The future of the cloud lies in open source, keeping Red Hat at the center of cloud development, company executives said at the recently-concluded Red Hat Partner Conference.
And because public cloud development is tied so closely to open source, other cloud technology providers such as Microsoft and VMware will find it difficult to take advantage of cloud opportunities, said Paul Cormier, president of products and technologies at Red Hat.
The IT industry's embrace of open source and Linux have led to both being the foundation on which clouds are being built, Cormier said.
"The cloud today is now built on Linux and open source," Cormier said. "You wouldn't have the cloud today if Linux and open source had not been developed."
In fact, Cormier said, 80 percent of the industry's top public clouds are built on Linux. "Think about that," he said. "People just don't go out and build clouds on Windows. It doesn't work."
Cormier said businesses looking to move to the cloud have three options.
They can restart their IT infrastructure using a cloud, which he called a very expensive and impractical option. They can also build a cloud as a silo for a particular workload using proprietary technology from non-open competitors of Red Hat. Or, they can build an open hybrid cloud that takes advantage of a variety of open source technologies they may already be using, he said.
With open hybrid clouds, those businesses don't have to be stuck with a single cloud, Cormier said. "I see the day when you have one open cloud better for this application, one open cloud for that application," he said.
Red Hat, because of its years with enterprise-class Linux operating system development and its support of open source, is a key part of building open cloud infrastructures, Cormier said.
For instance, he said, Red Hat accounts for 11 percent to 12 percent of code contributions to open source software, making it the largest contributor to the open source movement.
And while that high level of contribution gives Red Hat a key role in building open source clouds, the fact remains that 88 percent to 89 percent of open source code comes from others in the IT industry, making collaboration and partnership key to successfully building open clouds, he said.
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