Kelly: Good afternoon everyone and thanks for listening to open source architect where we speak open source. This is Kelly coming at you from New Orleans where we have been enjoying this 2016 Red Hat North America Partner Conference. Today we have the privilege of speaking with the lively, John Ryan representing Ansible and Red Hat. So if you’re familiar with “Wedding Crashers” then you’re about to find out why his name is so fitting. John and I became acquainted here at the conference and let me tell you he is an idea man and he thrives on enthusiasm. Thanks for sneaking away from the fun to speak open source with us today John.
John: Glad to be here Kelly.
Kelly: Great so tell us a little bit about your role with Red Hat?
John: So my role at Red Hat as you may know, Ansible got acquired by Red Hat in October of last year and my role is really continuing on I head up channels and alliances for Ansible now it’s Ansible by Red Hat. And that includes, working not only with the technology partners such as the cloud providers like Azure or AWS Google, but also working with networking companies like Cisco and Arista & Juniper, Docker, the Dev-Ops, ISV’s. And with a major focus this year on really building our channel partner program and partners including systems integrators and boutique consulting firms.
Kelly: Sounds like it has been a busy year. So how does it feel being back at Red Hat and how do you feel about the acquisition?
John: Yeah it’s been terrific so yeah I was at Red Hat back in 2011 and 2012. I previously ran the global IBM partnership for Red Hat and I joined Ansible in February of last year 2015 and part of that was I knew our chief operating officer, I had worked with her at Red Hat. And I’d say most of the leadership at Red Hat, excuse me, at Ansible came from Red Hat so it’s, so it’s also great to be back and it’s really neat in particular here at the national North American Partner Conference having seen a lot of friends heck, I forgot how many people I knew at Red Hat. The neat thing about is just from a fit standpoint, it’s a great cultural fit, it’s a great product fit we’ll talk a bit more about and obviously the location is awesome. I relocated from Atlanta to Raleigh and the funny thing is we bought our house and it’s halfway between the Ansible office in Durham and the Red Hat office down in Raleigh.
Kelly: You know I’ve been to Atlanta but I’ve never actually been to Raleigh or Durham but, I hear they are beautiful locations. So Ansible is known as “Automation for Everyone”, elaborate a little on this and how you guys fit in with the whole Red Hat Dev-Ops story.
John: Terrific, yeah so thanks for doing your homework by the way.
Kelly: Yes I have!
John: So Ansible when we mean “Automation for everyone” Ansible is really just architecturally different than some of the other products that are out there so it’s, we refer to it as sap like a tree so it’s simple you don’t need to be a developer or know Ruby or Python unlike some of the competitive products out there. It’s agentless so you don’t need to put any agents out on your end points nor have them pull from a central repository so there’s a lot of complexity in having an aging infrastructure and also it’ll potentially introduce security vulnerabilities and whatnot.
Kelly: You are creative man, any analogies that you could relate to us besides the sap from a tree? That basically tell us a little bit about the relationship between Ansible and Red Hat or how about for an Ansible and OpenShift.
John: Yeah no great and yes as far as the Ansible fit within Red Hat so, Red Hat was actually an Ansible customer. Internally they use Red Hat IT still uses Ansible and Ansible tower to run their IT infrastructure. And then actually as of OpenShift Version 3 which, I believe was announced or shipped last summer at a Red Hat summit. Ansible was actually the installer and configured an installation package for, for OpenShift. And as far as like the overall Dev-Ops message it’s, it’s really complimentary so you know not only is Ansible integrated in with OpenShift but, Ansible allows you to not only automate kind of new workloads or containerized that you may use for with an OpenShift platform. But also allows you to automate your legacy infrastructure so it’s a very simple but powerful scripting and automation language. So it really lends itself beautifully whether you’re running workloads automating kind of existing processes on your IT infrastructure or even networking which we will talk about a little bit. But also if you’re moving workloads to the Cloud we have a lot of customers that are using Ansible to manage AWS and Azure and Google. And then it really complements the overall platform story giving a lot of choice and we think you know as does IDC, I believe 70% percent of the market are customers in 2016 are going to be some type of hybrid architecture.
Kelly: Wow ok so I’m sure you know there’s there’s all this hype around Ansible and OpenShift and in our opinion it’s not just hype though. Give us the real rundown on why folks should choose Ansible over the other technologies such as Puppet or Chef.
