The general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 on March 14 was not just the next release of the operating system, it represented the next generation, Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering at Red Hat, said at the launch event in San Francisco.
"RHEL 5 is available today and is the cornerstone of the open-source vision we laid out four years ago. We have a large group of people to thank for this—our customers, partners, employees—and our objective was to create the most compelling platform and operating environment," Cormier said.
Red Hat will also double its research and development investment in the JBoss space over the next year, he said.
The value that used to come from four or five vendors now comes in one product and platform, Cormier said, as he announced the availability of the RHEL 5 Advanced Platform for mission-critical server deployments, as well as an updated Enterprise Desktop for user productivity.
Pricing for the RHEL 5 operating system remains the same as for the RHEL 4 Enterprise Server product, while the Advanced Platform product will cost the same as the RHEL 4 Advanced Server product.
"Once again, Red Hat is redefining what value means in the IT industry. With Advanced Platform, customers are able to greatly reduce the cost and complexity of purchasing, integrating and managing separate virtualization, storage management and high availability software. Ultimately, Advanced Platform allows customers to shift their investment away from costly infrastructure and back into their business," he said.
This contrasted with the proprietary, license-based model offered by some of its competitors, he said, noting that "our friends in Redmond [Microsoft] spent half a billion dollars to launch a product called Vista, and it appears customers arent that excited about it, so it appears they didnt drive the value proposition very well."
The Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform product allows an unlimited number of virtualized guests, while the base platform allows four virtualized guests, he said.
The availability of RHEL 5 was also welcomed by Red Hat partners like AMD and Intel.
"Together, hardware-assisted AMD virtualization technology and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 will help customers achieve higher levels of efficiency and utilization as they deploy their virtualization strategies," said Terri Hall, the vice president of software solutions and alliances at AMD.
For his part, Doug Fisher, the vice president and general manager of Intels software and solutions group, noted that the close collaboration between his company and Red Hat had allowed them to innovate and accelerate new technologies like virtualization.
"The combination of leading edge Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor-based platforms and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 gives our customers impressive performance, power savings and reliability," he said.
As Red Hat also tries to grow the market for its solutions and make them more pervasive, it has developed three prepackaged solutions based on the new Advanced Platform and which combine Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 technology with professional services and training. Pricing for these solutions was not immediately available.
The Red Hat Datacenter Solution is a turnkey platform that includes the parts necessary for customers to implement a data center or migrate an existing data center to open source. The solution includes Advanced Platform, systems management, provisioning, high availability, identity management, consulting and training services. Two versions are available, one for small and one for large datacenters.
The Red Hat Database Availability Solution is a platform that enables existing databases, including Oracle, Sybase, MySQL EnterpriseDB, DB2 and others, to deliver all the reliability of clustered database systems, at savings of $200,000 or more per database, compared to the cost of the leading clustered database system, Cormier said.
The Red Hat High Performance Computing Solution is a platform to let engineers, researchers and financial analysts solve difficult computational problems quickly, to deliver increased profit and competitive advantage.
"It harnesses computing power distributed throughout the customers network, and reduces complexity so that technical experts can focus on problem solving, not IT infrastructure," Cormier said.
On the systems management front, the Red Hat Network Satellite will provide new capabilities to manage virtualized systems, including the ability to detect and create Enterprise Linux based guests and bring them into a managed environment, he said.
Red Hat Network Satellite modules, including update, management, provisioning and monitoring, are all extended to work on hosts and guests alike, and subscribers will now be able to manage a thousand virtual systems the way a single system would be managed, he said.
As customers also needed and wanted a simplified support experience that spanned their deployments, be that Red Hat software or third party offerings, Red Hat has simplified its standard support Service Level Agreements and created a joint customer support center and to solve issues, regardless of whether its Red Hat technology or a partner solution.
The company has also created the Red Hat Cooperative Resolution Center, where Red Hat will work with the support staff of the customers other vendors to solve a problem, regardless of whether Red Hat software actually caused that issue.
Nomura Securities International recently benefited from this new resolution service. "We experienced a complex issue involving multiple technology providers. Red Hat representatives quickly addressed the issue and worked in collaboration with other vendors to provide us with a quick and effective resolution. This type of customer service is highly appreciated," said Leon Chen, the director of corporate technology at Nomura.
Red Hat also announced the RHX (Red Hat Exchange), which provides pre-integrated business application software stacks including infrastructure software from Red Hat and business application software from Red Hat partners.
"RHX is a single source for research, purchase, online fulfillment and support of open source and other commercial software business application stacks. Through RHX, customers will be able to acquire pre-integrated open-source software solutions incorporating infrastructure software from Red Hat and business application software from Red Hat partners. Red Hat will provide a single point of delivery and support for all elements of the software stacks," Cormier said.