Development without using open source - is a very bad idea

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Development of applications for the digital world without using open source - is a very bad idea
By Avi Weiss, Telecom News, September 10, 2015Werner Knoblich
Open source is the engine of innovation in the IT world. Compared to a number of years ago, the use of open source for critical applications is much more accepted and there are endless examples of critical open source applications in any number of markets, such as the the public sector and the Israeli entrepreneurial world.
"Open source today is synonymous with stability, speed, agility, innovation, success and high levels of security. We live in a world which changes constantly, and those who not keep up the pace are in danger of getting left behind," says Werner Knoblich, SVP & General Manager, EMEA at Red Hat. "The development of applications and services for the digital world without the use of open source is a very bad idea. It is just impossible. Open source technology is a key driver of business success and technological innovation".

I had an exclusive interview with Werner Knoblich (in the photo) and Dan Toledano, Country Manager for Israel, Greece and Cyprus at Red Hat, to discuss the permeation of open source everywhere, in every market.

Q: What makes Red Hat unique?
Werner Knoblich: "If you look at our performance, we closed 53 consecutive quarters of sales growth despite fluctuations in the economy in recent years. This increase is at the global level as well in EMEA, the territory for which I am responsible.

It is not a matter of luck or coincidence. 53 consecutive quarters of growth show we are doing something right; that our customers trust us and maintain close relationships with us, which in turn leads to increased purchasing.
We have been known historically as a pure Linux player. However, open source does not stop at Linux. Software developers around the world have begun to develop everything in open source. The products sold by developers are payed for. However, the development tools and infrastructure for building the applications are open source, which costs the developers nothing.

Therefore, we invest in providing platforms  for developers that offer 'peace of mind', safe in the knowledge that they are mature, stable and safe systems.

The success of Linux is duplicated today in the worlds of middleware, virtualization, cloud and mobile. To become market leaders we have acquired a number of companies that will complement our capabilities, including Qumranet a start-up based in Israel.

Today, Red Hat is also a market leader in building cloud platforms, especially for enterprises. We invest a lot in cloud technologies and complementary areas, such as storage.

Q .: What is the secret of this success?
A .: "We run the same business model which we started with for Linux. It is a successful model and that is what our customers want.

The reasons for this:
A. Almost all products are now developed on an open source basis.
B. Everything is based on international and local standards.
C. We do not lock customers into our technology. Customers have the freedom of choice.

That is what customers want and that is what they get from us. We do not sell licenses, we use a subscription model. With a subscription, customers enjoy a high-value relationship with Red Hat that goes beyond a typical customer-vendor agreement.
We have to prove ourselves all the time; that our service is worth the money. The fact that customers choose us over and over again, is the engine of our growth".

Q .: Why open source?
A .: "In the past, open source was synonymous with the development of products and services that were cheaper but not as good as expensive, proprietary products. This is not the case today. Now open source products are better, even though they are cheaper than proprietary solutions.

The reason is clear; innovation is at the heart of the open source community. Today, all major vendors develop in open source, even IBM and Microsoft.  Big-data and IoT are often based on open source; virtualization in communication (SDN/ NFV) is built almost entirely on open source; plus, many of the largest clouds are built  on open source.

Why has that happened? Because big data, cloud, virtualization and the Internet of Things are very complex and complicated from a developmental and operational point of view. Therefore, only very large communities of developers, working in open source, knew how to achieve results and solve problems. This lead to all the major vendors joining the open source community, as they understand that this is what leads to innovation.

Our advantage in the market is that we know, from our long experience, how to work with the open source communities. These communities are difficult to manage and cannot be controlled by an established entity. Our success in the Linux world has taught us how to work in all other aspects of the existing open source communities in the world".

Q .: In what do you invest most of your time?
A .: "We are currently focused on two areas:

A. Solutions that disrupt old data centre models. These solutions support conversion from old and cumbersome data centre systems, to new, flexible and agile systems. This area is growing very quickly at Red Hat.

 B. Help customers of any kind in the move to the cloud. This requires innovation. However, many organizations are still in Mode 1 and we want to help them switch to Mode 2 (according to Gartner definitions). Only in Mode 2 do they get all the benefits of innovation.

Therefore I spend a lot of time on these new developments. Most managers and decision-makers that I meet already understand the importance of open source. I spend most of the time focusing on the core issues of enterprises. These are the biggest challenges for us".

Q .: What do you say to those who ask about  security in open source systems?
A .: "This is one of the most important aspects for us. We, at Red Hat, do not develop security products. They are developed by our customers. Unlike proprietary vendors, Red Hat develops software in collaboration with customers from a range of industries, including government and financial services, ensuring that rigorous security protocols are built in.

Linux has a level of security developed in the US by the NSA and meets the highest standards that exist. Therefore, customers get the security as part of the solution. It has become part of the solution in each field, including virtual worlds. If you look at the various breaches of enterprise data bases in the last year, you will see it happened mainly in private clouds, in closed and proprietary systems.

