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Red Hat branches out

Sep 29, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsOpen Source

In a move to extend its business beyond the Linux operating system, Red Hat last week announced plans to deliver open source application server, clustering and systems management software.

In a move to extend its business beyond the Linux operating system, Red Hat last week announced plans to deliver open source application server, clustering and systems management software.

The first part of the initiative is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, due out in October. The operating system will offer hooks to the other software, which will be delivered as additional subscriptions. Hardware support in the operating system has been expanded from Intel platforms to include IBM’s zSeries mainframes and iSeries and pSeries PowerPC-based servers, as well as systems based on Advanced Micro Devices’ 64-bit Opteron processor.

Red Hat’s aim is to set a direction for the open source community to develop enterprise infrastructure components that it will then take and integrate with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. “Many of the issues with Linux in the enterprise have been the lack of interoperability among components,” says Brian Stevens, vice president of operating system development at Red Hat. “We hope the same momentum behind the Linux community will drive the applications market.”

Today, enterprise Linux users who want application server, clustering or management software typically look to proprietary products from vendors such as Veritas, BEA Systems or IBM. The Red Hat products will compete with those but aren’t identical, says Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering. “Obviously the open source application server does not have the same features as a BEA or IBM application server,” he says. “We are here to give customers the opportunity to have a complete open source solution. The strategy for us here is offering choice.”

About three months after the Enterprise Linux 3 release, Red Hat plans to deliver clustering as the first add-on. The plan is to offer 16-node clustering for load balancing, fail-over and storage management, Stevens said. Within three months after that, Red Hat plans to offer a Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition application server.

This product will be based on Java Open Application Server, from European middleware consortium ObjectWeb. Systems management software that allows provisioning, upgrading and monitoring of servers is due out in the same time frame as the application server. Pricing for the new offerings has yet to be determined.