Red Hat Summit: Where Open Source Meets AI

Here's why Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks claims open source is the best model for AI.

5 Min Read
Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks on stage at Red Hat Summit 2024 in Denver, May 7.

RED HAT SUMMIT — Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks made it clear that he and his company is all-in on artificial intelligence (AI) during the Red Hat Summit opening keynote in Denver on Tuesday. AI dominated Red Hat’s product launches, and Hicks spent his part of the keynote evangelizing AI and the role open-source technology will play in advancing AI.

“This year’s Summit is going to home in on the intersection of open source and AI,” Hicks said at the start of his keynote address.

While AI was not the only major theme of Red Hat Summit 2023, Hicks said “the rate of innovation has only accelerated every month, every week, every hour.”

Perhaps mindful of claims that AI is overhyped and has its drawbacks, Hicks addressed the possibility that not all Red Hat Summit attendees share his optimism. But he said he hopes they will by the end of the conference.

“I know that some of you might be all-in on AI, while some of you are still skeptical,” he said. “But this technology isn't going away. And as the open-source element expands, it will be a force multiplier. We need to figure out how to make it work best for you. I believe open source is the best model to be able to do this. We are fortunate that we get to be part of one huge technology, and I feel fortunate to be experiencing the convergence of AI and open source. I hope by the end of the Summit that feeling will also be shared by many of you.”

Related:10 Channel-Impacting AI Predictions for 2024

Red Hat Summit Emphasizes AI Ecosystem

Red Hat’s own AI technology featured prominently in Red Hat Summit product launches. But as with any open-source software, the success of those products will also rely on partners.

“I think this is a safe prediction: AI won't be built by a single vendor and it won’t revolve around a single monolithic model,” Hicks said. “Your choice of where to run AI will be everywhere. And it's going to be based on open source.”

Red Hat Summit news included partners Intel, Nvidia, AMD and Oracle. Dell and Nvidia representatives appeared onstage as part of the Red Hat Summit opening keynote, and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger took part in a live virtual interview.

“We're a platform company and proud of it,” said Stefanie Chiras, Red Hat SVP of partner ecosystem success. “So everything we're announcing has been designed to understand and unleash the flexibility of the ecosystem. That has always been our approach. Now, in the age of AI, ecosystem is more important, more dynamic and more extensive. We've already heard how AI is the ultimate workload for hybrid cloud; therefore, it is the ultimate workflow for ecosystems collaboration. AI outcomes are driven by the whole IT stack, from silicon to application.”

Related:Red Hat Summit: Nvidia Partnership, OpenShift on Oracle Cloud

Red Hat launched Red Hat Enterprise Linux AI (RHEL AI) at the Summit, providing a foundation model platform for developing, testing and deploying generative AI models. 

Red Hat also expanded its Red Hat Lightspeed generative AI capabilities across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, introduced gen AI to its Konveyor open-source community project, and unveiled Podman AI Lab for developers. You can read about the Red Hat Summit product news here.

AI & Red Hat Partners

AI “is the word on everyone’s lips," said Fevzi Konduk, the vendor’s head of software and ISV partners, EMEA.

With AI comes “a new, different ecosystem emerging with the technology shift,” Konduk told Channel Futures. “We are committed to and in many cases already working with these new partners.”

To that end, Red Hat has unveiled a series of partnerships that enable enterprises to leverage AI.

Konduk said it takes various types of partners to bring AI capabilities together.

Red Hat's Fevzi Konduk

“AI connects our hardware partners with MLOps (machine learning operations) partners, with systems integrators and ISVs (independent software vendors) and so on, thanks to a symbiotic ecosystem. Products like Red Hat OpenShift AI help connect the entire ecosystem to leverage diverse capabilities and deliver on the AI needs of our joint customers.”

“Red Hat is focusing on the partner ecosystem as a catalyst for open-source innovation,” added Erica Langhi, associate principal solution architect, Red Hat. “Our partner ecosystem is equipped to create end-to-end AI solutions for customers across any cloud, data center or network edge. We are excited to see our diverse ecosystem of ISVs and hardware partners as well as systems integrators helping us deliver AI-infused solutions for our customers."

Red Hat Enterprise Linux AI ‘Democratizing AI’

Konduk said from the news unveiled at Red Hat Summit this week, the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux AI (RHEL AI) is closest to his heart. A foundation model platform, it enables users to more seamlessly develop, test and deploy generative AI (gen AI) models.

“Bringing together the power of LLM [large language models] and inferencing made so simple, even a small team of one to three engineers can add powerful AI capabilities to their organisation. It will truly help democratize AI and deliver power and innovation through the Granite [LLM] family and ultimately immense value to the market, he said.

“Everyone, and especially our partners, will have the capacity to contribute to AI in some way,” said Langhi.

Red Hat's Erica Langhi

Langhi also pointed to Red Hat’s strengthening of its partnerships with Intel, AMD and Nvidia.

“The significance of hardware accelerators in driving innovation and pushing the boundaries of AI capabilities cannot be overstated. As each customer can have a preference for a specific hardware vendor, our partnerships with Intel, Nvidia and AMD help provide that choice in the market," she said.

Partners Pay Key Role In Delivering Value

Konduk maintained that there is no one-size-fits-all AI solution.

“But rather the way that organizations blend and combine different techniques and tools available in the AI market is ultimately their differentiator. And this is where our partners play a key role, helping deliver unique value to each customer,” he said.

Konduk said Red Hat is “deeply committed to further enhancing the partner experience, ensuring that our collaboration continues to flourish. Our recent introduction of the Partner Practice Accelerator Program is a good example of this, placing more resources and professional development opportunities in the hands of our partners.”

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About the Author(s)

Dave Raffo

MSP News Editor, Channel Futures

Dave Raffo has written about IT for more than two decades, focusing mainly on data storage, data center infrastructure and public cloud. He was a news editor and editorial director at TechTarget’s storage group for 13 years, news editor for storage-centric Byte and Switch, and a research analyst for Evaluator Group. In addition to covering news and writing in-depth features and columns, Dave has moderated panels at tech conferences. While at TechTarget, Raffo Dave won several American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards for writing and editing, including for column writing.

Raffo covers the managed services industry for Channel Futures. His reporting beat includes the MSPs, key vendors and tech suppliers with managed services programs, platform providers, distributors and all key players in this sector of the market. Dave also works closely on the Channel Futures MSP 501 and our live events.

Raffo has also worked for United Press International, EdTech magazine, Windows Magazine and Data Center Intelligence Group (DCIG) in reporting, editing and research analyst roles.

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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