John: Yeah that’s a great question and I’d actually say that we really complement each other’s technologies soas a matter of fact, we have a lot of great customers that are using both Ansible and Chef or, or puppet. So I’d say and you know the markets really said that hey Puppet and Chef are really great first generation configuration management platforms. So if customers are currently doing that we have customers are using Ansible to basically do application deployment and automation and orchestration on top of that for their infrastructure. Matter of fact (at last the end) of which is one of the largest development platforms in application lifecycle management companies out there, use, actually there’s a great blog called “Practical Continuous Development”. They they use Puppet and then they use Ansible to basically automate on top of that. So if a company doesn’t have a configuration management solution then Ansible is really great for providing all of that but they really complement each other so. Yeah no if customers have say Chef or Puppet and it depends on kind of where there’s a lot of companies that are using different departments will use different tools. So you know a lot of large enterprise, several several have got have you know technologies and figure out what they’re going to do in a bigger scale. We’re starting to see some really large basically replacements from you know from those legacy vendors as they’re getting more into Dev-Ops and they’re moving broader than just like their first I guess, experiment around around this environment and really doing it more organizationally and really trying to become more of an agile business and looking at it not just on a per project or per department but looking at it throughout you know how they’re doing application development. Where you know agile is now merging with Dev-Ops so they’re looking at that more holistically as a company so basically business and IT can collaborate more closely together and IT between development and operations can not only develop faster, they can deploy faster so it’s nice kind of virtuous cycle.
Kelly: Ok ok. So what are some stirring features that you’re excited about with Ansible? Is there anything new that we should be on the look-out for, that you can tell us?
John: Absolutely, yes so I guess I’d like to highlight our recent announcement which was last month about in the network automation space so Ansible, this is just to kind of recap, their Ansible, we have the community open source project and tool and then Ansible tower which is our enterprise platform that basically provides you know sits on top of that, that provides all the enterprise features that you would want it’s really a multi user platform versus a single user CLI base tool. So it provides things like role base access and a graphical user interface, compliance you can say hey who ran what, when, do with it within your infrastructure. The exciting news was we announced Ansible for network automation and so we included a lot of new features within Ansible Core, the product as a technical preview. And we had a lot of contributions from Arista, Cisco, Juniper Networks and Cumulus so again one of the reasons why Ansible is so popular in the networking space is the same reason sap right it’s simple, it’s agentless and it’s also pushed so typically we communicate over SSH or we use, in Microsoft environments we’ll use WINRM and PowerShell. But yeah the when you get you when you don’t have to touch your switches or your devices and put you know agents on there. And also it the push type of technology versus a pull say which Puppet or a Chef uses, really lends itself to how network engineers basically manage their current networking infrastructure. So definitely check out the technical preview and yeah we’re excited to be working with partners in that space as well.
Kelly: Well we’re excited too then. So speaking of partners how do partners like say you know Open Source Architect, provide value to your customers?
John: Yeah great question and I guess one of the things that is there’s a I saw a Gartner survey around Dev-Ops from the fall last year and literally 60% and I think it was broken down 30% of companies are already doing some type of Dev-Ops, another 30% is looking at doing it shortly, the other 40% who aren’t are probably going to get their lunch eaten by the 60%. But it’s a really basically all companies are kind of going through this large transformation and again you know Dev-Ops is a bit of an overhyped term but it’s really this whole agile environment to development to deployment and bringing you know your teams together and you know it’s really driven by everything’s becoming software defined with an API’s and Ansible and our red hat portfolio products just happen to allow you to like you to kind of glue a lot of these things together and automate him. So the exciting thing is I think for partners is there’s a lot of opportunity. You know it comes down to you know people systems and processes. And a lot of it is just really cultural change and process change within within companies. And so we’re selling to a different type of audience typically. So we’re and there’s a lot of especially in that these these new environments there’s a lot of different tools involved so. I believe you guys are also CloudBees partners and their partnered with Ansible so there’s a lot of complimentary tools and whether it’s application performance management, which we work really well with or source control management like a GitHub or Atlassian and so all of these nice tools play play well together and you know in this space. But they really need expertise from partners like yourself that can basically help pull those together around a project and help implement those to customers.
Kelly: Right and just make it overall an enjoyable transition.
Kelly: All right. Anything you’d like to add before we head back to the next conference fun?
John: Well I would just say it’s been a pleasure here. We wish you luck and thanks for being our partner.
Kelly: Well we look forward to working with you John and we appreciate you giving our listeners some excellent content so they can make the best strategic decision for their business model.