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Red Hat Starts Moving Out RHEL 5

Microsoft spent a half a billion dollars rolling out Vista only for it to fall flat in the marketplace

Red Hat Wednesday pushed out Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL 5), the first major update of its operating system in a couple of years, a rev on which much hangs considering the threatening noises coming from the direction of Oracle, Sun, Microsoft-Novell and Ubuntu.

That being so we're supposed to understand RHEL 5 as being more grandiose than just simply a next release, Red Hat said. More "next generation" and it's segmented the operating system and packaged up some new services to expand its reach and tickle its revenue base. Its goal is ubiquity.

At the introduction, Red Hat head of engineering Paul Cormier suggested Microsoft spent a half a billion dollars rolling out Vista only for it to fall flat in the marketplace.

The main addition to the widgetry is the integration of Xen, the open source virtualization technology that already appears in Novell's SUSE distribution and kept RHEL 5 from getting out earlier.

Red Hat claims it's already cut its customers' CAPEX and now it's going turn its hand to their OPEX, a lot of it complements of this virtualization stuff reducing people, power, resources and management.

Red Hat is also counting on virtualization and consolidation wounding Microsoft.

Currently it's only good for Red Hat virtualization but the company is promising to support other guest operating systems like Windows eventually. Red Hat's biggest virtualization rival, VMware, which it also supports, is more talented and Red Hat's chances of being a guest on a Microsoft virtualization may be pretty dim since Microsoft took up with Novell.

Anyway, besides the base RHEL 5 there's now something called Advanced Platform, replacing what was Advanced Server, and a new Enterprise Desktop.

RHEL 5 and Advanced Platform are distinguished by how many virtual machines you can run. In the case of RHEL 5 it's four, with Advanced Platform the number is unlimited regardless of how big the server is.

The price for the Advanced Platform, which is supposed to be good for both compute and storage virtualization, will be the same as Advanced Server. The price for RHEL 5 will be the same as the current Enterprise Server.

Red Hat, which now supports quad cells and 16TB file systems, has also packaged up cuts of the high-end technology for the data center, database availability and HPC to push deeper into mission-critical terrain.

The turnkey Datacenter Solution, based on the Advanced Platform, has two cuts of its own: one for small data centers, the other for large ones and the kits are supposed to come with all the fixings for systems management, identity management, provisioning and high availability, not to mention consulting and training.

The Database Availability Solution includes Red Hat would-be nemesis Oracle, Sybase, MySQL, EnterpriseDB or DB2 and is supposed to deliver the reliability of a clustered database system at a savings of upwards of $200,000 per database.

Red Hat has also excised all the legal jargon out of its Service Level Agreements (SLAs), cut the nine-page thing down to a one-page list of what it will support, like installation, usage and configuration, and what it won't, like code development and modified RPMs.

The company is sorta taking a leaf from Linspire's book and is going to start selling and supporting other people's business applications wrapped in a pre-integrated infrastructure software stack of its own later this year.

It calls this venture Red Hat Exchange (RHX) and initial partners include Alfresco, CentricCRM, Compiere, MySQL, Groundwork, JasperSoft, EnterpriseDB, Pentaho, SugarCRM, OpenFire, Zimbra, Zmanda and Zenoss.

And since support is Red Hat's bread and butter, it's creating a Cooperation Resolution Center where customers can get issue resolution on third-party offerings. Red Hat will run interference with the vendors, promising customers one throat to choke.

Red Hat service chief Iain Gray dubbed it "humane service" and to prove a point gave out the number of his cell phone - 919 607-1611 - saying to call day or night, words he may come to rue.

Red Hat of course is adding basic support for virtualization such as detecting and creating Linux guests and bringing them into a managed environment. Its update, management, provisioning and monitoring modules have been extended to work on both hosts and guests. It says a thousand virtual systems can be managed as a single system.

Having lost the founder of JBoss Marc Fleury ostensibly to a stingy R&D budget, Red Hat now says it's going to double that budget. It's also going to come up with a JBoss configuration for SOA as well as the standard web and Java application platform.

IBM is taking credit for putting Xen virtualization, security and real-time capabilities in the Linux kernel that RHEL 5 exploits. IBM has had its Linux Technology Center working with Red Hat engineering.

Actually the real-time stuff isn't there yet, IBM said. Red Hat and IBM are collaborating on a Real-Time Linux application development and deployment platform that includes WebSphere Real Time, a real-time J2SE Java Virtual Machine and a real-time RHEL 5 for IBM's System x and BladeCenter machines. The US Navy is an early adopter. The companies are also working on Samba, kernel scalability and customer testing.

More Stories By Red Hat News Desk

Red Hat News Desk trawls the world's news information sources and brings you timely updates on its flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux as well as the company's other product lines including database, content, and collaboration management applications; server and embedded operating systems; and software - including its most recent virtualization offerings.

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