Red Hat Pairs With Alibaba Cloud in China

Article Written by Avery Phillips

The October 12th announcement that Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group has joined the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program came as a shock to some developers, but it seems a smart move as Red Hat already gets more than 12 percent of its profits from Asia, per the 2016 annual report. This strategic partnership could help revenues in Asia top EMEA levels, at 21.26 percent, in only a few years. 

Joining the Red Hat CCSP ensures that Alibaba Cloud, the largest cloud-hosting provider in all of Asia, is ready to deliver a secure and flexible space for development. The enhanced portability of OpenShift.io and performance of Alibaba Cloud's back-end hardware should be very attractive to developers in the quickly growing Asian tech sector. This could mean a wealth of job opportunities, for both expats and teleworkers, but China poses its own risks and hazards for developers to keep in mind.

Dev Opportunities

Alibaba Group is famous for its 2014 move to become a publicly traded company. The "world's biggest stock offering" created countless jobs in both the e-commerce and logistics sectors as the company grew into a worldwide powerhouse. The addition of Red Hat to its cloud lineup could see similar expansion and growth for developers. The timeliness of this move, coming as it did on the heels of OpenShift.io and the full Red Hat Cloud Suite delivering the power of cloud workspaces, means a whole new world of development opportunities for Red Hat professionals. 

With OpenShift.io, developers can work with just a single browser and an internet connection to create applications from start to finish thanks to its prepackaged IDE. This ensures easier collaboration and the ability to recruit workers from across the globe. Mike Harris, Red Hat's Vice President of Technical Business Development and Business Architecture, is optimistic that the move also means more choice and greater adoption of Red Hat open-source or affiliated products for developers worldwide.

Network Security

Both network and cybersecurity professionals will need to be available to any company looking to move to Alibaba Cloud under the CCSP. This opens opportunities for the creation of a whole host of APIs, language translation or regionalization apps and even code for localized security and authentication purposes. 

According to East Coast Polytechnic Institute, internal network security will likely be paramount to ensure that data remains secure and isn't shared across the space in strict violation of Red Hat CCSP standards. External cybersecurity must be also able to ward off intrusion from enterprising hackers who have experience working with Alibaba Cloud directly. Qualifying to join the CCSP is the first step, but companies must turn to professionals and developers to ensure that their software remains protected over time on the new provider.

Chinese IP Law

Companies will likely need to work with both information systems managers and lawyers to determine which intellectual property laws apply to information hosted on Alibaba Cloud. As Chinese IP law enforcement differs greatly from that found in the United States, and this is a new partnership between the two companies, developers may find themselves either providing open-source and derived or proprietary code to Chinese officials for examination or out of compliance with Chinese laws regarding software used "in the country." This is especially true when patents get involved, as patent law is a major political sticking point for the two nations. 

Some key differences between enforcement of Chinese and U.S. IP law include:

●        Chinese cases of infringement rarely go to court and are usually solved by government intervention, bypassing trial or mediation stages entirely.

●        Chinese infringement cases regularly result in the government confiscating infringing goods, giving them access to potentially sensitive information without due process.

●        China focuses less on investigation as a part of enforcement, relying on reports from citizens or competitive interests to determine where infringement occurs.

●        Profit determines legal action. The government of China does not press charges for criminal infringement unless the infringement is undertaken for profit.

●        Chinese patent law is ever-changing and the concept of patenting computer software is still new in the nation, which sees the highest number of patent applications in the world. 

Publicly traded Alibaba Group controls 80 percent of China's e-commerce market, according to Ohio University. Adding full Red Hat support to the organization's already expansive Alibaba Cloud services has the potential to expose a whole new market sector to the utility and flexibility of Red Hat. At the very least, this could drive innovation and development or even transform emerging technologies coming out of Asia entirely.

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About the Author


Avery Phillips is a unicorn of a human being who loves all things relating to people and their entrepreneurial spirits. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian.