"We are looking to bet our -aaS on an open vendor" half-joked a customer over a drink in New York City after a half day of acronym-packed business meetings. Phraseology aside, the customer was referring to, as she explained further with New Yorker flourish, the topic uppermost in the minds of CIOs and IT organizations across the globe: how to get to an IT- / Infrastructure- / Platform-as-a-Service (-aaS)!

Looking across the Red Hat OpenStack Early Adopter program and thinking about customer meetings I’ve had in the last six months, I see some common themes emerging around virtualization and private cloud plans and adoption:
1. IT shops are still hampered by the oft-cited 80% of the budget spend on maintenance versus innovation and enhancements;
2. There is an overwhelming need to invest in systems of engagement versus systems of record
3. Recognition that an elastic cloud built and run on-premises is part of the roadmap, driven either by vertical or geo-specific security, privacy, and compliance needs.

Let me take a crack at adding a bit more color to these observations and a view of what Red Hat has to offer to address these needs, starting with #1 above. I’ll dive into #2 and #3 in future blog posts.

Customers are unequivocal in saying that the benefits of "virtual first" policy have been well-understood and implemented successfully. Our top customers are also telling us that they are adopting a multi-hypervisor strategy to save costs. This is validated by IDC's "IT Buyer Market Guide: Cloud and Virtualization System Software" (1), published this month, which calls out that 25.1% of customers are looking to use a combination of virtualization products.

The cost savings that can come as a result of a multi-hypervisor strategy are not just related to licensing but also based on an IT organization’s ability to leverage existing employee skill sets. So, taking a pivot based on the workload as well as the OS being virtualized has become a rational choice for organizations to consider to optimize their solution implementations and also to leverage and enhance their in-house skill set.

Today, more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies use Red Hat products and solutions, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, with more than 50% of the world’s trading volume powered by Red Hat. Given the positive experience with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, many of our customers have found that virtualizing Red Hat Enterprise Linux instances with KVM and using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as the management solution has proven to be effective. For example, Cigna needed to improve its IT provisioning processes in order to keep up with the innovations of its developers. They created a new team to experiment with building an IaaS self-service provisioning capability. Deploying Red Hat offerings including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Cigna’s initial proof of concept was so successful that it spread throughout the IT organization. Today, Cigna’s development and infrastructure teams are aligned and able to speed business applications to customers while carving out costs from the provisioning process to boost Cigna’s bottom line.

To make it easier for our customers to get the benefit of the powerful combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, we have announced a Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Promotional Offering. In addition to the cost savings organizations can experience by leveraging their existing investments and skill set in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, they can also benefit from the industry's fastest performing hypervisor in KVM (2), and more importantly, help build on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux foundation to get an open hybrid cloud. The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Promotional Offeringoffers better value over three years, giving organizations the opportunity to save nearly 50% in license and maintenance costs as compared to the cost of running Red Hat Enterprise Linux on VMware’s vSphere Enterprise offering, as shown below.


Net-net, the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualiaztion with this promo, offers organizations an opportunity to reduce the spend on 'maintaining' so that they can free up budget to accelerate their journey to the cloud. More on #2 and #3 in the next edition…

PS:  If you happen to be attending VMWorld 2013 in San Francisco this week, please do stop by at booth #522. We'd love to have a conversation with you about Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure offerings to help address your virtualization and private cloud / IaaS needs.

(1) Source: IDC, IT Buyer Market Guide: Cloud and Virtualization Systems, August 2013, #242218.
(2) SPEC®, SPECvirt™, and SPECvirt_sc® are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC). Competitive numbers shown reflect results published on www.spec.org as of July 18, 2013. For the latest SPECvirt_sc2010 results visit www.spec.org/osg/virt_sc2010.

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