IBM and Red Hat partners can sleep soundly, executives say after mega deal closes

As IBM Corp. closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat Inc. Tuesday, questions continued to swirl around the impact the move will have on partners and clients, which even IBM’s Arvind Krishna acknowledged was the “real challenge” ever since the deal was announced last October.

But the senior vice-president of cloud and cognitive software was adamant that it’s going to be business as usual for partners and clients on both sides of the aisle.

“Both companies have a sales force, both have a channel partnership program. Red Hat resellers have to be part of the Red Hat program, which is different than IBM’s. They don’t become one,” he said during a phone briefing with reporters. “Red Hat stays Red Hat.”

Red Hat is also maintaining its headquarters Raleigh, North Carolina, and will continue to control the destiny of its product lines.

If anyone’s influence is rubbing off on someone, it’s actually Red Hat’s. When asked what type of influence Red Hat will have on IBM’s own product line, Krishna pointed to OpenShift, Red Hat’s family of containerization software.

“We are embracing OpenShift as the foundation for a hybrid cloud platform,” he said. “All of our middleware products will be built to run best on OpenShift.”

IBM is betting big on hybrid cloud, which will allow companies to run programs on both their internal servers and the big public cloud providers, such as Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon Web Services, both of which have raced passed IBM in the public cloud space.

But Red Hat’s president of products & technologies Paul Cormier didn’t sidestep the fact that they get something out of this acquisition, too.

“Our products combined with IBM’s reach is one of the biggest benefits for clients heading into the next generation of infrastructure,” explained Cormier. “Alone, it would have taken us several more years to reach this scale.”

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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