The evolution of operational efficiency

by Larry Spangler (Red Hat)

Lately, I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of buzz about “operational efficiency.” As some see it, Operational Efficiency is basically the idea of doing more with less–if you can define and follow processes you can achieve repeatable outcomes with reduced error. Automate that, and you have a means to extend the reach of the individual IT operator while decreasing the effort and time required to build systems. It’s a straightforward value proposition that Red Hat has been touting and delivering for years with standardized operating environments (SOEs) and management tools like Red Hat Network Satellite and JBoss Operations Network.

But there’s evolution afoot here from the classic “operational” sense to one that is more expansive and higher purposed. The basics of SOE and management tools are now being used not only to define and develop repeatable infrastructure, they’re being leveraged with other tools like virtualization, IaaS, and PaaS to deliver on-demand capabilities. The key being that the focus is shifting from how to get the most out of your resource investment, to how to effectively and efficiently instantiate, use, and release systems for true on-demand capabilities.

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Guest post: My journey to RHCA

The following post was authored by Pete Durst, instructor and director of technology at ExitCertified, a Red Hat Training partner with locations throughout the United States and Canada. Delivering training since 1991, Pete was named Red Hat FY12 architect-level instructor of the year for North America, and recently became a Red Hat Certified Architect, the highest level of certification for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are Pete’s.

Many years ago, when I first became aware of the different Red Hat certifications, I thought nothing of what it meant to be an RHCT or RHCE. These appeared to be similar to other vendor’s certifications, like Sun’s SCSA and SCNA, and had similar value to me. Upon further investigation, it became apparent that while those certifications were gained through online testing methods that used multiple-choice questions and fill-in-the-blank essays, Red Hat used hands on, practical testing. It’s one thing to say that you know how to do something and it’s another to prove that you know how to use it, by actually setting up a server and making it perform as expected.

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Keep Calm and Innersource On

by Guy Martin (Red Hat)

“Open source is scary!”

“How can something ‘open’ be secure?”

“Won’t using open source in my products mean I have to give away my IP?”

These are all examples from real-world conversations with both external and internal stakeholders during my career as a developer and consultant.  There are many more such examples, which I previously built into a blog titled Top 10 Signs Your Enterprise Doesn’t ‘Get’ Open Source.  The good news is that with the emergence of Linux, Apache, JBoss and other important open source technologies, we don’t hear these kinds of things as often.  The bad news is, there are still quite a few industries and companies where these fears are the norm.

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Guest Post / Martin Elliott: From computer club to computer career

Our partners are typically closer to students than we at Red Hat headquarters are. As such, we like to regularly hear from both of them for insight into training, into the IT industry and into IT professionals. One such training partner, 1Staff Training, is certainly among those with a finger squarely on the pulse of what’s happening in IT education. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, 1Staff Training has been delivering technical training since 1996, educating over 28,000 students and rating consistently as a leader in IT education by the International Data Corporation. 1Staff Training recently spoke with one of its Red Hat System Administration I (RH124) students to get his thoughts about the course and his career, and how both are interrelated.

NOTE: The opinions, statements and other information included in this post are those solely of the interview subject and may not be representative of Red Hat.

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BPM: Utilizing JBoss technologies to increase business performance and agility

by Duncan Doyle

With the growing popularity of cloud environments and cloud-like architectures, the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigm has become increasingly important. Having been the previous big buzzword in IT, the term SOA has often been used as a means to sell software products instead of a term to refer to architectural style. However, in order to benefit most from the new possibilities in virtualization, just-in-time provisioning and on-demand scalability it has become a must for businesses to partition their enterprise logic and functionality into individual components which can independently be deployed in heterogeneous environments.

One of the goals of an SOA is to provide the enterprise with a set of re-usable, readily available business services, and as such reduce cost and provide greater operational agility. The autonomous nature of well-defined services make these components the perfect candidate for deployment in cloud environments. These individual services can then be combined, or composed into business applications which provide the actual business value. The specific compositions of these services in fact defines the actual business process.

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Guest Post: Bruno Lima, Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year, EMEA

by Bruno Lima

Becoming EMEA’s Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year was very easy. I just wrote a letter and crossed my fingers, haha. Jokes aside, I believe I became a Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year because when I entered my submission, I not only wrote a reply, I relayed how Red Hat is integral to both the story of my life and in my career. From the innovative projects I’ve participated in to the satisfaction of our customers, Red Hat has meant a lot to me.

I started using Red Hat technologies in the mid-90s when open source was still unknown by many and ignored by almost everyone. I remember my first installation of Red Hat, which was at a public company in a small town called Sao Luis in Brazil. It was where I was born and raised. The company needed a reliable solution to run an electronic mail system, and at that moment the only platform that met our needs was to use the Red Hat Linux with Sendmail. I never stopped using Red Hat technologies after that, using Red Hat and open source for more and more projects.

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Cloud Sniff Test: Cutting through the jargon

by David Kang (Red Hat)

Cloud is not software, cloud is not hardware, cloud is not virtualization, and cloud is certainly not a panacea for broken IT. Cloud is an architecture: a set of fundamental tenets that have different implications at different levels of IT, from network, to hardware, to applications, and to the IT process itself. To say you have a cloud is to say that you have a cohesive architecture, technology set, and most importantly processes, that work towards a defined goal under a set of well-understood principals. Building your cloud is as much about defining your goals and governing principals as it is about investing in technology.

Building your cloud and consuming cloud services
Step one is defining your governing principals. This is a crucial step before embarking on your cloud journey as the policies and principals you define will help you navigate your journey through the rapidly expanding cloud ecosystem. This is also an opportunity to ask tough questions and examine what your principals and processes are, and why you have them. Process is ultimately about managing risk, so consider what risks are acceptable under your governance policies and weigh them against the potential benefits cloud can offer. Both Facebook and Google have adopted “deploy to production” models that seem to fly in the face of process conventions such as ITIL or RUP, yet somehow they seem to survive. The penalty for not doing this exercise is ballooning adoption costs, or failed rollouts all together.

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A new view on migrations

by Larry Spangler (Red Hat)

The funny thing about people is that as much as we complain about how bad things are, there’s a natural resistance to actual change. More often than not, the changes we long for come with a good deal of anxiety and a great deal of process pain.

This week, we moved into our new space in the “Red Hat Tower” in downtown Raleigh. There was a lot of excitement leading up to this move – new offices, new space, new neighbors, new opportunities – a fresh start all around. But that was countered by an equal amount of uncertainty and anxiety – would we like the new space, would we be giving up amenities, would the new commutes be a hassle, how long would it take to be productive again?

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