Hewlett-Packard Co. will offer Red Hat Linux Advanced Server software on most of its server and workstation platforms this fall, including systems featuring Intel Corp.s upcoming Itanium 2 processor, HP and Red Hat Inc. announced Tuesday.
HP, which co-developed the Itanium chip, said it expects to be the first vendor to offer preinstalled Linux on Itanium 2-based servers and workstations. Itanium 2, a 64-bit processor designed for high-end workstations and servers, is scheduled to be released in the next month.
The new agreement solidifies the relationship between HP and Red Hat, whose operating system was initially integrated into the ProLiant line when it was owned by Compaq Computer Corp. HP acquired the ProLiant line when it purchased Compaq in early May for $18.5 billion.
Over the last four years, the ProLiant line has been the top-selling server with preinstalled Linux, according to International Data Corp. During the first quarter of this year, ProLiant servers accounted for 26 percent of the Linux-based servers shipped worldwide.
While Red Hat Linux Advanced Server is open-source software that users can redistribute for free, Red Hat derives significant revenues from its support services, charging users an annual fee to receive performance upgrades and fixes.
Linux is increasingly being sought out by businesses seeking a low-cost and stable software alternative to proprietary Unix platforms such as HPs HP-UX and IBMs AIX, as well as Microsoft Corp.s Windows.
Several of HPs biggest customers already have deployed Red Hat Linux-based hardware, including Reuters Inc., which runs its stock market information service on HP servers with Linux, and online retailer Amazon.com.
"The support Linux enjoys from a broad range of hardware vendors makes it an excellent fit with Reuters policy of open systems," said Mike Sayers, the companys chief technology officer.
HP said growing acceptance of the open-source software fueled its decision to continue to partner with Red Hat.
"Its clear that Linux is gaining ground with commercial applications, and HP is working with Red Hat because of its market leadership among Linux distributions," said Peter Blackmore, executive vice president of HPs Enterprise Systems Group.
Demand for Linux is expected to remain strong through 2006, according to IDC, with revenue from licensing forecasted to increase at a 19.7 percent compound annual growth rate.
"The Linux industry continues to expand, with most of the unit growth in 2001 coming from Linux client and workstation operating system shipments," said Al Gillen, a system software analyst with IDC.
- HP to Back Itanium 2 With HP-UX
- Red Hat Rolls Out Advanced Server