Red Hat Taps Former Microsoft Exec as New Server Virtualization Chief

by Sean Michael Kerner

Radhesh Balakrishnan hired away from Microsoft to help spur Red Hat's role in virtualization and the cloud over the coming years.

Virtualization and the cloud are two key areas that Red Hat expects to see growth in over the coming years.

Helping to lead that growth, Red Hat today announced the appointment of Radhesh Balakrishnan as the new global leader for Red Hat’s virtualization infrastructure solutions. Balakrishnan will now oversee the market development for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) as well as the upcoming Red Hat OpenStack Enterprise release.

Balakrishnan comes to Red Hat by way of arch-nemesis Microsoft, where he spent the last 14 years of his career. Balakrishnan told ServerWatch that Red Hat's open source approach of community-driven innovation is the key to the cloud.

"Rather than being proprietary and closing the doors to come up with the next great thing, taking the journey along with customers is the approach that Red Hat has successfully done," Balakrishnan said.Red Hat

He added that Red Hat is also going through an evolution from being a company based largely around its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) product to a broader portfolio including virtualization and cloud. It's an exciting evolution that Balakrishnan said he really wants to be part of, to help make an impact.

Moving from Microsoft to Red Hat isn't just a shift in location, it's also a shift in philosophy with a learning curve that Balakrishnan will need to go through. The process by which a product comes to market in the open source model is fundamentally different than how it does in a proprietary-closed model.

That said, Balakrishnan noted that in the open source model, customer feedback is instant, meaning he won't have to wait six to nine months while a product is in development before real feedback pours in.

"My primary focus is commercialization, but that can't happen in a vacuum because the success of everything that we do is fundamentally predicated on successful community engagement," Balakrishnan said.

From a competitive standpoint, Balakrishnan noted that his former employer Microsoft is facing competition from multiple fronts, including Red Hat.

"From a server and tools model, open source as well as Red Hat as a player are definitely competitors that Microsoft thinks about," Balakrishnan said.


Balakrishnan doesn't necessarily see any challenges for his leadership of Red Hat's virtualization business. Rather he sees massive opportunity for growth in the years ahead.

"There are amazing opportunities for Red Hat to do in virtualization and the cloud what it has already done in the Linux market," Balakrishnan said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network,  the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on Tuesday Apr 2nd 2013
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