Red Hat moves into enterprise software

In a move to extend its business beyond the Linux operating system, Red Hat Inc. on Tuesday will announce an initiative to deliver open source application server, clustering and systems management software that works seamlessly with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The first part of the “Red Hat Open Source Architecture” initiative is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, due in October. The operating system will offer hooks to the other software, which will be delivered as additional subscriptions, Red Hat said Monday.

In addition, hardware platform support in the operating system has been expanded from Intel Corp. platforms to also include IBM Corp.’s zSeries mainframes and iSeries and pSeries PowerPC-based servers, as well as systems based on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s 64-bit Opteron processor, Red Hat said.

The aim of Red Hat’s initiative 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,” said 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 Software Corp., BEA Systems Inc. and IBM Corp. The Red Hat products will compete with those but aren’t identical, said Paul Cormier, executive vice-president of engineering at Red Hat.

“Obviously the open source application server does not have the same features as a BEA or IBM application server,” he said. “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 Open Source Architecture 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 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application server. This product will be based on Java Open Application Server (JOnAS), from European middleware consortium ObjectWeb, Stevens said. Red Hat last month announced it joined ObjectWeb.

Systems management software that allows provisioning, upgrading and monitoring of servers is due out in the same time frame as the application server, Red Hat said.

Pricing for the Open Source Architecture additions to Red Hat Enterprise Linux has yet to be determined.

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