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Red Hat Nails IBM Global Services as Partner
Red Hat Nails IBM Global Services as Partner

(September 17, 2002) - Linux market leader Red Hat Inc, which is on the verge of posting its summer quarter tomorrow, has nailed a major, multi-year, potentially serious revenue-boosting deal with the mighty IBM Global Services (IGS), according to a highly placed source. IBM Global Services is reportedly going to back Red Hat's four- to five-month-old enterprise-directed Advanced Server, the emblem of Red Hat's attempt to wrestle a real business model out of the quixotic revenue-squelching open source phenomenon. The two companies will reportedly call on customers together. Contrary to long-standing Red Hat practice, Advanced Server can't be downloaded for free. It's only available commercially at a price of somewhere between $800 and $2,500 a server. Red Hat rivals such as Linux newcomer Sun Microsystems, whose own history with Unix is a paean to proprietary openness, have tried to brand Advanced Server in the face as "proprietary" and "closed" as though it were one of those ancient criminals who were set to building the Great Wall of China. In Sun's case, at least, it's very much like the pot calling the kettle black. To get the new Sun Linux, a Red Hat 7.2 rip-off, one has to buy one of Sun's new $2,700 LX 50 machines. According to the shiny new IBM-Red Hat deal, believed to be in the works for some weeks and hinted at when we asked Red Hat if it was sticking to its fiscal Q2 guidance (CSN No 464), the next rev of Advanced Server, due out the first part of next year, will support all of IBM's four server families: its mainframe zSeries, iSeries AS/400s and Unix-based pSeries as well as IBM's industry standard Intel xSeries that Advanced Server already runs on. IBM's zSeries, iSeries and pSeries are based on the company's RISC- based Power processor. The agreement should reportedly quash the business problem posed by Red Hat's free code as well as the complicated problem of Global Services providing all the service. Red Hat nominally charges to support Advanced Server, not for the code itself. IBM is reportedly supposed to resell the Red Hat Network managed software services and fill in where necessary. Red Hat and IGS are also supposed to package each other's consulting and service and tailor them to clients' needs. Together they anticipate being a "one- stop support shop." With IBM Global Services standardized on Advanced Server rather than the free Red Hat Linux 7.x, Advanced Server is expected to get more attention from IBM's Software Group. Advanced Server brings along with it third-party software from such as Oracle and BEA. IBM is supposed to put its key software such as WebSphere, DB2. Tivoli and Lotus on Advanced Server. IBM tomorrow is also supposed to announce its first dense server, the so-called BladeCenter, which will be positioned as a joint IBM-Intel architecture and solution development. Sources say Intel's board business will eventually sell species of what they've invented to other OEMs and distributors. IBM is supposed to start with two Prestonia chips on a blade, perhaps the new 2.8GHz widgetry Intel just put out last week. The blade will reportedly come both with and without disks. Each blade is also supposed to have a dedicated gigabit Ethernet connection plus a choice of Fibre Channel, the much-maligned Infiniband and another optional gigE connection. IBM is supposed to get 14 blades to a 7U, 84 blades - 168 processors in all - to a standard rack. Four-processor blades, such as rival and plum target Egenera already has, are supposed to follow early next year. Red Hat is supposed to come in tomorrow with revenues of around $21.8 million for the three-month period ending August 31, up slightly from its first fiscal quarter during a particular fallow time.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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