Open-source enterprise software vendor Red Hat reckons it’s perfectly positioned to be the default platform for the move towards Open RAN. spoke to Honoré LaBourdette, VP of Industry Verticals and Edge at Red Hat, at Mobile World Congress 2022 last week. The telco sector is one of her main areas of focus and, in that context, LaBourdette insisted “The industry is coming to Red Hat.”

Asked to substantiate that claim, she noted that the industry is opening up to embrace new technologies, vendors and channels. Red Hat, misses no opportunity to stress that open-source is in its DNA, feels that means telecoms is naturally evolving towards its strengths. “For the past 20 years, Red Hat has been successfully working in an open ecosystem environment, so we understand what an open ecosystem really is. As the industry moves in that direction, we’re in a perfect position to contribute,” said LaBourdette.

Red Hat is already a significant player in the 5G core with its Kubernetes containers, we were told, and sees no reason why the same can’t apply to the RAN. In fact, LaBourdette reckons the evolution of the core has set a significant precedent and the whole industry is now more receptive to open models.

The obvious manifestation of this is Open RAN. “I do see the day when Open RAN will become the default standard, just as we have with the 5G core,” said LaBourdette. “2022 is the year when you’re going to see deployments and it’s an inflection point of market demand.” She also sees the day when Red Hat will provide the default platform for that standard, on which the other pieces of the RAN jigsaw can be placed. Again, the basis for that vision is its open-source, cloud-native focus.

Those of us who don’t really understand what’s going on in the darkest recesses of the enterprise software world are compelled to take the word of those that do. But surely even Red Hat’s competitors can’t deny its open-source pedigree, so it’s hard to question LaBourdette’s rationale. Plenty of them would also presumably like to become the default platform for Open RAN, however, so the scene is set for a gold rush in that space over the next few years.

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