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Red Hat's Serverless Blockchain Future Powered by Open Source Innovation

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted May 14, 2018


On the final day of the Red Hat Summit last week, Red Hat CTO Chris Wright presided over the closing keynotes where he outlined how his company innovates and hinted at multiple future product developments.

"Innovation in the enterprise is about adapting to change without compromising the business," Wright said.

Wright added that at the core of modern innovation is the Linux operating system. Whereas a decade or more ago, Linux was sometimes seen as a follower in terms of innovation, at this point in 2018 it's clear Linux is now where new innovations, be it cloud, blockchain, serverless or Artificial Intelligence (AI), are built upon.

Looking deeper than just Linux is the open-source community that enables it, as well as a vast landscape of project code. Wright said Red Hat's role when it comes to developers is to help provide them with tools and techniques to provide business value as code.

"Development is the art of creating business value through code," Wright said.

Serverless via OpenShift Cloud Functions

Among the emerging areas of technology innovation that Red Hat is now working on is serverless, which is also sometimes referred to as Functions as a Service (FaaS). Red Hat is now working on a project called OpenShift Cloud Functions.

Wright explained that Cloud Functions runs the open-source OpenWhisk FaaS project on top of Kubernetes. IBM is among the major backers of OpenWhisk, which first became generally available in December 2016.

"The goal is to reduce what developers are responsible for, including dependencies on runtimes and the underlying operating system, which are now part of the platform," Wright said. "With OpenWhisk, developers can focus on application logic and not on developing a finite-state machine."

Wright added that by offloading developer responsibilities to the platform, developer efficiency can be maximized.

Istio Cloud-Native Open Source Effort

Looking beyond serverless, Wright is also very optimistic about the emerging cloud-native Istio open source effort.

"As we de-compose apps to a set of micro-services, the network plays a fundamental role to recombine micro-services into an application," Wright said. "Istio interposes between a service and the network, providing a control and data plane to support service registration and discovery, load balancing, service-to-service encryption and authentication and more."

Blockchain

Red Hat is also working on Blockchain efforts to help advance innovation.

Wright said Red Hat has been working with the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger effort on multiple initiatives. Among them is the OpenShift Blockchain initiative, which Wright said is about helping to enable the delivery of Blockchain as a Service, on top of OpenShift.

Basing Innovation on Open Source

Wright emphasized time and again during his keynote that few organizations have the ability to innovate entirely on their own. In his view, change should be a low-cost event and developers should be able to adopt innovation quickly and easily.

In working with open source, Wright said the community and the innovation is much larger than any one company.

"We base our innovation on open source communities; those communities are continuously moving technology forward, and we remain connected to those communities and to our partners and customers," Wright said. "In that way, we all work together and move forward together."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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