Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier: 5G Is ‘A New Foundation’ For Customer Opportunities

‘We’re in the golden age of data,’ Intel Executive Vice President and General Manager of Data Platforms Group Navin Shenoy told Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier during a virtual panel Tuesday.


5G is “a new foundation that’s going to create so many opportunities for our customers” that includes technologies such as cloud native architecture and edge computing, Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier said during a panel Tuesday with executives from Intel and Verizon as part of his company’s annual Red Hat Summit event.

Cormier was joined in a prerecorded video by Intel Executive Vice President and General Manager of Data Platforms Group Navin Shenoy and Verizon Vice President of Technology Strategy and Network Cloud Srini Kalapala to talk about the three companies’ partnerships and the rush to digitization they’ve seen from customers during the pandemic.

“5G isn’t just changing everything,” said Cormier (pictured above). “It’s a new foundation that’s going to create so many opportunities for our customers.”

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The executives also discussed the increase in demand from customers for edge computing and cloud native architecture. The panel was published online as part of Red Hat’s virtual summit this week. Red Hat hosted the first part of the summit in April. The current, second part of the summit goes from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Intel’s Shenoy said that more than 50 percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years, hence a rush to digitization even amid a global pandemic.

“Only a small fraction of that data has been harnessed, analyzed and made valuable in any way,” Shenoy told Cormier. “The pandemic pushed businesses to virtual settings like we have here. It pushed consumers to engage more with online services for entertainment, communication. In many ways, I think we‘re in the golden age of data.”

And Verizon’s Kalapala told Cormier that customers seek more flexibility and speed in network services, which requires cloud native network functions and the type of scalable containerized infrastructure Verizon gets through Red Hat’s OpenShift platform.

Verizon now has to deliver 5G edge capabilities at every point of the network, from cell sites to large-scale data centers, he said.

“We see cloud and networks converging. We see developers asking for and consuming different network and cloud capabilities, depending on the use case,” Kalapala said.

Arvind Krishna, CEO of Red Hat owner IBM, frequently touts OpenShift as an example of IBM’s recent investment in growing in the markets for cloud and hybrid cloud.

Jiani Zhang, president of the alliance and industrial business unit at Persistent Systems — a Red Hat partner with offices in Massachusetts, California, Ohio, India, Europe and other locations — told CRN that the opportunity to use Red Hat’s OpenShift platform for applications necessary to business operations applies to the company’s channel partner ecosystem and not just large-sized vendor partners like Intel.

For example, Persistent is currently involved in the overhaul of a decades-old reservation and ticketing system at a leading travel and transportation company to manage the workload across multiple cloud platforms, Zhang said. Persistent is also involved with another firm in modernizing its oil field operations systems with OpenShift.

The demand for OpenShift is so great that last year Persistent and Red Hat launched a “Center of Excellence” to accelerate application modernization for customers through training programs.

“The nature of application modernization is changing,” she said. “We once worked primarily with organizations only interested in modernizing niche workloads. Now we are seeing organizations leverage Red Hat OpenShift to bring flexibility to large, highly complex mission-critical workloads.”

During the panel Tuesday, Intel’s Shenoy told Cormier that Intel has invested in research and development for 5G, supporting open source projects like Kubernetes and finding turnkey solutions for networking to help customers transform their infrastructure.

Partnerships are the key to meeting the demand rush, Shenoy said.

“We know addressing those concerns requires a strong group of partners that have the knowhow and the resources to deliver solutions across the entire software ecosystem — from the ISVs to operating systems to drivers to firmware, whether it‘s in the cloud at the edge or on-prem,” he said. “We know transforming the network will take all of us, will take a village.”