Red Hat Forum 2012 (Brisbane, Australia) – Summary Part 2

This is the second and final part of our Red Hat Forum 2012 summary, which was held in the city of Brisbane QLD, Australia. I attended the conference and represented The topic was “Build Your Own Open Hybrid Cloud Today!”.

The third presentation was held by Red Hat Solution Architect, Stefano Picozzi, “JBoss Enterprise Middleware”. Stefano started by describing that Middleware is everywhere and
many people may not even realize it. And that Middleware is not one thing, but can be many things. An interesting opening statement, I thought, and definitely had me wanting to know more about Middleware.

Middleware to Red Hat is described as ‘software glue’. And it’s the important piece that consolidates all existing Red Hat services and turns it into something useful to suit the clients’ needs and requirements. Stefano continued to describe how JBoss Middleware is being implemented. Stefano Picozzi made a particular point of ensuring the audience that since Red Hat’s acquisition of JBoss in 2006, Red Hat is “Full steam ahead” with development of the technology.

Stefano presented the audience with details of how the Data Virtualization Layer is used to reduce disruptions and breakages and allow updates and changes to the Middleware system. But one topic that Stefano went in to detail about was Enterprise Messaging. Current proprietary implementations make things difficult when Red Hat arrive on the scene to implement their technologies and systems. He specifically pointed the finger at Oracle and criticized the vendor lock-in trap as a whole. As a result, Red Hat has been forced to work around the need for this proprietary service and implement an open standards base, Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP), with no compromise on performance or features.

Stefano Picozzi took the opportunity to present to us “The JBoss Way”, an initiative for developers to get involved and help improve JBoss, through the JBoss Development Studio. He then quickly moved on to describe “OpenShift”. OpenShift is a pretty simple concept which can be understood by almost anyone. Build your application, coded in a selection of programming languages and deploy your application to the cloud within minutes. It all sounds very simple. And that’s because it is. Steffano was quick to point out that the best feature of OpenShift lies within its ‘No Lock-in’ open technology which allows the developer to take their work with them, wherever they go.

Stefano Picozzi moved into the final phase of his presentation and made an interesting comparison. He compared the traditional method of software distribution to that of a cloud based method. One thing is for certain, the differences are stark indeed. And we have definitely moved on from an old fashioned delivery method of having big boxes of unused software sitting on the shelves in our computer retail stores. Cloud based options have really made delivery not only faster and easier, but also so much more financially viable for business.

The final presentation of the day was held by Red Hat Platform Solution Architect, Andrew Hatfield. Software and storage solutions, was the topic for Andrew’s speech, “Red Hat Storage”. “Personally, I hate the term cloud computing.”, introduced Andrew. He explained that the term has no standard definition and that it was a loose term that has a very broad scope of meaning. Andrew used the interesting term of ‘Virtualization Diversification’. Personally, I think that term is just as broad as ‘Cloud Computing’. But I accept Andrew’s point. He began by talking about Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV). And in particular, the benefits of the upcoming version 3.x over the current version 2 implementation.

Many recommendations, improvements and contributions to development have been included in RHEV 3.x. Red Hat has collaborated with its clients including IBM, Intel and Cisco. Major steps have been taken on improving and maintaining backward compatibility with proprietary technology but have removed all forms of proprietary code from the entire source code base. .NET code has all been removed and replaced with open-source equivalent code. Red Hat also has the Web UI which is used for the Administration side of things. So there’s no longer the need for command-line driven administration tasks. But of course, that is all still there for those who want to stick to that route. Interestingly, Andrew Hatfield touted the Web UI as the way ahead for Systems Administrators. And he went as far as to say that the traditional command-line administering of such high-end enterprise systems was no longer relevant and the Web UI was the way forward. I thought this was quite a revealing statement from such a company as Red Hat. Or perhaps that’s just my inner geek, preferring to use the command-line for just about everything possible. However you look at his statement, I thought it was quite brash. But Andrew did reiterate that the command-line options will always remain available. A rather interesting comment nevertheless.

“Red Hat Storage is all about overcoming the global storage problem.”, states Andrew. One of the big problems of data center storage and migrations of such large amounts of data is the problem of different hardware infrastructure, setups and software. All of which can pose great issues for the Systems Administrators performing such tasks. Red Hat Storage solves a great deal of issues by stripping the unnecessary metadata. And by doing this, it also increases the compatibility of access to the data.

Andrew Hatfield wrapped up his time with ensuring the audience that Red Hat Storage is dedicated to ensuring data accessibility remains as flexible as possible. Whether the data sits on a private cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud, linking all data via the Red Hat Storage Web UI is crucial. Incidentally, the Red Hat Storage Web UI is built around the same base as the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Web UI. Essentially, as long as you have access to that data, you can perform a migration without the assistance or requirement of any proprietary technology.


Closing Notes

The Red Hat Forum 2012 was an interesting conference to attend. I gained a new found respect for Red Hat as a company. And their support and interest in open-source software is second-to-none and more so than any other software and technology based company in the world. Red Hat is dedicated to not only serving the needs of their clients, but also being a leader and important driver for innovation in the open-source sector. And they never seem to forget the community of developers sitting outside the fence, people like you and I. And I can’t wait for the next Red Hat event I’m either invited to or get the chance to attend and represent