Last week we attended the Red Hat Forum Netherlands 2019 in Utrecht. The Red Hat Forum is an annual event organised to bring users and partners together and share the latest Red Hat insights with them. Previous editions were held for the Benelux, but since Red Hat is growing, so are the number of users and partners. That’s why this year, Red Hat decided to host an event in the Netherlands and Belgium. A decision that turned out well with over 950 attendees at the Red Hat Forum Netherlands and 400 attendees in Brussel.

The tagline of the conference was: Expand your possibilities, which fits perfectly with the recent developments of Red Hat technology. During the presentations of Red Hat employees and users, they showed us how we could use Red Hat products for this purpose.

Collaborate to innovate with Red Hat technologies

In the morning keynotes, Stephanie Chiras opened her Bold ideas talk by explaining how the OpenShift 4 update pushed their product developers to think big. Some improvements in the new release are integrated CoreOS based upon REL and simplified software operations. These improvements ease the operational burden and let developers work more efficient and flexible. OpenShift 4 allows developers to automate their workflow and improve application management to deliver more efficiency and scaling to companies. One of the most talked-about topics in the industry at this moment.

Stephanie also highlighted the extra value in the Enterprise OpenShift offering, which is worth a mention. The product developers spend a lot of time on improving Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 to give OpenShift 4:

  • Red Hat insights
  • Image builder
  • An improved web console
  • Application streams
  • Container tools
  • Red Hat UBI

Mattias Sauder from VodafoneZiggo explained to us that their focus was to improve and create a seamless customer experience on the road to 4G. The new strategy to reach this goal involved agile (or DevOps) working. And while they are still on their way to DevOps, he shared some of their breaking points with us. For one, it is complicated to achieve an agile development cycle. That’s why they reached out to partners to help them implement automation and agility. Without help or outsourcing, it takes a lot of time and effort to implement DevOps.

Happy developers = happy code

For me, the most exciting presentation during the opening keynotes was by Jeroen Wolff. He discussed why the Dutch tax office implemented OpenShift. And the main reason is one all developers struggle with: they had to wait all the time whether it was on information or access to files, tools and logs. The biggest frustrations for developers is that they do not have access, work with old tools, aren’t allowed to do things due to policies and compliance, have to find workarounds which are not safe or stable and in the end develop projects too slow.

However, as he stated: unhappy developers = unhappy code. If companies enable developers to work faster, the results will be better. Faster working equals more success because the idea of the developer can be implemented and perfectioned while it is still fresh. This keeps creators in their flow, while disruption equals losing time and thoughts. For the Dutch tax office, OpenShift helped to take away the frustrations of developers by enabling an instant feedback development cycle, better collaboration between departments, faster working and better tools.


The importance of developers and OpenShift

A recipe for enabling people, process and technology, that’s what Stefan van Oirschot (Red Hat) gave us during his presentation. The key to this is an excellent platform; however, what is a good platform for your company? First of all, you have to think about the basics. Do you want to build your platform yourself or buy it as-a-service? And do your applications need an enterprise solution or open-source? If you’ve figured this out, it is time to look at the capabilities of a modern-day platform that enables people, process and technology. Such a platform needs to provide:

  • Rolling deployments
  • Automated scaling
  • Reliability, security and confidence
  • An infrastructure agnostic platform
  • Automated operations
Since we are at a Red Hat Forum, it comes as no surprise that you can find all of these elements in OpenShift. Essentially, in the opinion of Red Hat, a good platform is self-service, enables automation and CI/CD, runs containers and is provided as-a-service.
According to Gartner, in 2019, 30% of the developers use containers in production. The main reason for developers to use containers is to work faster and speed up innovation. Faster innovation is needed to stay ahead of the competition. Graham Berry (Red Hat) explains the importance of developers and containers for enterprise innovation. In essence, it came down to showing the attendees why Red Hat accelerates in helping IT evolve. Again, there is a significant role for OpenShift during this presentation.

I will not bore you with all the details, just a quick summary. Red Hat’s OpenShift seems to be the right choice when it comes to choosing a container platform because:

  • Their product development team is a leading Kubernetes developer and contributor with +4 years of experience with Kubernetes
  • OpenShift makes container development easy, reliable and secure
  • The platform has over +1.000 customers
  • OpenShift developers choose the best CNCF projects and integrate them within the platform
  • The platform gives you the ability to enjoy a cloud-like experience anywhere
As expected, they showcased a lot of their technologies and what and what you can expect from them (expand your possibilities ;-)). It was interesting to see how OpenShift is implemented in the Dutch tax office and that Red Hat is trying to improve the developer experience with every step of the way. If you stop thinking about the technology part and start thinking about interesting takeaways, you can say that the forum made me rethink the way developers work and what they need to accelerate. And developers that accelerate aren’t just happy doing what they do; your company will benefit enormously as well.