Red Hat needs to get real about the cloud

Red Hat ended 2016 with a precipitous 12 percent drop in its stock price, courtesy of its CFO’s departure and lighter-than-expected revenues. Losing a CFO to a grass-is-greener CEO spot isn’t a big deal, but the revenue outlook is because it points to an ever-shrinking addressable market for the on-premise infrastructure software that has made Red Hat the only billion-dollar open source company in existence.

Not that the lights will go out on Red Hat’s business anytime soon. Indeed, as CEO Jim Whitehurst highlighted on the company’s most recent earnings calls, Red Hat now has hundreds of OpenStack customers, along with thousands of customers for its storage, operating system, and middleware offerings. This represents customers holding steady on existing infrastructure and upgrading to open source offerings.

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