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Open Source Software Up the Stack

Dennis Byron

Red Hat Takes its Stack Concept up a Notch with Latest Linux Announcement

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Following up on the initial Red Hat Enteprise Linux (RHEL) 5 announcement in March 2007, Red Hat filled out its stack strategy on November 7. The company extended the previously anticipated release of RHEL 5.1 to a concept called Linux Automation. Linux Automation provides for seamless application provisioning/management/monitoring across both physical and virtual servers as well as appliances and "the cloud." The virtual server support was first made available with RHEL 5 and Red Hat says it has deployed to 18,000 servers in under six months.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 is immediately available to customers via Red Hat Network, Red Hat's own management automation platform. To support the broader Linux Automation concept, Red Hat will also make an Appliance Operating System available in 2008 and also said it struck a deal with Amazon making RHEL the first commerical operating environments supported on the Amazon Enterprise Cloud 2 (EC2). The latter is what the two companies are calling a "private beta" at this point. Other "clouds" can be supported also.

So whether a user or ISV is deploying to physical dedicated servers, virtual servers or the cloud, the application runs and can be managed the same way. When the appliance product is rolled out, it will integrate JBoss and other Red Hat products as well. The appliance of course will be moved to market via ISVs, who incorporate their own solution or solutions into the appliance. The cloud option is relevant to those that want to make their software available as a service (SaaS)

More interesting than this ambitious any-app/any-where/any-time strategy is an ambitious objective/goal. Red Hat predicts that this stack strategy will let it double its market share, and that it will end up driving over half the world's servers by 2015. I'm not sure if that is an installed-based or shipped-that-year metric but the mothballing of a lot of Digital UNIX, AIX and HP-UX systems will at least support the latter. In addition Red Hat sees its products becoming a mainstay on the mainframe as well. Also contributing, there will be a lot of justifiable double counting as stacks like Red Hat's (and so far it's the only real game in town) forms the underpinning of virtualized Windows and VMware servers.

Dennis Byron’s blog on open source software: A longtime market research analyst follows what “the movement? means to business integration—in applications, infrastructure, as services, as architecture and as functionality.

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