A cloudy je ne sais quoi

Red Hat Hybrid Cloud Programme lead on why it’s good to resist definition

Lucy Carey

Alessandro Perilli talks cloud visions, PaaS debates, and cross-company plotting.

Alessandro Perilli recently made the jump from working as Gartner private cloud research lead to heading to up the newly formed Open Hybrid Cloud Programme Office at Red Hat. In this interview, he outlines the needs for pragmatism in the market, and why the people just aren’t ready for PaaS.

JAX: What attracted you to Red Hat?

Perilli: I saw an enormous potential to differentiate and disrupt the cloud management market.

Many vendors have the assets to put together a cloud offering, but almost all of them are copycats of market leading solutions. So when a customer wants a real alternative to the market leading solution, there is no compelling reason to adopt one vendor over another. I believe that Red Hat’s foundational technologies, architectural approach, and the business model make its cloud offering a true alternative.

What do you think you’ll bring to the table?

I have spent a large part of my career working for Fortune Global 2000 large enterprise organizations. In my previous position, I was the lead analyst at Gartner for Technical Professionals Research division for private cloud computing. In last three years I got involved with some of the biggest private cloud projects in the world. So I think I have a good understanding of what customers want and what the market is missing in terms of cloud offerings.

Can you outline the Red Hat cross-company vision? What are the key objectives?

In terms of cloud offering, Red Hat wants to help IT organizations in serving and protecting the business in the cloud era.

Serving the business means offering the right cloud platform for every business case, no matter if it’s private or public, IaaS or Paas, for traditional workloads or cloud workloads. This in turn means empowering lines of business through self-service provisioning, accelerating their application development by supporting DevOps initiatives, helping them consume public cloud offerings through brokerage.

Protecting the business means remaining competitive by increasing IT agility through automation, retaining control and governing all these different cloud platforms, protecting investments already done in existing IT infrastructure.  

What do you think are the key issues for the cloud market at the moment?

What enterprise customers want from a private cloud and a public cloud is different. And in most cases, it doesn’t fit the definitions.

Too many players in the cloud market are obsessed by definitions and develop an idealistic view of the market that simply doesn’t match the real world. Customers don’t care about definitions. They care about solving problems in a way that fits their culture, their pace, their maturity level.

So we all need to be more pragmatic and listen to what the market truly demands.

What do you make of the ongoing “PaaS is dead” argument?

Like IaaS or SaaS clouds, PaaS clouds are tools to solve a problem. You can use multiple tools to solve the same problem but not all of them are equally efficient. However, sometimes the most efficient tool requires us to develop new skills, to get used to it and that takes time.

PaaS is more efficient than IaaS in solving certain problems but it requires more time than IaaS to master it.

So a more appropriate question is “Is the market ready to use PaaS?” I think the market overestimated the adjustment time and it is simply not there yet.

Do you think AWS dominance of the sector will ever be contested?

Of course. At some point in time you get disrupted, no matter how strong your market leadership.

What do you think are the key strengths and differentiators of Red Hat’s hybrid cloud?

We offer a comprehensive set of cloud platforms to support most business cases.

Our cloud platforms have a modular architecture approach so the technology can adapt to clients’ needs and maturity level.

The technology is open source, which makes easier to extend it and support the existing IT infrastructure, to introduce innovation faster, and to provide the level of transparency that is necessary in some scenarios.  

And we are the most credible provider of open source technologies to the enterprise market. I think that’s a good starting point.


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