Thank you, Red Hat. If I needed one more proof for your state of mind, you have delivered it to me.
I totally get, why Red Hat is sending out such an email: They want to convice their potential customers of buying their Enterprise Linux. I actually second that – they need to pay their bills.
But this tone?
First of all: Linux IS a community effort. Even Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is in great parts developed by a community inside and outside Red Hat. Linux on its own is community-driven, has always been and will always be.
Second: They are completely right in regard to TCO. The TCO is not defined by the list price, but by reaction times, quality of reactions, quality of support, etc. Absolutely right. But: That does not imply the usage of an Enterprise Linux. What is this, anyway? A vendor-locked version of Linux?
Third: What do I actually need an Enterprise Linux for, anyway, if I consider a cloud stack? Back in the days, when we were running our workloads directly on Linux, one needed something special, I get that. A linux with the ability to run for years, with awesome patching mechanisms avoiding downtimes.
But those times are gone, specificially for Container Workloads. They are running on top – or, to be more precisly, operated by – Kubernetes. And Kubernetes is not tied to one only machine, it works on a pool of resources. One can easily remove a worker node (or even a master node) from a running cluster, without affecting the workloads too much. This basically eliminates the need for an Enterprise Linux with awesome uptimes, a Linux (without Enterprise) would be good enough. Because Enterprise simply doesn’t matter anymore – your resource pool is breathing anyhow, all the time. Any modern community Linux would work just fine here!
There is no need for an Enterprise Linux anymore!
So, there you have it. This email is an evidence of fear. But is not your fear, although they want to scare you. It is Red Hats fear, it is Microsoft’s fear, it is the fear of those, who understand their Linux or their OS as the basis of everything. Truth is: Linux and any other OS are just commodity. They don’t weight as much anymore as they did back then.
And, if you think further about it, the same message is true for your (Vendor Locked) Kubernetes-stack. And for your (Vendor Locked) Cloud Foundry-stack. And for your (Vendor Locked) OpenStack-stack. What do you need them for? They basically offer the same functionality as the community version (give or take some special features who appear to just a very small minority), but they only run on Red Hats Linux, with Red Hats Storage, etc. – which typically is called Vendor Lock!
Featurewise, in regards to functionality, with respect to patching and fixing, the community versions are on the same level as their Enterprise cousins. But they don’t lock you in, and with the right software stack (read: VanillaStack), they even come with the last things that set those Enterprise Stacks apart from basic community projects: Commercial Support (with up to 24/7 availability) and easy-to-use integration. Which directly impacts the TCO – towards being more reasonable and affordable than compared to those of Red Hat products, for example.
Vendor lock always makes you pay more.
Then again: What exactly do you need your Enterprise Linux for? What would you attend such a webinar for? What exactly is your benefit, besides the nice swag you get?
Think of that.