Welcome to Red Hat Summit 2020 - our first virtual-only Summit. We are all facing unprecedented global events. From the COVID-19 pandemic and the grim situation facing healthcare systems to the worldwide economic struggles the disease is leaving in its wake, why would we even hold a technology conference, virtual or otherwise?
Because we want to help, and we think the best way to do that is by engaging these challenges as a global community. This means putting aside our differences as technology companies, as manufacturers, as government agencies and even as competitors for the common good.
Already, we’re seeing real, tangible good come from efforts to unite and work together, from car manufacturers retooling factories to produce 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days to the open sourcing of ventilator and face shield designs. These efforts are driving towards a greater purpose, built on a shared goal of helping one another - a shared trait all of these organizations have with open source.
Red Hat customers on the frontlines
Many of our customers, from healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies to manufacturers and telcos to logistics companies and grocery companies, are right in the middle of this crisis, providing critical goods and services. We are focused on supporting these customers, however we can, with our expertise and experience in delivering trusted IT.
We maintain a globally distributed team and a comprehensive business continuity program to help us remain up and running in the face of dynamic world events, whether it’s a regional natural disaster or a global pandemic. Our subscriptions provide a pathway for critical providers, like hospitals to scale the technologies that they need right now, while we’ve looked to near-term product life cycle changes and are addressing these to enable customer continuity.
We challenged ourselves to find more ways to help customers right now. Beyond the initiatives Paul previously announced, he announced several other ways Red Hat is trying to help yesterday. We’re making our Technical Account Manager program more accessible to new customer organizations that need to rely on our knowledge to bring new systems online and maintain existing operations, and we’ve also shifted our training courses to be virtually lead. We’ve ramped up our analytics services to help IT teams that may be short-staffed.
But this is about more than our customers; it’s about the global community.
In this together
First and foremost, Red Hat believes in community; this is true with our products, where we deliver all of our technologies to the upstream as open source code. And it’s true of our efforts right now during the global pandemic, as we support a broad set of efforts and projects outside of our customer deployments.
Working with IBM, universities and other technology experts, we’re supporting research into how best to use software to tackle both the pandemic and its aftermath. This includes dedicating engineering and consulting time to open source pandemic efforts like OpenEMR, which is intended to provide greater flexibility to help open medical records systems scale as demand increases, and COVID SafePath from MIT, which is designed to help with contact tracing of infections without impacting personal privacy.
For IT workers furloughed during these trying times, we are introducing a dedicated program with free virtual training to help them expand their skills. We’re also working with IBM to donate managed services and infrastructure to help host and run applications, like MIT SafePath and federal/state/local applications, that need to scale during these times of need.
You can read more about the new initiatives we announced yesterday and about other ways Red Hat is here to help.
Wherever you are, we’re a community
Our customers are all in different places right now - some need to scale and push critical services outward, which makes newer, cloud-native technologies key for these efforts, technologies like Red Hat OpenShift virtualization, Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift 4.4, the latest version of the leading enterprise Kubernetes platform.
OpenShift virtualization in particular is a disruptive technology that we’re excited to introduce today. We’ve seen technology vendors trying to pull Kubernetes backwards into legacy virtualization. That’s not an approach that customers tell us they want. Our customers want to be able to modernize virtualization and bring it into the future - Kubernetes. I knew we were onto something with OpenShift virtualization when we started to show it to some of our customers with the most demanding use cases. When they started telling us that they saw it as a game-changing approach that could help them keep innovating, I got even more excited about the potential.
For other customers, however, they just need to weather the storm by doubling down on the resources and IT assets that they already have. This could be building up the resiliency of existing datacenters or simply trying to extend IT manpower with automation at all levels of their deployments. For both of these scenarios, we believe that the power of the open hybrid cloud can provide the right infrastructure at the right time no matter the scenario an organization is facing. There’s a premium on agility right now and that’s what an open hybrid cloud strategy can deliver.
When we overcome these challenges, and we will, normal will look much different. But different isn’t bad - we have the opportunity to define what this different world will look like and make it better than the one we face today.
Thank you all for joining us at Red Hat Summit 2020, no matter who you are or where you are coming from. We’re all in this together, as one global community, and we at Red Hat look forward to doing our part.
About the author
Matt Hicks was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat in July 2022. In his previous role, he was Executive Vice President of Products and Technologies where he was responsible for product engineering for much of the company’s portfolio, including Red Hat® OpenShift® and Red Hat Enterprise Linux®. He is one of the founding members of the OpenShift team and has been at the forefront of cloud computing ever since.