Thus, he relied on research and development at the Brno R&D Center, which is the world’s largest Red Hat technology center with 1,500 people and where all professions are represented, cooperating with FEE CTU in Prague, FIT BUT. We asked David Bečvařík, Country Manager of Red Hat Czech Republic and Slovakia, what software works here, who its customers are, what problems they solve.
Red Hat boasts of supporting the Linux community. How does it specifically support it in the Czech Republic?
As a company, Red Hat is still very active not only across the Linux communities, both in the Czech Republic and abroad. We work with communities around Linux and open technology conferences, both large ones such as Linux Days and OpenAlt, as well as various meeting organizers and smaller groups. Of course, we must also mention DevConf, which we organize ourselves and which is one of the largest community events in our country.
The cooperation takes place not only at the level of sponsorship, but also through the direct involvement of our employees in the organization itself, and especially the conduct of lectures and workshops. We must not forget the hundreds of open sources in which Red Hat participates in projects and projects. In general, I think companies like Red Hat are the reason why Linux and open source software are so successful. Our employees not only do work in these projects in the form of testing the development itself and adding new functions, but we also contribute work on improving documentation, bug fixes and their backporting, for which community projects would not otherwise have sufficient resources.
Is there also cooperation with the academic sector in the Czech Republic? If so, how?
Cooperation with the academic sector is very important for Red Hat in our country as well. The Czech Red Hat is involved in a number of projects in cooperation with universities, from participation in individual fields of study and specific subjects in the form of lectures by our experts, through involvement in individual research projects, to assistance with leading student work and the like. Specifically, we can mention our open source laboratories at the Prague FEE CTU and Brno FIT BUT, where Red Hat allows students of technical fields to prepare to gain experience with open source communities and open source development before they come into practice.
Another is with Masaryk University, where we have been on the example of top software engineers for 14 years. As in the case of FEE CTU and FIT BUT, we offer engineering students the opportunity to gain practical experience in living production environments.
At Red Hat, we have a strong intership program that allows us to involve university students through internships in individual real-world projects and product development that run in the Brno R&D Center.
What is the position of Red Hat in the parent group with IBM? Has strategy and vision changed in any way?
Red Hat is still an independent company. The business goals and strategies of the companies are separate, but of course close cooperation takes place at both the technological and business levels. We have a truly equal collaboration here, for example with IBM Research, where we use top experts, or we work with those who containerize their legacy applications and the historical use of IBM software. Red Hat has also preserved the ecosystem of its partners, who we are expanding independently of IBM.
How big a branch does Red Hat have in the Czech Republic, what does it primarily focus on in our country and who does it employ?
The Czech Red Hat already has over 1,500 people, but the number of employees is increasing dynamically. It is primarily located in the Brno R&D Center, which is the world’s largest Red Hat technology center and where all professions are represented, from software development, through quality to human resources and other support teams. The sales team is then based in Prague on Národní třída.
In Brno, we have very strong teams specializing not only in Linux distributions, but also, for example, Kubernetes technologies and middleware. Part of product management was also allocated to Brno. The entire life cycle of some Red Hat products is completely managed from Brno. Our goal is to make Brno not only an engineering center, but a real technology center that determines the direction and future of Red Hat products.
Who is a typical Red Hat customer?
It cannot be said that Red Hat has a specific customer. This includes a large number of types of companies, from banking institutions, through telco operators, utilities, e-commerce to local service providers. Major customers include, for example, Česká spořitelna and Fortuna, which we perceive as leaders in the field of containerization and modernization of applications from the perspective of Red Hat OpenShift.
What is Red Hat’s core business in our country?
Red Hat has a very similar focus here as anywhere else in the world. Our main topics are application modernization, where using technologies such as OpenShift, Quarkus, Knative, Kafka, etc. we create platforms that make it easy for development teams to develop new applications while quickly upgrading old ones. The whole area is covered in detail, among other things, by the so-called Red Hat Container Adoption Journey, which guides our customers through the topics of containerization and modernization of applications through consulting and coaching.
Another of our key topics is automation. Here, using Ansible technology and our Automation Adoption Journey methodology, we strive to raise automation to the standard and connect the individual automation force across organizations. After successful implementation, you can increase the efficiency of the entire organization’s IT, get rid of so-called tickets and lengthy approval processes, and at the same time be in full compliance with regulatory requirements.
From Red Hat’s perspective, in which direction is technological development moving, how is Red Hat responding and what is it offering?
This question is quite complicated. We see several trends. From the long-used shift from traditional software to open source, through the growing complexity of the public cloud, to the shift to micro-services and applications based on serverless frameworks. Red Hat addresses all of these issues, which have a shorter development cycle and are more modular, as well as a series of trainings and consultants who teach customers how to get the most out of these trends for their business.
What new technologies or services can we expect from Red Hat in the near future?
It’s probably hard to answer briefly here, because Red Hat’s portfolio is very extensive. Today, it is possible to completely build an entire private cloud on Red Hat technologies, including internal SaaS solutions. But in general, we see a faster-growing Red Hat OpenShift product that delivers, among other things, an innovative view of virtualization, serverless, and advanced cluster management, and that enables unified management of applications deployed in OpenShift clusters through various public clouds in an on-premise environment. OpenShift has become a cornerstone of many companies’ IT and brings a wealth of news every three months. Personally, I would certainly like to emphasize the support of the federation in Red Hat Service Mesh, which will make it much easier to discover a service, ie to find, without prior configuration, devices providing a certain service, for applications running simultaneously on premise and public cloud.
How does Red Hat approach the cloud and its big suppliers (MS, Amazon, Google), isn’t it limited to its business?
Exactly opposite. At Red Hat, you see the public cloud as an opportunity. In general, the market situation is that less than 5% of companies want a pure cloud solution. This is one of the reasons why Red Hat’s solution is primarily focused on hybrid cloud based on open technologies and allows our customers to securely innovate both in the cloud and on-premises without fear of being locked into various proprietary solutions, both traditional and cloud vendors.
What are the biggest challenges facing a Red Hat customer today? How does Red Hat help them deal with them?
Paradoxically, the biggest problems and tasks do not encounter the technical nature, but the way of working. At a time of pandemic, forced relocation to the home office, pressure to reduce costs, and also due to the new great pressure on product delivery, the position of the IT department with our customers is difficult. Red Hat can be an inspiration to manage these issues through its open culture and distributed internal teams. It is already standard that we invite customers to the Red Hat center in Brno and share with them the know-how and proven procedures of how we solve or solve these problems and tasks.