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Red Hat's Vision Looks to Any App, Anywhere, Any Time

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted Nov 9, 2007


Linux vendor Red Hat unveiled a trio of developments today as part of a broad initiative it hopes will make its operating system pervasive across the enterprise landscape.

Red Hat seeks to expand its footprint with its latest endeavors in on-demand computing, appliances and virtualization.

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As part of the strategy, Red Hat is making Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) available in an on-demand form, thanks to a deal with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service. Appliances, too, will get some attention with a new optimized version of RHEL announced today. Meanwhile, Red Hat also beefed up its support for virtualized environments with an update to its flagship enterprise Linux offering.

All told, it's a wide-ranging series of announcements about which Red Hat has very high expectations.

"Red Hat has become a standard in the enterprise," Paul Cormier, executive vice president of worldwide engineering at Red Hat said during a conference call today. "By extending the open source platform, we predict that Red Hat will more than double its market share and will power 50 percent of the world's servers by 2015."

At the core of the strategy is Red Hat's goal to enable any application to run anywhere, at any time. Scott Crenshaw, vice president of enterprise Linux business at Red Hat, said hundreds of new applications are certified to run on RHEL each month.

The company's plan is broaden this effort by having enabling software vendors to certify once for RHEL, regardless of how they wish to deploy their apps. As a result, they can then have their applications ready for RHEL-based dedicated and virtual servers, as well as on the new on-demand compute cloud announced today.

In partnership with Amazon, RHEL now will be available on the Amazon's EC2, a utility computing effort that lets enterprises tap into processing power in an outsourced, on-demand way.

Crenshaw noted that any RHEL certified application could run on EC2. The service is available now as a private beta with a public beta set for the end of the year. The base cost for the platform is $19 per month per user, and $0.21, $0.53 or $0.94 for every compute hour used -- depending on the size of users' compute instance size.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Red Hat today also announced a new appliance strategy. Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens explained that the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Appliance OS will be companies with an appliance development kit and should be available in the first half of 2008. Stevens re-iterated the Red Hat mantra that with the new appliance targeted OS, software vendors can take any RHEL application, package it and run it anywhere.

"For the first time enterprises will be able to deploy software appliance without risk," Stevens said.

With RHEL running inside of appliances, software vendors will have the confidence that their applications will work as intended. Stevens reiterated the Red Hat mantra that with the new appliance-targeted OS, software vendors can take any RHEL application, package it and run it anywhere.

The new Red Hat appliance strategy will bring Red Hat into more direct competition with Linux appliance vendor rPath.

"What we're doing is much different than rPath or anything that's out there or that we've seen yet," Cormier said. "It is a RHEL-certified offering. So whether laying down an application on bare metal or in a virtualized environment, it's a RHEL-certified OS. Other solutions are for every appliance generating a homegrown Linux, with our solution we tried to address that issue with a certified appliance."

On the virtualization front, Red Hat released its first update release for its core RHEL 5 operating system. RHEL 5.1 first appeared in Beta in August of 2007. With RHEL 5.1, the Linux vendor claims that it is providing up to 200 percent better virtualization performance for database, ERP and transaction processing applications.

"When we introduced enterprise Linux in 2002, we brought open source into the enterprise and we fostered an ecosystem of thousands of applications," Cormier said. "Today, we have announced a new level of virtualization scalability and the ability to deploy RHEL as an appliance. These are all important milestones on the path to delivering the vision of Linux automation. "

This article was originally p8published on InternetNews.com.

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