Robin: Today we are talking with Richard Morrell. Richard, what do you do for Red Hat?
Richard: So I am the cloud evangelist guy here over in Europe. There are two of us – Gordon Haff in the US based out of Westford in Boston, and I tackle really the rest of the world outside North America. So it is quite a big territory to cover, so I am the guy who gets on a plane, sits in airports, sits in taxis, goes out and talks to analysts, talks to the public and also has quite a popular podcast channel sitting on iTunes which gets a lot of listeners every week.
Robin: So I hear that Red Hat which is the Red Hat of Linux, you might say, now wants to become the Red Hat of cloud services, open stack and all that.
Richard: Okay. So Red Hat have a complete blended stack of service offerings which make up enterprise offerings which people consume today, RHEL, RHEV as storage piece as well, but all of these lend themselves very much to enterprises who are looking to stand up first initially private cloud but who are already may be consuming cloud services from Amazon and also from other players in the cloud space.
One of the things that we are very cognizant about is understanding the need to be able to bring maturity to cloud. One of those pieces that we are bringing to bear, CloudForms, we released yesterday version 3.0 at the Open Stack Developer Conference in Hong Kong, enables us to be able to say to customers, “Well you already used Red Hat Enterprise Linux, you are already used to getting that support and stable offering; we are also doing this in the cloud space, both in your private cloud with our certified cloud provider partners who are service providers who are standing up Red Hat clouds to move and transition those close to Cloud.
But also where a service provider may want to stand up an initiated Red Hat cloud to enable him or her to be able to offer proper auditable services, proper catalogue services right in cloud in a way that people would expect to be able to consume Red Hat just the same as they always have through the Red Hat network.
Robin: Okay, one question here. I am not sure you or your bosses want to hear it but here it is: Is there something like ____2:17 some way for those of us who don’t have the money to pay for Red Hat services, to get something equivalent? Or should we just go with Eucalyptus or whatever to begin with?
Richard: Martin has done a great job with the guys at Eucalyptus but I would argue that you guys would find it very hard to just consume something and keep having to deploy it manually or script or configure it manually, and also to keep it supported, keep it certified, and keep it stable. There is no problem at all with anyone standing up their own Linux environment, be it in Debian, be it in whatever operating system they want using Linux and to be able to keep those packages completely up to date on a small footprint basis – that’s entirely achievable.
But when you start thinking about how you start tying all of those pieces of cloud together across multiple cloud types across Amazon back into your public cloud or your private cloud or maybe thinking about building all your Windows clients on top of your hypervisor layer, it becomes a difficult equation. And Red Hat is trying to simplify that by having this supported offering.
Robin: If we can afford it, mind you.
Richard: It is a commercial offering. It is a commercial supported offering. We always have the upstream. We always have Fedora out there in the community which supports everything on top of the normal standard operating systems. And also we launched RDO which is our community upstream of open stack in April-May time when we were over at the Open Stack Developers Summit in Portland. You can find more information on openstack.redhat.com to enable you to deploy open stack using Packstack and those particular tools, so that you can do that easily but it is also supported in the forums rather than a commercial basis. So all the tools are built up from there.
Robin: Okay. But there is an open source alternative with open stack? Wasn’t open stack originally developed by some people in Texas perhaps Rackspace?
Richard: Rackspace and NASA and the guys who stood up the Open Stack Foundation, and we were platinum founder members of the Open Stack Foundation. I think a lot of analysts and some journalists have said, “Well Red Hat kept their powder dry and jumped on the horse at the last particular moment which couldn’t be further from the truth – we were always involved. It was a question of when did we want to show our cards. Being poker players that we are, when did we want to show our cards? If you look at the number of commits now in the open stack project, Red Hat is firmly up there both as a member of the Open Stack Foundation, and also bringing maturity, context maturity with TripleO with a lot of the projects that we are working on to bring into Open Stack.
Robin: Well, the Slashdot audience I would say as a rule kind of likes Red Hat, or at least dislikes Red Hat less than they dislike an awful lot of commercial software vendors.
Robin: How do you consider Red Hat as the guardian of the free software flame, obviously as your employer who pays you, they give you money every week or every month, right?
Richard: Okay. But let’s take a step back.
Richard: Twelve years ago, we worked together, we worked at VA Linux and VA software. That was where my paycheck came from, where my open source goodness came from, my experience started at Linuxcare, very very short period of time, quickly bounced out of that car crash into VA Linux. And I enjoyed my time tremendously working with people who are still in my life, and people who are still on the payroll of Red Hat.
