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Red Hat Focuses on Partnerships With Q1 Earnings Ahead

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The past year has been a good one for Linux vendor Red Hat, and as it looks forward to its fiscal 2011, the outlook remains strong. That’s due at least in part to new customer wins and partnership initiatives the enterprise Linux player unveiled this week.

Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is set to report its first-quarter fiscal 2011 earnings today after market close. The earnings report comes during the Red Hat Summit, where the open source software vendor is hosting customers and partners to discuss their latest innovations.

For Red Hat’s first quarter fiscal 2011, Wall Street analysts project earnings of $0.18 per share, according to Thomson Reuters. Company executives’ own earlier guidance during Red Hat’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2010 analyst call provided revenue projections in the range of $202 million to $204 million.

Among the growing areas of Red Hat’s business is its JBoss middleware division, which Red Hat acquired in 2006 for $70 million. This week during the Red Hat Summit, Red Hat announced that NYSE Euronext is a customer and user of JBoss Enterprise Middleware, although it did not disclose what the value of the NYSE Euronext JBoss deal.

NYSE Euronext is no stranger to Red Hat. Back in 2008, Red Hat announced that the NYSE had selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux to power the stock exchange’s trading platform.

Red Hat is also expanding its speed when it comes to delivering solutions for financial services. In partnership with networking vendor Mellanox Technologies (NASDAQ: MLNX), Red Hat’s MRG (Messaging, RealTime, Grid) platform is now leveraging the Mellanox ConnectX-2 cards and the RDMA over Ethernet (RoE) standard to reduce messaging latency.

Red Hat has also enjoyed success with another partner, Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO). The Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) can be deployed with Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the underlying operating system, and Red Hat and Cisco executives are set to announce the latest evolution of their joint partnership in a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Red Hat Summit.

Support for partners and customers is another key area that Red Hat is ramping up this week: Red Hat announced a new online portal for business partners, providing resources on Red Hat’s virtualization, cloud, middleware and platform offerings.

Customers aren’t being left out of the online support loop either, thanks to a new Red Hat customer portal. The new portal, unveiled this week, is intended to provide Red Hat customers with access to expert information.

From a development perspective, Red Hat has been busy this past quarter with the first public beta of its upcoming flagship operating system release. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL) is the first major update to the OS since the RHEL 5 release in 2007. With RHEL 6, Red Hat will be improving performance, features and hardware enablement.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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