Red Hat CEO: Partners Have ‘A Ton Of Value-Add’ Around AI

Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks told CRN that channel partners have an immense opportunity to add value and drive stickiness with customers via the tidal wave of new artificial intelligence (AI) innovation hitting the market today.

“There’s a ton of value-add on top of AI when you think about the channel aspect of this,” said Hicks in an interview with CRN during Red Hat Summit 2023 in Boston this week. “From understanding your customers’ data and what is theirs and how you train on that data without putting it in the public domain to how to take recommendations that you might get from a model and know where they originated from so that it’s OK to include in your own products or not include in your own product.”

Hicks said Red Hat’s AI capabilities around training environments and accelerating development projects into production are some big managed services revenue opportunities for channel partners.

[Related: Red Hat CEO Keynote: 5 Boldest Remarks On AI, New Products]

“When you look at the whole class of ecosystem that’ll be built around AI, it’ll be one of the most exciting ecosystem shuffles in adding value that we’ve seen. It’s exciting because we want to bring some consistency to it so that all of these new partners and partner types can add value and do it really quickly,” Red Hat’s CEO said. “They know the foundation. Their work can span from production environments to where you trained it.”ADVERTISEMENT

Hicks said Red Hat is nearly always partner-focused, “Whether it’s partners adding workloads, partners managing it, partners’ deployment of it—partners are that last mile link for us.”

Red Hat Partner CTS Bullish On AI

Converge Technology Solutions (CTS) is a $3 billion solution provider that’s been a Red Hat partner since 2017.

The Toronto-based company said Red Hat is focused on bringing efficiency and repeatability to AI workload deployments and lifecycle management.

“Red Hat provides that substrate for an operating platform for AI workloads,” said CTS’ Greg Rhoades, the company’s chief technology officer in the U.S. “They’ve recently partnered more with IBM to bring some of the additional technologies on top of those things. But the beauty of the Red Hat platform is that it really does stretch across any location where customer needs to run AI functionality.”

CTS has an entire data science group that focuses on the science around AI, machine learning and deep leaning technology.

Andrew Tenaglia, vice president of app modernization for CTS, said with Red Hat doubling down on forming new partnerships with vendors like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, the company’s future in AI looks bright.

Red Hat’s New Event-Driven Ansible

One offering CTS is bullish about is Red Hat’s new Event-Driven Ansible as part of Ansible Automation Platform 2.4.

Red Hat’s new Event-Driven Ansible looks to expand how users activate automation across hybrid cloud. It aims to reduce the risk of IT infrastructure errors and degradation; conserve resources and free IT workers for logic, application quality improvements; speeds up deployments; and connects infrastructure and application observability tools.

“Event-Driven Ansible is one that we’re definitely interested in because we’re doing a lot in the AIOps space around the health, reducing mean time, to identification of mean time, to resolution of customers operational challenges—we can identify those issues with an AIOps platform like Dynatrace, but having Ansible in the mix to then actually take action is huge,” said Tenaglia. “So you’re not waking up a system administrator at 2am the morning to fix the issue that’s identified by Dynatrace. It will replace that 2a.m. call.”

CTS said Ansible was an automation platform that was initiated always by an individual or a workflow. “It wasn’t responding to an environmental event within an organization. This changes that,” said CTS’ Rhoades. “So it completely provides an entire new landscape for Ansible automation to be meaningful in an organization, maybe more so than the configuration management or provisioning side of what Ansible typically has done.”

Red Hat Summit AI Innovation

At the Red Hat Summit in Boston this week, the company injected new generative AI into Ansible Lightspeed with IBM Watson Code Assistant. Lightspeed promises more consistent, more accurate and faster automation adoption across organizations. It leverages natural language processing and integrates with Watson Code Assistant to access IBM Foundation Models built on Red Hat OpenShift.

Additionally, Red Hat launched a new Developer Hub that enables partners to build a world-class developer portal. The new developer hub provides curated tools, languages and resources with the promise of better applications and reduced friction across environments such as Kubernetes and Red Hat’s OpenShift.

Overall, Red Hat’s CEO said being an open-source market leader in the new era of AI will lead to huge opportunities for partners.

“Partners will surround everything we do, every single partner type, and that’s been true from the days of Linux. It could never be more true than in the AI moment right now,” said Hicks. “Red Hat does a good job of staying in our swim lane and we let partners add value around it. It’s going to be an exciting time for partners because they’ll be in the last mile. There’ll be with customers. They’ll know the customer challenges and we can hopefully help them get there faster.”LEARN MORE: AI  | Generative AI 

 Learn About Mark Haranas


Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at [email protected].


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