Red Hat at the Red Hat Summit 2018 conference this week showed a technology preview of an instance of Red Hat Insights, a predictive analytics IT management application capable of identifying operations issues before they become a problem, running as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application.
The instance of Red Hat Insights will be extended to apply analytics to any infrastructure platform. Red Hat plans to eventually make the rest of its IT management portfolio available as a cloud service.
Joe Fitzgerald, vice president and general manager for management at Red Hat, said the goal is to enable management of virtual machines, container, infrastructure-as-a-service and physical servers all from a single pane of glass.
Cost analytics also will be embedded in those services, adds Fitzgerald. Cost is now a much bigger issue because cloud service providers bill customers based on actual consumption. Previously, a virtual machine left running on an on-premises server might result in someone being yelled at, but no additional cost, notes Fitzgerald. Now, however, if an IT organization doesn’t turn off those virtual machines, it will end up paying more.
Fitzgerald noted that management of IT operations is becoming increasingly automated. Red Hat is now adding integrations with the agentless Ansible framework it acquired in 2015 at rate of 50 a week. There already are 1,600 integrations with Ansible. He said the fact that Ansible presents IT operations teams with a declarative approach to automating IT using YAML files makes IT automation much more accessible. Other frameworks require IT operations teams to learn how to program, which becomes a significant barrier to adoption, but YAML files allow IT operations teams to make use of familiar shell scripts.
Many organizations now are moving up the IT management curve as applications become more distributed, Fitzgerald said. Every platform they have comes with its own management tools. But the need for a control plane through which multiple platforms can be centrally managed is now becoming more evident, he said, especially as IT organizations realize they will be running many different types of platforms for many years to come.
Other benefits to shifting IT management into the cloud is that the move eliminates the need to deploy a local server just to run IT management software and all updates to the IT management platform are provided by the applications provider.
Obviously, Red Hat is not the only IT vendor building a centralized, cloud-based approach to managing distributed computing environments. But as Ansible becomes more widely adopted, the opportunity arises for Red Hat to engage in a broader IT management conversation with IT organizations.
Most enterprise IT organizations are rapidly approaching something of an IT management crisis. Each platform adopted creates yet another silo that makes adopting integrated DevOps processes even more challenging. While most organizations are not likely to abandon the management tools from the vendors that built those platforms, IT organizations are demanding thet underlying infrastructure exposes an application programming interface (API). In fact, it’s the proliferation of all that software-defined infrastructure that now makes it feasible to centralize the management of IT in the cloud.