Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst made a highly anticipated appearance on stage at IBM's Think 2019 conference where he opened up on how the firm's $34bn (£36.4bn) deal to join Big Blue will play into its existing business.
Since the mammoth acquisition was announced last October, IBM has stressed that Red Hat will be run as a standalone business and will not be integrated under the IBM brand.
But sitting on stage in front of thousands of IBM delegates in San Francisco, Whitehurst opened up on how synergies with IBM's data analytics offering will benefit existing Red Hat customers.
"I have been so excited about this. I've talked to a number of CIOs and customers around the world and I'm excited for a number of reasons. Red Hat starts from open source projects out, so we take an interesting piece of technology that think we can expose and be relevant to enterprises. I think that adds a lot of value," he said.
"But the real value is when you take the data that you have and processes you have and then leverage this technology. So being about to get to that data requires knowledge and expertise in running those operational systems.
"So we need that technology to get that data out; open source doesn't do that, no one else does that… Someone's got to be able to drive the world around enterprise-oriented AI and that is not going to be the open source community."
He said customers have often remarked that there's a limit to what Red Hat is able to provide.
"When I talk to customers, what they're most excited about is how we co-create solutions, but we don't really understand their business very well, frankly, or their business process well and we don't bring the full technology set. We're only exposing the byproduct from innovation. So, combined with IBM, both your process expertise and your IP stack fit really well with what we're doing. This is a really exciting opportunity."
IBM's acquisition of Red Hat is expected to close in the latter half of 2019.
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