Red Hat (RHT) made its name as a leading open source vendor by selling and supporting enterprise Linux. But it needs to move beyond the Linux space to remain competitive in the age of the cloud, and in a sign of efforts to do so, the company has started the new year with two executive appointments that will strengthen its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and cloud expertise.

The first of the two appointments, which were announced Monday, brings Tim Yeaton, former CEO of Black Duck Software, back to Red Hat. Yeaton served the company earlier in its history as senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing and general manager of Enterprise Solutions. He returns as senior vice president of the Infrastructure Group, a new position at the company in which Yeaton will "oversee the products and programs that are driving Red Hat's infrastructure and IaaS business, including the Platform, Virtualization and OpenStack businesses, and Red Hat's Cloud Management product line," according to Red Hat.

At the same time, Red Hat has promoted Craig Muzilla, who previously served as Middleware general manager at the company, to the position of senior vice president of the newly formed Applications Platform Group. He will oversee Red Hat JBoss Middleware, as well as the company's platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, OpenShift by Red Hat.

Both of these appointments are evidence of Red Hat's plans for strengthening its offerings in the IaaS, PaaS, virtualization and cloud markets. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) remains the company's bread and butter, but it needs to ensure strong integration between RHEL and newer technologies to remain competitive in the lucrative cloud space, where there are plenty of alternative offerings including Microsoft (MSFT) and VMware (VMW).

The investment in new expertise beyond the enterprise Linux realm comes just ahead of the Red Hat Partner Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., next week, where it will provide Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services the chance to reach out to Linux resellers.

The open source software market is changing, but Red Hat, one of the oldest and most established players in that niche, is not sitting on its laurels. 2014 looks to be a year of significant new investment by the company.