The pillars of open source are community, transparency and collaboration

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Open source software is the catalyst for most innovations happening in today’s digital world. As technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain become ubiquitous, the demand for open source solutions is expected to grow phenomenally in the near future. Ameeta Roy, director, solution architecture at Red Hat India and South Asia, shares her thoughts on the trends, challenges and technologies in this domain with Ankita K.S. from the EFY Group. She also talks about the hiring trends, as well as Red Hat’s developer and academic partnership programmes that help build a stronger community. Excerpts follow….

Q. Can you tell us about some of the latest technologies that have the potential to transform the open source industry in the near future.
A.The enterprises’ journey of migration from monolith to microservices is an exciting trend in the open source environment. Containers and Kubernetes play key roles in enabling this migration, with Linux underpinning the latter. Automation is another interesting trend gaining traction in the industry. Fuelled by enterprise DevOps adoption, the automation of software delivery and infrastructure changes gives developers the freedom to concentrate on coding without worrying about infrastructure agility, scalability, etc. The other trend I see gaining momentum is the concept of the service mesh. This is essentially platform-level automation for creating the network connectivity required by microservices-based software architectures.

Q. How has open source evolved to become the new norm for Indian enterprises, especially with technologies like AI, ML and IoT increasingly coming into play?
A. Enterprise IT environments require a lot of investment and planning, as they need IT infrastructure that delivers speed, scalability, flexibility and faster innovation to help the business flourish. Open source provides all this, along with a much-needed predictable life cycle. It combines the best of two worlds — the advantages of having access to the source code, along with the stability, performance and support that is offered by enterprise software, essentially making open source the new norm for enterprises.
Today, the industry is witnessing projects that are trying to make AI and ML more accessible to software developers. Take the case of Kubeflow, an ML toolkit for Kubernetes. The idea behind Kubeflow is to make it simple to scale machine learning models and deploy them to production wherever Kubernetes is running. Once again, we see Kubernetes becoming the target platform of choice.

Q. What are the new trends in the Indian developer community today?
A. Developers around the world continue to have a keen inclination towards open source, as open code gives them a deeper understanding of the technology and helps them in contributing to the community, while increasing cost-effectiveness and efficiency at the same time. They also want to keep abreast with the latest technologies such as AI, ML, blockchain, etc. Python, JavaScript, PHP, C and C++ are still some of the programming languages with the highest demand and uptake. Developers are also foraying into containerisation, the entire Dockers and Kubernetes ecosystem and serverless microservices.

Q. What are the challenges developers face when deploying applications on the cloud, and how is Red Hat helping them overcome these?
A. To meet evolving business demands, IT organisations are looking at new workloads, AI, ML and IoT to drive competitive advantages in crowded marketplaces. As a result, the hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are becoming the preferred architecture for enterprises. However, developers face several challenges while making an app cloud-native. The most important challenge is interoperability and the support issues when migrating services from one cloud provider to another.
For more than 15 years, Red Hat has helped enterprises innovate on Linux, first in their data centres and now across the hybrid cloud via Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL 8). For a workload running on any environment, RHEL 8 delivers a Linux experience to meet the unique technology needs of evolving enterprises. It delivers the innovative muscle along with a hardened code base, extensive security updates, award-winning support, and a vast ecosystem of tested and validated supporting technologies. It offers several of the following benefits to developers:

  • It simplifies application development – with less setup and configuration effort, you can more quickly get to writing code.
  • It is for traditional and cloud/container applications, with many new tools for both.
  • It offers dozens of tools to build and test applications.

Q. What are the skillsets that are required for a developer to get hired in an open source based company like Red Hat?
A. The pillars of open source are community, transparency and collaboration. Therefore, to work in an open environment, it is important to possess in-depth technical knowledge, good communication skills, a problem-solving attitude and a passion for innovation. In open source development, in particular, developers need to articulate what they want to build, how they are building it, and how and why they have changed the existing code. This means writing clear, detailed documentation for their programs, as well as being able to talk through projects to peers, either in person or over email.
At Red Hat, we look for people who are open to learning new things and willing to use that learning in a manner that is beneficial to the community, because that is the open source way.

Q. Could you tell us briefly about the academic partnership programmes conducted by Red Hat and what are some of the certifications you offer?
A. Open source solutions are core to innovation in areas like cloud computing, containers, mobile, AI, ML and beyond. By bringing the Red Hat Academy as well as training on Red Hat’s open source solutions to students, Red Hat and our partner institutions/universities are aiming to equip a future workforce in India with in-demand skills.
At Red Hat, we strongly believe in the power of participation and innovation through collaboration. We really value our community, and these partnerships help us train individuals and inculcate in them our organisation’s DNA. In the long run, this helps us with a readily available talent pool familiar with the Red Hat solutions and services. The training allows the young students and budding developers to be fully equipped to deal with open source concerns. Red Hat focuses on training delivery through several means including the brick and mortar instructor-led classroom model, instructor-led virtual training, self-paced online learning and video classrooms. Red Hat Learning Subscription, which encompasses the self-paced online learning with video classrooms, virtual labs and a year-long access to content, videos and 400 hours of practice in labs is considered a phenomenal method of learning.
Red Hat Academy’s core curriculum consists of systems administration and systems engineering on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, besides Red Hat JBoss middleware administration and introductory Red Hat OpenStack (cloud) content. Red Hat provides technical training in these areas to the Red Hat Academy faculty at institutions participating in the Academy Programme. These courses are global and are provided in 35 locations across North America and 85 locations worldwide with the same content and quality, no matter where one is. The instructors are deployed through Red Hat Certified Training Partners for these courses, and are all experienced Red Hat Certified Professionals who are intimately familiar with the course curriculum (https://www.redhat.com/en/services/training/red-hat-academy).

Q. Over the years, what have you learnt about motivating young engineers?
A. Young engineers today are at the brink of emerging tech and open source, and should take their time to understand these current trends in the associated spaces. It is also important for senior leaders to guide them and help them figure out where they should place their skills. Additionally, including people in key product and management decisions makes them feel valued. Being involved in the design and planning process pushes them to create higher quality products. It is also absolutely essential to ensure that while working with young energetic engineers, plans are not only realistic in terms of being executable but also challenging enough to keep them motivated to excel.

Q. What is Red Hat’s roadmap to drive open source innovation?
A. We firmly believe open source unlocks the world’s potential. Even our customers value the open source ethos of transparency, community and collaboration, and we help them benefit from the innovation of open source-developed software. Through the Red Hat Open Innovation Labs, we are bringing this knowledge and experience directly to our customers. The lab can be used in a residency-style, virtual or pop-up setting, where Red Hat consultants, engineers and subject matter experts collaborate and work closely with customers to modernise existing applications or create new ones with open source and DevOps. We drive open source innovation not just among enterprises but within the developer community too.
Our Red Hat Developer Programme (https://developers.redhat.com/) is built for developers, by developers. It provides access to software, tools, guides and resources to make their job and daily work easier. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat JBoss Middleware available through the programme at no cost, developers can more easily use our technology to start projects and explore solutions, while having the confidence that their chosen development platforms and tools can be supported in production, without porting or incompatibility issues.

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