Growth of New-age Technologies Driving Interest in Open Source: Red Hat

Several institutes in India are opting to include Open Source in their curriculum

Amarjeet Manchanda, Director - Solutions Architecture, Red Hat India & South Asia.

Red Hat's open source products connect data, applications, APIs, and devices. Integrating all this across the enterprise is key to business transformation and connects how things are and how they could be.

Red Hat talks' center around "open source," a proven way of collaborating to create technology. The freedom to see the code, to learn from it, to ask questions and offer improvements: This is the open source way.

Amarjeet Manchanda, Director - Solutions Architecture, Red Hat India & South Asia, in conversation with Pradeep Chakraborty. Excerpts:

BW CIO: How has the journey been, so far, for Open Source in India?

Amarjeet Manchanda: Open Source is an idea whose time has come! It has come a long way from being used only for cost benefits to being an integral part of business strategies that drive digital innovation, agility and efficiency. Open source has transformed industries and empowered enterprises to innovate faster compared to a proprietary software.

The introduction of a well-defined Open Source policy and its successful embracement by the Government of India has further boosted the adoption and has helped even the skeptical users to freely adopt the technology.

We recently commissioned Forrester to do a survey with CIOs in Asia Pacific and the findings were insightful. Fifty-one percent of respondents from India report that their organizations have implemented open source solution and forty nine percent of respondents plan to expand/implement open source solutions within the next 12 months.

BW CIO: How is Open Source driving the next leg of Digital Progression in India through scalable solutions?

Amarjeet Manchanda: Open Source, through its core belief of fostering innovation through collaboration has been a catalyst for digital disruption across the globe. It would be impossible to get through a day without using a fair amount of open source.

For instance, and in all likelihood, if you go on the web, the things you are touching [by browsing, streaming or chatting] are built using open source softwares (OSS); if you get money out of an ATM/cash machine, you are going to hit some banking systems built on open source. It has made way for many technological advances like AI, IoT, Blockchain and transformational trends like DevOps, Cloud.

Open Source is about freedom – freedom of choice. Besides lower infrastructure and software costs, OSS allows enterprises and developers to innovate in a scalable, open and flexible environment. It gives them architectural control unlike proprietary software. It enables enterprises and governments to avoid vendor lock-in while leveraging their existing IT infrastructure and applications, often building a hybrid cloud, or even running highly agile and scalable micro services.

BW CIO: How is Open Source helping the Govt. of India in programs such as Make in India, aimed at boosting the manufacturing sector, and Digital India, focused on creating digital infrastructure, digital delivery of services and increased digital literacy?

Amarjeet Manchanda: Governance requires an open platform through which it can reach the citizens easily, timely and effectively. Open source innovation has led to greater citizen participation and contribution in open government initiatives around the world.

The Indian Government has launched several new initiatives in the last two years like Start-up India, Digital India, Smart Cities, Skill India to name a few. We see great opportunity in the India market and we continue to look for opportunities to partner and work with the government.

In fact, Open Source has already been embraced in a big way— the Aadhaar project is a case in point. UIDAI is built on an open, scalable and secure architecture to meet the needs of Aadhaar project.

Similarly, by using Red Hat technology, IRCTC was able to increase the capacity to book tickets from 2,000 to 10,000 per minute in just six weeks improving the ease of ticket bookings on the website. Other examples are EPFO, MyGov etc. where Red Hat continues to help the government design solutions based on Open Source.

BW CIO: What are the opportunities and key industry segments for Red Hat in India?

Amarjeet Manchanda: Growth of new-age technologies is driving interest in Open Source to a large extent. Red Hat is expanding its footprint in India with a goal of supporting interest for open source solutions and services from customers and partners and further promoting the benefits open source solutions can offer enterprises in India.

We are excited about the opportunities in India and work closely in with key industry segments such as – telecom, BFSI, IT/ITeS, manufacturing and government.

Today, several institutes are opting to include Open Source in their curriculum. As a pioneer and a leader in open source, Red Hat offers courses and certifications covering everything from systems administration to enterprise application development. Today, more than 100 colleges and universities like Amity University, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University in the last one year have signed up as Red Hat Academy.

Red Hat is also constantly working with the open source community in India as well as a rich portfolio of partners to help architect, build and deploy solutions for customers around open source.

BW CIO: What is Red Hat’s go-to-market approach in India?

Amarjeet Manchanda: Red Hat in India has a partner-enabled go-to-market model and works with reputed names such as Kryptos, Newgen, Wipro, TCS, Tech Mahindra, HCL, IBM, AWS, Cisco, HP, Dell, Infosys and Ingram.

We have our sales team in metros (Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai) and are investing in people and partners to meet customer interest in other cities, such as Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore and neighboring countries (Sri Lanka and Bangladesh).

We roll out several marketing initiatives targeting our partners and customers in these cities. To cite an example, we recently launched a campaign called Tech Yatra, which gave platform to our partners and customers to come together, learn and explore the power of open source solutions.

BW CIO: Can you tell us about Red Hat’s clients in India?

Amarjeet Manchanda: We aim to work closely with enterprises (large and small), public sector customers, government and their ecosystem, and support them in their digital transformation journey. In line with this, we work with several ISVs, business partners, enterprises and government.

We maintain a healthy pipeline of customers across our four key verticals: government, BFSI, Manufacturing, telecommunications - to name a few - Tata Sky, BSE, TimesofMoney, IRCTC, EPFO, UIDAI, DPLI and many more.

BW CIO: Why do Indian startups need to embrace open source. What are its long-term benefits?

Amarjeet Manchanda: India has seen a rapidly growing startup industry in the last few years. As per the Economic Survey 2015-16, released by the Government, the number of start-ups in India was more than 19,000. We realize that start-ups need to work in a flexible and agile environment, which doesn’t cost them lock-ins.

Such companies need to ensure that their core structure is easily scalable when required and at the same time is cost effective so that the infrastructure is set up within a workable budget.

Open source technologies are the most suitable for startups as they tick all these boxes and much more. Open source software like Linux or Open Hybrid cloud help innumerable start-ups in gaining an edge over their competition. Red Hat, being the leading open source provider, becomes a go-to company for all such deployment conversations as it provides startups with scalable solutions that is built on a strong IT foundation.

BW CIO: How do volunteers that contribute to projects in order to build their network and bring about social good fuel the Open Source Movement?

Amarjeet Manchanda: The Open Source Movement has led to major changes across the globe such as motivating budding entrepreneurs to start their own ventures. There is also an abundance of Open Source projects across the world such as HFOSS that address various issues such as human rights, literacy etc. thus impacting thousands of lives daily.

The volunteers that openly collaborate, do so to not only grow their network but also because they believe in the social good that it brings about in the world. Open Source through its cost-effective mechanism is the ideal tool that can bridge the digital divide in a country.

By adding their contribution to the source code, volunteers not only help in building a non-existent solution to a problem, they also help in showcasing the various case studies that the solution can be deployed. Not to forget that this also fosters real innovation as well as one of the swiftest and widest collaborations in the event of large scale or global threats.

Red Hat, being part of such a community, is constantly collaborating with such volunteers as well as a rich portfolio of technology partners to help architect, build and deploy open source solutions for customers.

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