(Boughty Canton, VP Product & Programs)
Day 3 at Red Hat Summit started off with a fantastic session with Marco Bill-Peter, Red Hat’s VP of Customer Experience and Engagement.
In most companies this would be called “support” but Red Hat is playing on its strengths calling out the fact that you aren’t paying for use rights but rather a complete ecosystem of people and tools that help drive your business which includes but is not limited to support.
The Service Provider community would be well served to think about customer engagement in a similar manner. Here’s what Red Hat focuses on for great support:
- It makes it easier for customer to realize their vision
- Continuous innovation, technical expertise, engagement
- Upstream support is key as well, this allows you to solve problems that aren't even in the code (this is unique to open source, but a real differentiator for Red Hat)
- Break up the team to specialists rather than generalists
- Customer portal needs to be agile, combining support and dev/ops
- Knowledge needs to simplify experience
- Lifecycle management needs to be baked in and support both legacy as well as future products
In a nutshell being pro-active rather than reactive and finding tools and methods to make it easier for customers to be successful in their endeavors.
The other two key sessions I attended were the CloudForms Roadmap and the Cloud Infrastructure Roadmap sessions. On the CloudForms side, it has been a busy 6 months for RedHat culminating with the launch of CloudForms 3.2 just last week. There was so much released in the session that I can’t imagine communicating the unique features that will resonate with each of you, but the highlights for me were the inclusion of what Red Hat is calling “Providers” which are essentially control mechanism for services or tools. Of particular interest to the rhipe community was the inclusion of a Provider for Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, yep that means that CloudForms has even more capabilities in the Hyper-V space. In addition, there is now support for bare-metal, which takes CloudForms from the vitualization layer to the Infrastructure layer, which will help Service Providers better manage their infrastructure with insights into the health of the physical layer.
Perhaps the best nugget, however, was that I learned that the Sr Principal Product Manager for CloudForms, John Hardy, maintains a blog all about it at http://www.cloudformsnow.com/. John will be adding the roadmap slides to his blog shortly.
I went directly from the CloudForms roadmap to the Cloud Infrastructure roadmap, which was a high level review of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Hat Satellite, as well as Red Hat CloudForms, and finally an intro to a fantastic new solution available now for RHEL but coming soon to CloudForms for Clouds called Red Hat Access Insights.
Suffice it to say the Cloud Infrastructure has come a long way, in fact right after this session I was able to see the beginning of a session led by Produban, Grupo Santander’s technology company which specializes in the continuous design and operation of IT infrastructures, in which they reviewed how they built an IaaS and PaaS solution for their parent company, one of the worlds largest banks, on Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure along with OpenShift (PaaS).
The basic highlights are that between June and December of 2015, each of these core components of the Cloud Infrastructure offering will be launching new dot versions or releases, making it even more powerful for Service Providers of all sizes even those that services the most demanding customers in the world.
I did want to spend a few words on Access Insights which it launched here at Summit. Here’s the press release, but for me what they’ve done is awesome. They’ve taken the millions of support instances that they have helped solve and turned that knowledge into a predictive tool that will help nip problems in the bud before they become big threats.
Circling back to the idea of customer experience and engagement rather than support, you can see that they are putting their money where their mouth is.