Enterprise Linux Log

Jun 23 2010   4:50PM GMT

Red Hat against customer lock-in, except where Cisco is concerned


Blog post written by Bridget Botelho, Senior News Writer

At the Red Hat Summit 2010 in Boston Wednesday, Paul Cormier, executive VP and President of Red Hat products and technologies took the stage and made it his order of business to bash Oracle Corp.’s strategy of delivering a full stack, including hardware with the recent Sun Microsystems acquisition.
Cormier said Oracle’s strategy is retro 1980’s, and not in a good way; that was a time when vendors unabashedley delivered hardware, OSes, middleware and applications that weren’t interoperable to lock customers in. Of course, Red Hat’s whole story is about openness, cross-platform support and giving customers choice and they sell their anti-lock-in model to customers who loathe the idea of being strapped to a single vendor.

Oddly enough though, in the next breath Cormier introduced Ed Bugnion, VP and CTO of Cisco Systems’ server and virtualization access division. Bugnion used his 30 minutes on the soap box to pitch the value of Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), a box that contains Cisco hardware and networking gear and is a frequent target of lock-in complaints.

The transition from Red Hat executives championing openness to Cisco selling users on a system that epitomizes lock-in was, in the kindest of terms, ironic. Some might even spell hypocritical R-E-D-H-A-T.

From what I could tell, the attendees who Red Hat “locked-in” to Cisco’s sales pitch were just as confused as I was. People were fidgeting and looking at one another for help. People stood up and left. One attendee who wished not to be named said he tuned out the entire Cisco portion of the keynote because he didn’t attend the Red Hat Summit, which is traditionally a user-centric show, to listen to vendor bias.

Another attendee, Paul Hall, a Linux server administrator said “I sat through the keynote shaking my head. Too many sales goons. Feels like no techie stuff.”

Of course, Red Hat needs to appease its partners and let them do their thing, it’s good business sense, but open source users look to Linux and Red Hat to spare them from commercialism. Apparently, there is no escaping it anymore.

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