And I think for me Red Hat is the mothership. And I use the term very loyally in the respect not just because it is my employer but it is the font of all maturity. I find in the open source space that it is always very very simple to be able to go and roll your own kernel. We’ve always had the freedom to be able to go and pull down a tarball of sources, we’ve always had the freedom to go and pull out, what if we wanted to go and get an RPM from RPMForge or from Suse or from wherever, we could go and do that.
And that freedom still remains in the open source community. Oh you want to go and roll your own from a tarbol source that’s cool; however with Red Hat, it is almost like you are invited to be part of the ultimate youth club. It is where, once you are immersed in there seriously, it becomes it is the mothership in no uncertain terms. And I treat it with a huge amount of respect even when I am having a shitty day if I look down at my @redhat.com email address, everything makes sense. But saying that, I’m still a card carrying fully paid up member of the Linux foundation, with my Linux.com email address.
Robin: I am person who whined them into having individual memberships.
Richard: I have never paid my lifetime membership. I still pay every single year purely because they need the money.
Robin: Well you are a good man. And I am glad. That’s a good point you make about Red Hat. So now we are going to have mature reliable open source cloud offerings, is that what you are saying? Because of Red Hat?
Richard: I am saying that we are trying to make an ecosystem of supportable, certifiable, easily consumable offerings, supported by partners, but also to be able to grow with the emerging technologies and also the emerging protocols and the standards in cloud. I also work a lot with the Cloud Security Alliance with Jim Reavis and the guys at the Cloud Security Alliance. About 18 months or 2 years ago, I started onboarding the CSA within Red Hat, and we made sure that we contributed both financially but also in time and effort to make sure that things like their control matrices are understood, things like the star controlled matrices which is the program that the CSA have now for validation and also for self-certification against security standards.
So if you think about it in cloud, there were no security standards, it was the Wild West, with RSA Intel and IBM going away into one corner trying to decide what was going on, then SAS 70 creeping up really as what was an accounting standard. The guys in PCI DSS and BASEL, etc., etc. putting standards together which really could only be tied to virtualization not to this elastic cloud dynamic model that was emerging in the Amazon space.
And now what we are trying to do is have this food chain, if you will, with the ability to have supported offerings and catalogues but also to be able to have the ability for customers to be able to use Red Hat certified offerings to manage Windows workloads and to manage VMware workloads and to manage those AWS instances, and to also understand the charge back in the billing and all the stuff that people don’t like talking about. It is like sausages. No one likes what’s going into them but everybody likes eating them.
Robin: Let me ask you one thing. Well, you are snowing us under with acronyms. CSA in some parts of the United States including Florida where I live is the Confederate States of America - we had a war about that, just like we had against the perfidious Brits. What is CSA in your use here?
Richard: The Cloud Security Alliance which was formed four years ago.
Robin: Ah! Okay.
Richard: So Jim Reavis who is the chair of the CSA, there is a great podcast with him in my back catalogues sitting there and talking to me about cloud security maybe what guys are going to listen to. It is definitely worth, people being involved, these are people who are standing up control matrices for every single business vertical. So if you are an insurance company, or you are a Medicare company, or you are a finance company and you are interested in standing up cloud that will be audit proof, or two steps ahead of any auditor, it enables you to think about the controls that you need to hard wire into every aspect of your cloud from authentication through storage, through provisioning and end of life.
Robin: Okay. I am going to ask you one question here.
Robin: I am probably going to go to the Suse extravaganza in a couple of weeks. Why? Because it is in Orlando. Which means it is about an hour and a half drive for me and you guys don’t have anything close. So if I go there, and I say Suse and Cloud, what are they going to say to me?
Richard: They are going to talk to you about all the cool stuff they’ve done with Suse Studio enabling you to have your own custom cloud images. They are going to talk to you as well about things like Spacewalk which they have been great contributors to within the Red Hat Spacewalk satellite community. And the guys at Suse are incredibly hardworking and very diligent when it comes to being part of the community.
And at the end of the day, we are all part of the Linux community. And we are all there supporting RPM based Linux distributions which Suse has. If you think about who the daddy of the RPM based platform, it’s Red Hat, it was [Eric and Donny], the guys who came up with the RPM standard, and Suse are quite welcome to build a distribution on the back of it with my blessing.