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What a year 2015 has been. And, as we begin to turn the page to 2016, I’m excited and energized by the opportunities that our Red Hat community has ahead of us.

Technology innovation continues at a blurring pace, and this innovation has resulted in ubiquitous computing that spans practically every aspect of our lives. I've seen reports that anticipate 26 billion connected devices by 2020. These devices, combined with cloud-based services, present amazing opportunities for organizations around the world, and I'm proud of the role Red Hat is playing to help customers embrace this digital transformation the open source way.

Our customers are using Red Hat solutions to accelerate their businesses and power infrastructure and applications across the datacenter's four footprints – bare metal, virtual machines, private and public clouds. And we are increasingly seeing these footprints as complementary parts of a holistic IT infrastructure. As the datacenter comes together in this way, more customers want to use, secure, and manage the four footprints as one. They want a secure, consistent application performance across the datacenter and the cloud. Developers want to build applications once and move them from one footprint to another. They want the flexibility to use the technologies of their choice. And, they want to manage all of this cohesively. Open source and Red Hat can enable this.

The explosion of interest in containers - lightweight virtual environments that enable applications to run anywhere and everywhere - has been thrilling to watch this year. Almost every conversation I have with CIOs and senior technologists now touches on their desire to embrace containers in their organizations. Each of them wants to find ways to make it easier to manage and deploy their enterprise-wide applications while also reducing their infrastructure costs. You've seen a significant focus from Red Hat in this area – we're among the top contributors to both the upstream Docker and Kubernetes communities, and we're enabling enterprise adoption of containers with both Red Hat Atomic Enterprise Platform and OpenShift.

Our hyper-connected reality necessitates that more enterprises learn from their consumer-facing peers by moving to a mobile-first strategy. It’s all about the app and CIOs are beginning to understand this reality. And with solutions like Red Hat Mobile Application Platform, OpenShift, and OpenStack, enterprises can now let their apps run free across the organization.

As more enterprises begin to set their apps free and enable them to run anywhere, I expect that they’ll also want more cloud deployment options. Some people make the mistake of seeing this as a battle between public and private cloud. But I see these as complementary options; they are symbiotic. Cloud is not an “either or.” It's both. I believe that the best strategy involves maintaining flexibility. The goal should be to build applications that can run on multiple clouds and in on-premise datacenters. If anything, we are watching how quickly the cutting-edge era of the cloud is replacing the legacy approach to software that has become more expensive and brittle over time.

Advancements in public and private cloud solutions present a significant opportunity for customers, and we're seeing increased enterprise adoption follow. Production OpenStack deployments are gaining momentum, and I believe that OpenStack has established itself as the private cloud platform of choice. Our strategy, of course, is to pursue innovations that introduce true choice and flexibility for the hybrid cloud. This was a key driver behind Red Hat's exciting new partnership with Microsoft. The public cloud represents an exciting element of Red Hat's business, and I applaud our team’s continued hard work in supporting our business in this area.

Security, while not a new priority, rightfully remains a top focus for enterprises. But security is more than a suite of products. It's not something that can simply be bought. It's about process. It's about culture. It's about having a mindset that places a priority around consuming inherently secure technologies throughout the stack. Red Hat is focused on securing each component of our infrastructure solutions – especially as they roll out mission-critical applications at scale in the cloud.

Security is complex and ever-changing as we implement new technologies like containers. This is why we will continue to collectively obsess about it, with the goal of driving changes to develop more secure infrastructures.

Recently, we've been quite vocal about container security in particular. We see significant advantages of containers, but, what's inside the container matters. Containers need to come from a trusted source, they need to be maintained throughout their lifecycle, and they need to be certified. Enabling trusted Linux containers with robust security features is at the heart of many of our recent efforts – from the introduction of Red Hat Atomic Enterprise Platform and OpenShift Enterprise 3 to industry-first partnerships in this area and the development of new approaches to container security. We plan to continue our efforts to make it easy for enterprise organizations to securely adopt containers.

As we think about 2016 and beyond, it’s critical to recognize that we are building tomorrow’s IT legacy today. The next generation of technologists will inherit the decisions we make now just like we are dealing now with the legacy decisions made by the generation before us. Taking short-cuts and making decisions that get you up and running today – especially if it promises to save you some money – may be tempting. But, it needs to be a balance. You don’t want to be locked into technology you can’t escape – many enterprises are now confronting this pain from decisions made many years ago.

What we are building today is the technology that is likely to be around for a long time. Ask yourself how much flexibility, portability, and choice your technology decisions will give you in the future. Open source and open APIs give you the broadest range of options moving forward as you migrate more of your enterprise’s applications to the cloud. Red Hat believes that open source not only offers faster innovation, but the freedom and flexibility to help organizations escape legacy decisions tied to single vendors.

The opportunity before all of us is tremendous, and I'm eager to see what advancements enabled by digital transformation lie ahead of us in 2016. I remain thankful for our community of customers, partners, open source contributors, and Red Hat associates. Thank you for all your collaboration, hard work, and for pushing us to continue to deliver the best of open source to the enterprise. Here's to a great year ahead!

About the authors

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies.

Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize on our industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Award-winning support, training, and consulting services make Red Hat a trusted adviser to the Fortune 500. As a strategic partner to cloud providers, system integrators, application vendors, customers, and open source communities, Red Hat can help organizations prepare for the digital future.

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