and additional (but remote) face time with their teams--not just to convey the latest information and updates about plans, but to check in with their teams and listen to their concerns or just keep our bonds strong.

In the coming weeks, we'll share best practices about what we've learned as an open organization in hopes that it may help other companies and organizations faced with the same problems.

Learning and Networking at the Summit

Our in-person Summit has been redesigned to be a virtual experience. It’s free, and more open than ever. It’s a unique opportunity to have your entire team join to learn more about everything from optimizing your infrastructure to automation in a hybrid cloud environment.

We’ll host partners such as Microsoft and Intel during sessions and customers such as Verizon, Credit Suisse and Ford will also join us to talk about how the technology strategies set in place today are paving a new path of innovation. We hope you can join us.

We'll get through this, together

Red Hat's business is founded on the power of community and collaboration. We succeed when we help our communities and our customers accomplish their goals. We've helped organizations navigate uncharted waters of technological change for decades. It's fair to say that we haven't faced change of this magnitude or velocity before, but we can get through it together. We're here to help.

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.

Cormier joined Red Hat as Executive Vice President of Engineering, eventually moving into the leadership role of President of Products and Technologies. He helped to pioneer a commercial business model for open source software, moving open source innovation from passionate communities to broad adoption from the datacenter to the cloud. He is credited with leading efforts to introduce an enterprise subscription model, leading to the development of Red Hat Enterprise Linux®.

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