Red Hat Summit 2021: In Summary

Red Hat Summit 2021: In Summary

The Red Hat Summit is a unique annual event that brings together some of the smartest minds in the world to ask questions, tell stories and spend the weekend with their open source community. 

This year was especially exciting. 

As the pace of technological acceleration continues, open source software is getting a major upgrade with Red Hat and hybrid cloud users.

Industry News: What Happened

Red Hat continues to grow as an open source, cloud-based leader as they partner with IBM and now Boston University.

Paul Cormier, president and chief executive officer of Red Hat, and Boston University President Dr. Robert A. Brown lead a talk entitled “Advancing open hybrid cloud through collaboration.” They dove into how their partnership will lead to improving the implementation and operation of open source technology. 


To kick off the weekend, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4 (RHEL 8.4) was at the top of everyone’s mind at the end of the Summit weekend. RHEL 8.4 will allow open source technology to include industries in a way that was previously a stop-gate. Now, along with its basic operating system, Red Hat users can expect the company’s full tech stack, including Red Hat OpenShift. This upgrade allows industries to accommodate remote workforces and support three-node clusters.

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Red Hat Inc., Chris Wright, had this to say: “Software just sitting on the shelf isn’t doing anybody any good, even if the shelf is an open source project and it’s a tarball waiting for you to download. And if the challenge of running it is substantial enough that it stops you from using it, you’ve created a barrier to the value that’s locked inside a project”

The Summit goal was to open more doors for collaboration and across digital boundaries. Red Hat OpenShift does just that. 

Ansible Automation

Data protection and support don’t disappear as the workforce moves away from the office space. As a solution, Red Hat introduced the Ansible Automation system added to the Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes this year as an IBM product and service. It is a lightweight automation software tool that is used for tasks in configuration management and performance maintenance. 

Spectrum Fusion

Since 2019, IBM and Red Hat have been working behind the curtain on their first integrated system. During the Summit weekend, they introduced Spectrum Fusion. In an interview with Jeffery Burt from NextPlatform, Eric Herzog, chief marketing officer and vice president of worldwide storage channels for IBM’s Storage Division explained Spectrum Fusion this way: 

“We can span with Spectrum Fusion seamlessly with a single copy of data the edge, core and cloud. Spectrum Fusion will even work with other people’s storage – EMC Isilon, NetApp NFS, any S3-compliant object storage. We can use that without creating a duplicate copy of the data. Part of the value of Spectrum Fusion is traversing core, edge and cloud, particularly for AI and analytic workloads.”

Collaborating across devices is nothing new. However, remote work has created a new challenge of protecting teams even without an at-home IT team system. IBM and Red Hat have worked together to solve this demand.

Hosting a summit during a pandemic

New for 2021, the Red Hat Summit was streamed live online for registrants who couldn’t attend in person. The three-part event was kicked off with an immersive virtual experience that captivated participants from start to finish. 

While there were over 188 sessions to record, participants were able to still join breakout sessions and have time to chat with each speaker virtually. They could plan their day or weekend utilizing the agenda feature, ensuring they wouldn’t miss a single important speaker — this ability to customize individual attendance to each registrant’s interests was key to pulling off a successful event during otherwise difficult times.

Plus, Summit participants got the bonus opportunity to spend time with peers in casual settings. Enter: the lounge. 

This was a virtual “area” where you could meet through chatrooms or in the A/V club. Here, participants could recharge through Summit activities or virtual games. 

In the face of a global pandemic, Red Hat was able to bring all the magic, integrity and industry prestige of past years into 2021 as well.


Red Hat included a lineup of organizational leaders to inspire thoughtful discussions and open source software news. This included:

  • Paul Cormier: president and chief executive officer 
  • Matt Hicks: executive vice president, Products and Technologies 
  • Chris Wright: senior vice president and chief technology officer 
  • Tim Yeaton: executive vice president and chief marketing officer
  • Ashesh Badani: senior vice president, Cloud Platforms 
  • Stefanie Chiras: senior vice president and general manager, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 
  • Mark Enzweiler: senior vice president, Global Partners and Alliances
  • Larry Stack: senior vice president and general manager, Commercial Sales, North America
  • Joe Fitzgerald: vice president and general manager, Management 
  • Terri Hall: vice president, Global Partners and Alliances
  • Mike Piech: vice president and general manager, Cloud Storage and Data Services 
  • Fran Wilson: vice president, Global Revenue Marketing
  • Dave Farrell: general manager, Global Strategic Alliances 
  • Burr Sutter: director, Developer Experience

Industry leaders and high-profile speakers came to Red Hat Summit to share stories of their experience, collaboration and insights as well. Some of these included: 

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt: actor, director, songwriter and founder of HITRECORD
  • Ben Folds: singer and storyteller
  • Mike Ebeling: known as one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders and CEO of Not Impossible 
  • Kumail Nanjiani: actor, comedian and recent big donor to charities helping COVID-19 victims
  • Hillery Hunter: vice president and chief technical officer for IBM
  • Scott Guthrie: Microsoft executive vice president
  • Martin Köhn: vice president of IT-infrastruktur operations at Robert Bosch GmbH

Participants can relive the experience of each session, or watch any they missed, for the next year through On-Demand on the Red Hat Summit website. With so much excitement from this year’s Summit, next year is sure to be a knockout.

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