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Paul Cormier On 6 Ways Partners Can Help Red Hat Dominate The Cloud

Ahead of the Red Hat Virtual Summit, CEO Paul Cormier talks about educating the midmarket on using multiple clouds and why Red Hat needs partners to reach new customers.

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Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier expects the cloud vendor’s virtual summit set for Tuesday and Wednesday will have plenty for the company’s channel partners to talk about.

Along with the company’s announced partnership with Boston University to advance open hybrid cloud research and operations at scale, the company will announce a complete Kubernetes stack with Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus and expanded Red Hat Insights, among other product news.

Cormier has spoken about the importance of channel partners helping Red Hat win the cloud market and grow use of hybrid and multi-cloud architectures.

“Even for a smaller company, they are going to traverse multiple clouds. There‘s no ifs, ands or buts about it,” Cormier told CRN. “Our channel partners will be our main vehicle to get to the midmarket.”

Laura Leonti, partner manager at Continental Resources, a Somerset, N.J.-based IBM Gold Business Partner and Red Hat Apex Partner, told CRN that she agrees that customers have sought more workloads in the cloud and that tools like Red Hat’s Ansible that help them work in multiple environments have been in high demand.

She said she likes Red Hat’s channel program, calling it “uncomplicated.” “The only feature I feel is missing is quarterly back-end rebates and accelerators for accrued revenue,” she told CRN.

But she’d like to see Red Hat invest in how to improve its offerings for customers wanting to use containers in on-premises environments. “Containers are a major area of growth right now and a lot of customers are starting to field test containerization solutions,” Leonti said. “We see many going to cloud platform services to do this. Those who are looking to do so on-prem, we have found difficult to sell on the prospect of OpenShift. The cost seems to be off-putting to those who are field-testing smaller deployments, and the cost model seems to be off-putting to those who are evaluating their options for high-powered compute deployments.”

It’s been about a year since Cormier took the CEO reins after joining the company in 2001 as executive vice president of engineering. And it’s been about two years since IBM completed its $34 billion acquisition of the Raleigh, N.C.-based company.

Red Hat continues to host a separate channel partner program and strategy than IBM, even though IBM CEO Arvind Krishna frequently touts Red Hat OpenShift as the cornerstone of IBM’s plans to dominate the cloud industry. So how will Red Hat’s partners help both tech companies meet that common goal? Here’s what you need to know.

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