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A hybrid cloud allows telcos to optimize their operations across a variety of workloads. In an exclusive with Telecom Review, Philip Andrews, vice president and general manager, CEMEA, Red Hat talks about the essence of open hybrid cloud, the role of cloud-native technologies for enterprises and telcos’ digital transformation, along with his outlook on cloud adoption within the region.

Red Hat has been advocating an open hybrid cloud strategy. How is this trend developing, particularly in the CEMEA region?

Open hybrid cloud is Red Hat's recommended strategy for architecting, developing and operating applications, whether on bare metal, virtual machines, private cloud, public cloud or edge devices, delivering a truly flexible cloud experience with the speed, stability and scale required for digital business transformation. This is applicable to Telco network architectures, which are becoming more cloud-like in nature, with the software defining the network functionality from the core to the edge.

Due to this flexibility, Red Hat is helping organizations across the Middle East save money, enhance customer experience and improve uptime. Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud strategy is built on the technological foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux®, Red Hat OpenShift® and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform as foundational components for “Digital First DNA.”

This strategy gives developers a common application environment to develop, orchestrate and run their applications while giving developers, sysadmins and operations teams a common operating environment to manage their infrastructure. With this consistency across environments, you can deliver the best outcome for a digital first world as both an enterprise and a service provider.

Are you seeking to expand into new areas in providing Red Hat's cutting-edge cloud-native technologies? Which areas are you focusing on in the near future?

Open transformation is the key for organizations to consider the way apps are delivered and how to increase digital capabilities, strategic business objectives in supporting business change, operational resiliency and digital response. An organization’s ability to rapidly innovate and develop digital products and services is clearly recognized as a core competitive requirement.

Cloud-native development provides strategic flexibility and agility to build and run applications on any cloud and embodies well-known development best practices of continuous integration and deployment. A cloud-native platform is a modern app platform that can replace aging and expensive application servers. This is a foundational capability in what is, increasingly, a “Digital First” world.

Organizations’ ability to win, serve and retain customers depends on delivering new capabilities through software applications, rapidly and continuously. They can create and run innovative, differentiated apps on any public, private or hybrid cloud with a cloud-native development platform from Red Hat.

Automation has become a key component in enterprises' digital transformation. What is Red Hat's key role in enabling this?

No matter the complexity of an organization’s environment or where it is on its IT or Network modernization journey, an IT or Network operations automation strategy can help it improve existing processes. With automation, they can save time, increase quality, improve employee satisfaction and reduce costs throughout the organization. Enterprise-wide automation, with well-defined tooling and streamlined processes, enables innovation and provides clarity to all parts of the organization.

Working with Red Hat engineering and support organizations, Red Hat Consulting brings advanced automation skills directly to your organization to help you produce roadmaps, position and align teams, streamline processes and make enterprise systems and applications work together.

By 2030, what is your outlook on the cloud adoption journey of the CEMEA region?

According to Red Hat's annual Global Tech Outlook survey, hybrid cloud continues to be the leading cloud strategy among respondents, rising three points to 30% this year. Multicloud, another variant of “hybrid cloud,” is also on the rise, coming in at 13% compared to 11% last year. On the other hand, public (9%) and private (14%) cloud-first strategies are waning. This should come as little surprise as we see the realities of today's business environment leading organizations to want to balance the speed, efficiency and scale of cloud-native technologies with the control and security features that on-premises infrastructure provides. Notably, 18% of respondents are still establishing their cloud strategy, and a small percentage (5%) have no cloud strategy at all. Given that these percentages remain unchanged from last year, we will be watching closely for signs of acceleration in the year ahead.

How will telcos continue to maximize the cloud for flexibility when meeting their customers' demands?

In Telcos, the Network is itself becoming a cloud. That is a software-defined, highly resilient cloud infrastructure that is built within the core and edge network that allows telcos to add services more quickly, respond faster to changes in demand and centrally manage their resources more efficiently. It is one of the key foundational components for transforming a telecommunications company into a digital service provider. As the Network evolves with more and more upgraded and intelligent layers being added, the telco cloud can extend to access resources outside of the operators’ own private clouds to take advantage of public cloud capabilities and build a hybrid cloud environment. Given the drive to create more and more “edge” use cases driven by IOT, Intelligent vehicles, surveillance, smart cities and smart nations strategies, this flexibility is critical to deliver successful projects.

Combining private and public clouds into a hybrid cloud allows telcos to optimize the operations of a variety of workloads with different demand patterns. Hybrid cloud infrastructure can be highly elastic, agile and resilient for network services and applications. When managed with a container platform like Red Hat OpenShift, it can also provide interoperability and portability horizontally across private and public clouds, as well as uniform, consistent interfaces for easier development, operations and life-cycle management.

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