Over the past month, folks from Red Hat have set up camp in Tech Hill Commons, hosted April’s NashCocktail, and had a chance to meet with folks at the tech hub. Next month, Red Hat is hosting an #NTCTechTalk on “Evolving to Linux Containers” featuring Red Hat Chief Architect Michael Solberg – (register here for May 18). We’re excited that Red Hat now has a local Nashville presence and invited Nate Vaughn, Nashville’s Enterprise Account Executive to tell us more.
What is RedHat and what services / products does it offer?
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source, enterprise IT products and services. We work with customers, partners, academic and open source communities to foster collaboration and deliver innovative technologies. We deliver technologies to our customers in two distinct ways. One way is through the commercial products we offer along with support, consulting, security, predictability and QOS that enterprises demand. But we also deliver this technology a second way by sponsoring freely available open source projects.
What is Red Hat’s mission?
Red Hat’s mission statement was written collaboratively with input from our peers. It defines us and everything we strive to do. Our mission statement is “To be the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners creating better technology the open source way.”
What does open source mean to Red Hat?
Open source generally refers to something that can be modified because its design is publicly accessible. It describes a collaborative approach to developing new technology and constantly improving it by sharing, learning, refining and building on the work of others. For my customers open source is a collaborative way to create and constantly improve software. For Red Hat it’s also a development and business model. As open source expands beyond software and technology it’s being used to to describe a means for many people to collaborate on a large scale to solve shared problems. Open source is the ethos that guides us. It made us what we are today and will no doubt define our future.
What types of solutions does Red Hat offer its customers?
Red Hat solutions cover six primary technology areas that include Cloud, Middleware, Operating System, Virtualization, Storage and Mobile. We provide training, as well as installation and deployment services for our commercially supported solutions. While we are in pretty much every vertical, I find my team focusing mainly on Healthcare and emerging technologies in Nashville.
What’s your role at RedHat in the Nashville area?
I am an Enterprise Account Executive covering the Nashville area. As a Enterprise Account Executive I am the QB of the team. I am responsible for all things Red Hat to include products, services, partners and even the relationship as a whole. But note I said QB. You see I am able to enjoy success in this role mainly because I have a all star customer focused team supporting me. I’m joined by my peers David Hyde and Tish Grant. Collectively, my team and I work to help customers navigate their digital transformation journey. We help them innovate so they are not disrupted. While it’s true that every organization’s journey is unique. At Red Hat we have distilled certain best practices and made them part of our core.
For example we’ve found enterprises many times need more of a evolution not a revolution. Red Hat recognizes this and provides solutions for both your current legacy workloads (Maybe J2EE related) as well as emerging microservices architectures that multiplies your benefits. Our solutions allow you to optimize your existing infrastructure and also build out your next generation architecture.
What’s with the Red Fedora hats?
Red Hats have historically been symbols of emancipation, liberty and freedom. Freed Roman Slaves wore them. The red bonnet symbolized liberty during the French Revolution. Soldiers in the the American Revolution also wore red knitted caps and even to this day red we see red being used as a symbol in flags and seals of many states and nations. For us it represents a freedom of a different sort. It represents freedom to connect, form communities and share code.
What are the benefits of open source?
Red Hat’s early CEO Bob Young used a great analogy to explain the benefits of Red Hat and open source in the article “Open source is here to stay” for ZDNET. I won’t try and explain the whole thing now but I encourage you and your readers to review it. Bob used a great analogy that illustrates the benefits with the way we buy cars. It’s a really great article that I’m sure you will enjoy.
Just think about it, you wouldn’t buy a car with its hood welded close.
Transparency and openness are pillars of RedHat’s business. How do those tenets translate as selling points to users of RedHat’s services?
At Red Hat open source is part of our DNA. Literally, we are open through and through. Sometime we go so far as to purchase closed and proprietary solutions only to open source them. Sometimes this can be huge undertaking. An example of this can be found in the best selling book “The Open Organization” written by my good friend Jim Whitehurst our company’s CEO. Jim shares the history of Red Hat acquiring Qumranet and it’s proprietary solutions. Once Red Hat acquired Qumranet we started a journey to release the technology to the community as open source. This is a tradition that we have continued to do for all of our technologies. We truly believe Sharing is Caring!
RedHat has a focus on DevOps. What is it doing to grow that community in Middle Tennessee?
As you probably know the DevOps movement is centered on delivering increased business value by reducing time to market. Reduce your time to market and you’ve got a one up on competition. At Red Hat we believe that this can be achieved through a combination of cultural changes, automation and open source tooling.
My team offers solutions to help mentor customers on all facets of DevOps. Within the community we support open source projects that help achieve this goal as well. Two examples (Ansible and OpenShift) come to mind.
Ansible = AUTOMATION FOR EVERYONE. Ansible is by far the simplest way to automate apps and IT infrastructure, application deployments, configuration management and continuous delivery. Unlike other tools Ansible is agent-less. So even network operators looking to orchestrate configuration management on switches and router devices are consuming it. It’s operating system agnostic so we find our customers Microsoft Windows engineers using it and extending it.
OpenShift is our opinionated Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution designed by Red Hat and the open source community. It’s based on top of Docker containers and Kubernetes container cluster manager for enterprise application development and deployment.
On another front I’m also personally involved in the Nashville DevOps community as the social media manager for the NashDevOps user group.
What are the opportunities you’ve seen elsewhere that you’d like to see more of in Nashville?
As you know I recently relocated to Nashville from the Atlanta area. In most cases I’ve found that both cities share passion for the same innovative technologies. I do fear that Nashville and Middle Tennessee in general is experiencing a shortage of experienced emerging tech practitioners. As a local customer told me the the talent pool is pretty shallow around emerging tech. That’s a giant opportunity for the Nashville community and Red Hat would like to help build a community that helps practitioners learn and consume the latest technologies. This will help the community grow and support the enterprises within it.
What are you most excited about in Nashville?
When my family and I were considering relocating our research suggested Nashville to be a great place to raise a family. It’s a great city with a diverse restaurant scene and good vibes. However, what really moved us was the amazing outdoor activities available so close. Whether it’s fishing, hunting or trapping, biking or flying a kite Nashville has turned out to be a wonderful place to do it with friends and family.
So far I have found Nashville to be a diverse, inclusive city that has a lot going for it. I have had the honor of working with the NTC, WiTT, HIMMS and the Nashville Health Care Council so far. I look forward to working with my amazing customer teams in the area and also continue to look for great projects and groups to sponsor and support.