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Red Hat SA prioritises simplicity and standardisation in AI strategy

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 22 Mar 2024
Bruce Busansky, Red Hat
Bruce Busansky, Red Hat

Red Hat South Africa has outlined an AI strategy that aims to simplify the adoption of this emerging technology. 

The company says its Red Hat OpenShift Cloud Services and OpenShift AI platforms are designed to make the journey into AI easier for customers.

At a media event hosted by Red Hat on 20 March, executives from the company said its strategy is based on the increasing impact of AI and cloud adoption.

The strategy seeks to simplify architectures, standardise platforms and processes, hybridise workloads (that can be run across various vendor technology) and free up cycles. It speaks to the need for simple cloud adoption, standardised deployment, operations practices, and locality.

According to Red Hat, pretrained GenAI models, available through commercial sources or as open source, on their own won’t help users to realise their AI strategy. Organisations need a platform that can train, prompt-tune, fine tune, and serve these models for their particular use case and their own data.

AI infusion

Dion Harvey, Regional GM, Red Hat Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), said AI has evolved alongside substantial investment in cloud.

“AI is infused into everything [...] and we foresee more evolution, particularly with business apps that will have new capabilities,” said Harvey.

Red Hat executives said three main cloud service providers, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, have invested $155.7 billion, $111 billion, and $74.1 billion in cloud development respectively.

Bruce Busansky, app platform specialist for SSA regions, stated, “AWS is almost a $100bn annual run rate business, Azure and GCP grew 30% and 28% respectively last quarter. These numbers underline customer reliance on cloud, and AI is among the key drivers.”

While the South African market is gaining maturity, there are difficulties such as complex implementations and integrations, legacy systems, as well as a shortage of requisite skills, monolithic applications, long application lifecycles, and lack of agility.

Harvey, Busansky, alongside fellow Red Hat executives Eugene de Souza, regional cloud lead, SSA, and Samantha Harper, senior marketing manager, SSA, delved into the company’s AI with cloud strategy.

Busansky said the market demands the flexibility, security and agility that is required to run anything in the cloud, including different workloads, virtual machines, as well as containerisation.

Harvey said, “This is becoming increasingly significant…the fact is that data is driving AI and is morphing, there is maturity in the market, having learned from past mistakes. My personal view is AI is never going to be one big thing, it’s going to be infused into everything.”

He said there are different classes of AI that are evolving, and it’s about bringing emotive elements to AI to better understand how humans behave or react based on emotions. “Businesses are figuring out how to make it work within their applications and contextualise their parts."

De Souza pointed out that Nvidia has attracted cloud service providers and hyperscalers, and while Google Cloud came late to the game, they have probably the best tooling, they have all the data and information and are still to gain traction.

Red Hat execs added that AI has been around for decades, just in different forms, and urged companies to factor in the need for cloud strategies, to understand what they want to achieve with AI and cloud - there will always be complexity, but it comes down to strategy, clever use of resources, innovation at speed, and at scale.