Open source provides, in contrary to the perceptions of the past, a stable and secure solution, several levels above the proprietary and expensive solutions.

Therefor you will see military organizations, including IDF in Israel, choosing open source for their most critical applications. Armies found that open source is more secure for them. Therefore the concept of open source is a better response to the area of security and protection of business and enterprise information".

Q .: How has the Israeli market received open source for cloud application services?
A .: "In Israel we have the same sales channels to customers as there are in all EMEA countries
However, Israel has some unique needs including a lot of high-tech companies and  start-ups, and this flourishing area of the market is a key focus for Red Hat in this region. Israel is a key thought leader around where the market is going. Innovation here is in enormous scope. Therefore we have a research and development (R&D) centre here, that is very in tune with the local market. This is a very important center for us.

We are increasing the team of our R&D centre in Israel, constantly examining what there is in the market and what is right for us and for our future needs. Israel has a tendency to adopt new technologies quickly and that is good for us to experiment with new solutions here".

Q .: What do you offer the Israeli entrepreneurial world (Startup Nation)?
A .: "We are not cloud services providers like Amazon, but Amazon is an important partner for us. We are encouraging builders and developers of clouds to use our systems and our platform, in order to provide SaaS solutions to their end customers.

We have a cloud solution (found on Amazon), which is unique for the start-up community. This solution, OpenShift, is completely free for developers and entrepreneurs registered with us. This is something that we offer and recommend that all Israeli entrepreneurs take advantage of, to speed up their development capabilities.

There are already more than 2 million applications that have been developed on this system. We will continue to invest in the Israeli entrepreneurship world, particularly in the ISV and young entrepreneurs based here in Israel, as we are part of the entrepreneurial world."

Q .: What happens at Red Hat with the mobile world, as everything becomes mobile?
A .: "We have developed capabilities to enable the open source community to develop mobile applications. For this we have acquired an Irish startup from Dublin, FeedHenry, that was, and still is, a market leader in the area of ​​the Back-End-as-a-Service.

Mobile software developers need assistance in mobile applications development, mainly in the more difficult areas such as application management and application integration for back-office. How to integrate mobile applications with legacy ERP and CRM existing in businesses and organizations?

The mobile market is either Android or iOS. However, to run an application, you have to control it and link it to existing systems, especially to the back office applications. Without it, there is no business value to the application. These capabilities are provided in the new platform of FeedHenry.

Many organizations and businesses have already discovered these abilities and are asking us to help them develop applications suitable for their specific needs. In the new system, a new application can be fully developed in hours, instead of weeks or months.

 The new service for development of mobile applications is in the Amazon cloud and recently we saw that the market demands us to provide this platform as well private clouds and on-premise within the organization. Right now we are developing this direction as well, so that developers within the organization will have the same capabilities, with the same user experience in the cloud that exist today in the cloud.

Q .: What is your professional dream?
Werner Knoblich: "From my perspective, I would like to believe that everything will be based on open source. In my opinion, this is a dream that is going to be fulfilled. We are on the way there. I am sure of it.

I hope that enterprises in any field will embrace the concept of open source, and open themselves up to participating in the open source community. If millions of developers, who are currently working in closed systems within organizations, will join the open source community, it will change the market completely.

Today, every organization 're-invents' the wheel for itself, as it is involved in developments within the organization without knowing that there are developers elsewhere, which have already found a solution to this problem. With each developer working individually, it is a huge waste of development resources. Only very large open source communities can promote innovation to new levels.

I visit enterprises and see many private clouds that there is no need for. If these enterprises give power to the community, they will produce more benefits for themselves.

Israel is a great place to demonstrate what the power of community achieves. The Israeli start-up community cooperates with each other in an astonishing way. Start-ups here are constantly exchanging knowledge. There is no more fear of someone stealing your idea. It is better to get feedback from those around you, so your idea becomes better. Therefore innovation comes from knowledge sharing communities.

That is my dream, to spread this message to all the world. This process has begun and I believe in it. I still see many afraid to reveal things and developments by mistake and misunderstanding the market. Only cooperation leads to success. We ourselves prove that all the time. We are constantly recruiting more people and growing, because we believe in models of cooperation and that is what succeeds".

Dan Toldano: "My message to the market: we are on a business journey and still at the beginning of the journey. I dream and believe that our customers will join us on the journey that leads to digital organization and digital economy. We have proven that open source is not only saving money, but it is the way to innovation.

Today, all the giants you see around you, such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, develop on open source. The reason: only open source leads to new businesses and innovation. In many organizations, the walls between traditional IT and new IT fall down.

Today I do not need to convince businesses that open source can be used for critical purposes. It was a doubt many years ago. Today, we have an endless number of examples for open-source-critical applications, in all markets. Therefore I believe that open source will take every field and every organization. There is no other direction".
Dan Toledano
 Dan Toledano, Country Manager for Israel, Greece and Cyprus at Red Hat

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