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Red Hat’s New Vision: Any App, Anywhere, Anytime

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Linux vendor Red Hat unveiled a trio of developments today as part of a broad initiative that it hopes will make its operating system pervasive across the enterprise landscape.

As part of the strategy, Red Hat is making Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) available in an on-demand form, thanks to a deal with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service. Appliances, too, will get some attention with a new optimized version of RHEL announced today. Meanwhile, Red Hat also beefed up its support for virtualized environments with an update to its flagship enterprise Linux offering.

All told, it’s a wide-ranging series of announcements about which Red Hat has very high expectations.

“Red Hat has become a standard in the enterprise,” Paul Cormier, executive vice president of worldwide engineering at Red Hat said during a conference call today. “By extending the open source platform, we predict that Red Hat will more than double its market share and will power 50 percent of the world’s servers by 2015.”

At the core of the strategy is Red Hat’s goal to enable any application to run anywhere, at any time. Scott Crenshaw, vice president of enterprise Linux business at Red Hat, said hundreds of new applications are certified to run on RHEL each month.

The company’s plan is broaden this effort by having enabling software vendors to certify once for RHEL, regardless of how they wish to deploy their apps. As a result, they then can have their applications ready for RHEL-based dedicated and virtual servers, as well as on the new on-demand compute cloud announced today.

In partnership with Amazon, RHEL now will be available on the Amazon’s EC2, a utility computing effort that lets enterprises tap into processing power in an outsourced, on-demand way.

Crenshaw noted that any RHEL certified application could run on EC2. The service is available now as a private beta with a public beta set for the end of the year. The base cost for the platform is $19 per month per user, and $0.21, $0.53 or $0.94 for every compute hour used — depending on the size of users’ compute instance size.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Red Hat today also announced a new appliance
strategy. Red Hat CTO
Brian Stevens
explained that the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Appliance OS will be companies with an appliance development kit and should be available in the first half of 2008. Stevens re-iterated the Red Hat mantra that with the new appliance targeted OS, software vendors can take any RHEL application, package it and run it anywhere.

“For the first, time enterprises will be able to deploy software appliance
without risk,” Stevens said.

With RHEL running inside of appliances, software vendors will have the confidence that their applications will work as intended. Stevens reiterated the Red Hat mantra that with the new appliance-targeted OS, software vendors can take any RHEL application, package it and run it anywhere.

The new Red Hat appliance strategy will bring Red Hat into more direct competition with Linux
appliance vendor rPath

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