An IT Optimization Podcast with Adam Clater

Red Hat’s Chief Architect, Adam Clater, who works internationally with federal agencies, integrators and Red Hat partners & Communities, sat down with our Red Hat Sales Director, Rich Savage to record this short, 8-minute podcast. They discussed IT optimization, the Red Hat solutions that enable it, and the benefits modernizing provides to your agency.


Podcast


  • Full Transcription

    Rich Savage: Hello, everyone. I'd like to thank you all for joining our podcast today to take a deeper dive into IT optimization with Red Hat and the public sector. I'm Rich Savage with the Red Hat team at Carahsoft and I'm here today with Red Hat's Adam Clater, chief architect for the public sector. Thank you for joining us today, Adam.

    Adam Clater: Hey, no problem. Thanks for having me here. It's a real pleasure to be at Carahsoft.

    Rich Savage: So, the team at Carahsoft often receives many questions from our government customers asking what IT optimization is, how Red Hat solutions enable it, and aside from mandates, what benefits will their agency ultimately realize. So, for our listeners, Adam, let me start by asking you a couple of questions here. Why is constant IT optimization critical for our government agencies?

    Adam Clater: There are three things that I really want to highlight as to why we have this constant need for optimization. First is the constant state of technology change. Gone are the days of building something for a mainframe or legacy UNIX system and just leaving it there for 10 or 20 years. We're now experiencing a much faster rate of change in the IT world where we've had introductions of things like Windows workloads, Linux workloads, virtualization, and now containerization. So that's really the first one.

    The second thing that's forcing this IT optimization and change is really the expectation of the government consumers. Gone are the days of filling out a paper and sending it in and licking a stamp and all those things. People expect to do things online. They expect an experience that's much more akin to what they get from a Facebook or an Amazon. And fundamentally, the federal government wasn't prepared for that 10, 15 years ago and in many cases, not even prepared for that now.

    The third thing that's really driving a lot of that change is the constantly changing workforce that the federal government is dealing with. And so, whether it'd be new folks coming in or old folks moving off and retiring and going off into the sunset for their greater years, that change is also bringing new ideas, new thoughts, new leadership into the government, which is also mandating a bit of change as well.

    Rich Savage: No, that's great. Actually, that segues perfectly into my next question. And you alluded to it a little bit earlier in your previous statement. What challenges are you seeing today with government agencies as they try to optimize their IT environments?

    Adam Clater: Yeah. You know, it's funny. A lot of government agencies are adopting newer technologies. And while they may not always have the skillsets, we are seeing folks coming on with skillsets or even re-skilling existing folks for those organizations. Technology can be difficult but it's certainly not the hardest part of this adoption. There are, of course, procurement issues and everything else, which I'm sure you guys interact with on a regular basis. For us at Red Hat though, the thing that we really see a lot of and the thing that I'm really focused on this year especially is the idea of the cultural change that has to take place within an organization to really adopt these new technologies and align them with things like agile software development, lean management, and other practices that may not have always been front of mind for the federal government, but which are in fact being mandated by things like FITARA and others. And so, it's really that adoption and helping the government build those teams, those high functioning teams as we like to say, for executing on those demands is a big focus.

    Rich Savage: And what are some of the tools from Red Hat that you are seeing helping customers accomplish this?

    Adam Clater: Sure. So, I think everyone knows Red Hat for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The security aspects of Red Hat Enterprise Linux are well known. RHEL, as we call it, has been through Common Criteria certification more than any other operating system in the world. So that makes a great baseline for organizations that are really beginning to build these new technologies. All of that security apparatus, though, that's built into the operating system also surfaces itself in our container platform, which is known as OpenShift. And OpenShift is really becoming a bit of a de facto standard as well throughout the government for implementing containers and Kubernetes, which is the standard for orchestration of containers at large.

    So, those are two of the big technology components. The third I would say is probably Ansible. Ansible is our automation language, which is key for automating all of the things throughout the data center. If you can talk to it via an API or Win RMI or even via an SSH connection then Ansible has the ability to automate that piece of software, hardware functionality within the data center, which is crucial. So we build all of these together, right? We standardize on our operating system, we automate as many things as we can, and then we move into this world of containerization across the data center or potentially across multiple clouds as well.

    Rich Savage: That's great. So I think for customers that are looking to engage with Red Hat and they want to start leveraging the open-source technologies that Red Hat has to offer, where would you offer that they start?

    Adam Clater: Sure. So getting started, I think a lot of folks are beginning to think about moving into cloud. Or they have moved into cloud or they're in the process of moving into cloud. And so, a lot of that starts with automating the data center and automating their way into a cloud. So implementing something simple like Ansible for automating those workloads is key. And that's really the first step for a lot of customers, either automating workloads or standardizing on sort of the platform operating system.

    As customers move through that journey though, it takes more than just technology. So, this is where we really partner with our customers in what we call Red Hat's Innovation Labs. And this is a peer-to-peer residency-style program where we'll take what we like to refer to as a two-pizza team. So think maybe six to eight developers, product manager, agile coach, etc. Pair them up with folks from Red Hat and go through a 6, 8, 12-week sprint with our folks and really learning how to live the lifestyle of agile software development in the way that it's done in industry but also here at Red Hat. We've been doing it for quite some time.

    Rich Savage: Yeah and it was actually great to hear the story about Lockheed Martin at Red Hat Summit using Innovation Labs. It was very interesting.

    Adam Clater: Yeah, absolutely. We've seen huge leaps forward for those teams working on F-22, F-35, and other airframes where historically, you might not have thought that you'd be able to bring agile software development to an aging airframe within the US Air Force. But really, it's been a revolution for them.

    Rich Savage: Yeah, absolutely. So Adam, thank you very much. And other than yourself, where do you suggest our listeners go to learn more about IT optimization from Red Hat supporting our government agencies?

    Adam Clater: Sure. So, we've got a great website at redhat.com. We've got a ton of resources that are available out there. Look for your local account teams. Talk to the folks at Carahsoft. Get in touch with the folks that are working directly with you. We've got all kinds of activities that we do. So, most recently we had Ansible Automates, which took place down at the Nationals Park not too long ago. We had DevNation Federal, which went on in D.C. at the Wharf. And we also are about to have our Defense In-Depth, which is really an understanding of how to implement security across the Red Hat platform product portfolio. And then finally, our Red Hat Symposium, which is coming up as well in just a few weeks.

    Rich Savage: Excellent. I will be there for sure. Well, Adam, thank you so much for your time and valuable insights and information. For our listeners, please check out all of Adam's suggestions and the resources that he gave during this podcast and again, contact us. You can reach Carahsoft any time at redhat@carahsoft.com or (877) RHAT-GOV. Talk to you soon. Thank you.

Resources

Resources

IT Optimization Infographic
August 13, 2019
Discover how Red Hat helps agencies optimize their current infrastructure and frees teams to focus more on initiatives, not day-to-day maintenance...
READ MORE

Building A Foundation For IT Modernization
July 25, 2019
On your path to digital transformation it is imperative to have a firm foundation. Build your foundation from the slow, expensive, and proprietary content on your outdated legacy system to a secure, enterprise ready Red Hat Linux...
READ MORE