Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst sees the business opportunity of a generation in what he calls a computing paradigm shift from client-server to cloud architectures. “In those paradigm shifts, generally new winners emerge,” says Whitehurst and he intends to make sure Red Hat is one of those winners. His logic is sound and simple: disruptive technologies like the cloud that arise every couple of decades level the playing field between large, established firms and smaller, innovative challengers since everyone, from corporate behemoth to a couple of guys in a garage, starts from the same spot and must play by the same unfamiliar and changeable rules. With the cloud “there’s less of an installed based and an opportunity for new winners to be chosen,” Whitehurst adds. His mission is “to see that open source is the default choice for next generation architecture” and that Red Hat is the preferred choice, particularly for enterprise IT, of open source providers.
In this column, I outline his case for open source dominating the cloud, which rests on the fact that it’s already the foundation for many popular cloud services and enterprise applications, and his strategy for translating Red Hat’s Linux success to OpenStack and enterprise clouds.