“We’ve talked about being in an information age for the last 60 years but now we’re finally in the information economy” were the words that came out of Jim Whitehurst’s mouth last night when we sat in a packed auditorium at Red Hat Summit 2012. “60 years after the invention of the computer we are now finally getting to standardized piece parts, what i’d call cloud computing,” – Jim offered up, comparing how the invention of the Autolathe in the 1800s had created a fertile manufacturing capability to produce standardised components rather than needing bespoke craftworkers in-situ with a tap and die set to produce nuts and bolts. Painting the analogy corectly that without these standardised QE’d parts we wouldnt have had the later combustion engine or manned flight etc. He had a point, and by painting a mental picture to the room he nailed it.
Taking the hype out the analogy of Cloud and returning it to a compartmentalised view of the constructs of Cloud. Comparing Red Hat to an ACME rocket type company of the industrial era Jim essentially pegged Red Hat into a really exciting place. That place is the hub room / the machine room and the factory floor of open standardization for the pieces Enterprises need to virtualise and to get to Cloud, to make it accessible and to make it palatable. Reducing the time to market and reducing the risk and the complexities without watering down the governance and the risks.
It was interesting sitting in the room as it filled up noting that this wasn’t an Apple product release ala Tim Cook / Steve Jobs, or some fanbois event. It wasn’t LinuxWorld Expo or akin to anything I’d been to in my sixteen years in Linux. Remember I’ve never been to Summit, I’m the newbie around here, although I work for Red Hat USA we were having our first child this time last year and I was preoccupied with diapers so I never made it out. The people in the room, the PAYING attendees are people who use Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss as part of their everyday go to work, and as a snapshot of the userbase they represent people that a decade ago you probably would have presumed to be large scale Microsoft users but who have migrated away to a more resilient sensible way of working.
These people sat in the room hanging on Jim’s every weighted word aren’t pasty faced sysadmin types who you’d stereotypically assume (if you believe the mental picture painted by many) who sit and write shell scripts and can build you a LAMP stack in the time it takes many of us to finish reading a daily paper. No. These people listening to Jim, spending time in the partner summit boothes post keynote (in their thousands) were paying to listen to the guy desribing the journey they’re about to go on .
The same people who listened to the amazingly cool JBoss demo Burr Sutter’s team kicked ass with in the JBoss keynote slightly earlier are also the customers and technical exponents who are building the next technical generation of achievement. Not just absorbing and utilising subscriptions but relying on there being Open Standards and componentised approaches to the interaction of tools, languages, protocols, applications and architecture. These people, sat on plastic chairs patiently aren’t consumers of IT they’re the practitioners of expectation and delivery. In short they’re you and I. They’re tasked with doing more with less and doing it better and brighter than the other guy and the only way they can take that roadtrip is by harnessing Linux. They’re sat in a room in Boston because theres a commonality that says that if you don’t want to listen and you don’t think out the box you will be left behind. It’s understood. A common thread amongst the entire room.
The next three days are going to be extremely full of activity for us Red Hatters, I’ve got interviews, podcasts and meet and greets to schedule, we’ll offer you up some exclusive very cool stuff here over the next 72 hours.
Keep refreshing the site as we go and I’ll try and find time to get this stuff published as quickly as we can.
If you want to keep up with my photos from Summit visit my Flickr album either by following this embedded link or if you look to the right hand navigation column on the blog you’ll see a feed.