The open source community is a truly remarkable testament to the willingness of people to contribute of themselves to a greater good. Red Hat continues to contribute to the development of many software projects in the community, as so do hundreds of other vendors, along with individual developers and other people and organizations.
Supporting the open source community means fostering innovation. People work together to solve problems and optimize performance. End users, customers, and businesses from a broad spectrum of industries get involved. Perhaps they have a thorny problem to fix. Their developers will find assistance in the community.
Picture yourself as an IT executive being asked to identify the best software for a mission-critical need in your company. You come back and report that you found this great open source software on a website that you can download for free.
You will be lucky if all that you are asked is, “Do you understand the meaning of mission-critical?”
It’s not that anyone minds getting something for nothing; it’s just that they expect that you get what you pay for. If they were thinking about it, they’d probably ask you where support, bug fixes, security patches, upgrades, and certifications were going to come from.
And that’s the question.
Imagine if major proprietary software companies gave you their software for free. You might ask how they stayed in business. But there is an answer.
Microsoft calls it “software assurance.” Citrix refers to “subscription advantage.” Just about every software company in the world provides a support package that assures their customers that they will always have access to the support they need to effectively execute and expand their use of the software purchased.
Red Hat’s model is similar. We provide the support corporations need to confidently use open source software. We help allay your executives’ fears about using software based on open source projects such as OpenStack and Ceph to build world-class private and public clouds and manage the storage of their incredibly high-value corporate data assets. And we have the proven track record of 20 years’ experience to earn their trust.
Upstream And Downstream
Here’s where the Red Hat value proposition surpasses other proprietary software giants. “Upstream” of Red Hat is the extensive community we described earlier, all working to make software perform better. Red Hat continues to contribute along with everyone else, often leading the contribution efforts.
“Downstream” is where the magic happens -- or value to the customer. At Red Hat, there is a deep and rigorous packaging process of the software that results in transformation from project to product. Here is where the software is hardened -- or essentially engineered, bug fixed, patched, reviewed, tested extensively in various load-bearing scenarios, and ultimately certified to successfully function in an enterprise production-level environment. This process is what allows Red Hat to stand behind our certified and global 24x7 support services, making open source software acceptable and viable for use by the largest corporations. In essence, we vend trust.
As part of this process of helping to evolve community projects, Red Hat regularly contributes the work it has done back to the open source community. This allows our customers to participate in a “circle of life” in which everyone lives from and contributes to a lifecycle of software innovation for the betterment of all. In this way, Red Hat customers’ priorities for features are well represented in the upstream, and other vendors and customers can leverage our advances today.
For companies that may be nimble enough to support their own software for internal use, the choice to obtain software from the community for free remains. Companies with extensive in-house support resources always have the option to access what they need from the community. They can get the bleeding-edge, latest-greatest features and functions instantly. For some, this is their preference when working in a non-production dev/test mode. But most enterprise businesses need the assurance that their data will remain available, intact, and that support is available at their disposal, especially when running in production.
Red Hat’s Role
With Red Hat, you get an IT provider that is 100% committed to open source. We have been a leading contributor for projects such as OpenStack and Ceph for a long time. As more of the world moves to build data centers with OpenStack as the core, Red Hat is the software infrastructure company that delivers a comprehensive support program for the OpenStack environment.Pete Pawelski is the Product Marketing Manager for Red Hat OpenStack platform. He has worked in the IT industry for 12 years and was previously the marketing team manager for Red Hat Training. He holds an M.B.A. in marketing management from North Carolina State University. View Full Bio