Red Hat CTO Details the Next Waves of IT Innovation

Red Hat is involved in a number of areas of IT that use its Linux operating system as a base. Providing direction on many of those areas of IT is Red Hat Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Chris Wright.

Wright has been with Red Hat since 2005 and was officially promoted to the role of CTO in October 2017. Wright is only the second CTO in Red Hat's history, following Brian Stevens, who held the position from 2001 until 2014, when he left to join Google.

In a video interview with eWEEK, Wright discusses some of the future technology directions for his company, including what's next for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), where machine learning and artificial intelligence are headed, and what the most exciting areas of innovation are likely to be in the years ahead. 

"At the end of the day, RHEL is about running enterprise workloads on a stable long-term supported platform, and that's the core focus," Wright said. "We're doing some enablement of new hardware and have had a preview release for RHEL on ARM."

The data center has long been dominated by x86 server chips, and while Wright noted that it's still somewhat early in the market for ARM, it is a direction that Red Hat is looking at. The company is also looking at how it can help enable machine learning and artificial intelligence workloads. Wright said Red Hat is working on low-level enablement to help accelerate AI workloads, including making GPU resources accessible to applications. In addition, there are various tools and frameworks for AI that Red Hat is making sure are well-supported on RHEL.

"We're not going to be building the next Tensorflow; it's just not our core strength," Wright said. "But our customers want to use that technology, and we can participate in the community and help to enable everything."

Looking forward, Wright said a core area of focus is simplifying developer workflow to make it easier to build business applications without needing to understand how distributed system infrastructure works. Wright also expects to see continued innovation in the instrumentation for distributed cloud systems. Better instrumentation could enable self-healing autonomous cloud architecture.

Among the larger ideas that interest Wright is the evolving architecture of application deployment, which is starting to change with increasing mobile and internet of things (IoT) usage.

"The cloud is this big centralized thing with devices at the edge," he said. "That relationship between client and server will begin to start spreading and looking more multitier."

Watch the full video interview with Red Hat CTO Chris Wright above.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.