Red Hat and Fujitsu form broad partnership

Fujitsu Ltd. and Red Hat Inc. plan to strengthen their ties with an extensive partnership to collaborate in sales, marketing, support and engineering, the companies announced Thursday.

The goal is to enhance how their products work together, how they sell and support each other’s products and how Red Hat’s software performs in data centres, which require hardware and software of the highest reliability, availability and scalability.

The products that will benefit from the partnership are Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux operating systems and Fujitsu’s Primergy servers based on Intel Corp.’s Xeon and Itanium chips. Fujitsu will also ensure that its enterprise software products are compatible with Red Hat’s enterprise operating systems.

Earlier this year Fujitsu concluded a deal with Intel under which the two companies will develop such high performance and reliability enterprise systems on Xeon chips by the end of 2004 and on Itanium chips by the end of 2005. Fujitsu plans a range of machines that scale up to 128


The partnership’s geographical scope covers North America, Asia, including Japan, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Red Hat has similar partnerships with Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp. and Dell Computer Corp., said Mike Evans, vice-president of channel sales and development at Red Hat, in Raleigh, N.C.

Meanwhile, Fujitsu doesn’t have a similar partnership with other vendors of Linux enterprise operating systems, but it is open to having them, said Date Masahiro, general manager of Linux planning and marketing at Fujitsu’s enterprise systems group division.

The partnership includes Fujitsu Ltd., based in Tokyo, and its main subsidiaries and affiliates, including Fujitsu Siemens Computers, based in Munich.

The partnership should help Red Hat’s sales in Europe and Asia-Pacific, where Fujitsu has a strong presence, and expand Red Hat’s reach in the high-end systems segment, said Al Gillen, an International Data Corp. (IDC) analyst. “It’s an important step for Red Hat,” he said.

For IT managers, the partnership will become interesting once they start seeing concrete results in products, Gillen said.

Users should see the partnership’s first results with the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, scheduled for the third quarter, in the way of features and enhancements for data centre environments, Evans said.

At that time the benefits are however expected to revolve largely around the product marketing and support area and most technical improvements will come later, said Bob Pomeroy, a Fujitsu spokesperson.

“We will be equipping future versions of Red Hat Linux with the kind of functions needed to high reliability, high scalability, high availability and enterprise management,” said Pomeroy. “Going forward, Linux will become an important platform for the enterprise,” said Pomeroy, “but we are yet to see development of a version for high-end mission-critical systems.”

As part of the partnership, the companies will create joint engineering teams that will collaborate to strengthen Red Hat’s enterprise operating system so that it can perform better in data centres with high-end applications. An as-yet-undecided number of Fujitsu engineers will work with Red Hat in the U.S. and the Tokyo company will also host some development work.

“The two companies will collaborate to make Red Hat Enterprise Linux scale higher to larger systems,” Evans said. “This will help Red Hat further our plan to make our Linux offerings more and more viable for data centres.”

Fujitsu has been selling Primergy servers with Red Hat operating systems since March 2001. With a roughly four per cent market share, Fujitsu was the number five server vendor in revenue terms in the third quarter of 2002, according to data from IDC.