IBM Expands Support for Red Hat

More IBM servers to support Advanced Server; alliance will provide broad Linux support to enterprise customers worldwide.

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IBM is beefing up its support for Red Hat Linux Advanced Server. The company on Monday will announce the expansion of its support for Advanced Server from the current eServer xSeries servers to the zSeries, iSeries and pSeries servers.

The two companies will also announce a multiyear alliance that includes services and expanded support for servers and software that will enable the two companies to jointly provide broad Linux support to enterprise customers worldwide.

Peter Nielsen, the Linux offerings executive for IBM Global Services, declined to comment on the duration of the alliance. But he stressed that the move will have no effect on IBMs support for, and adoption of, UnitedLinux when it is released sometime next year.

"This announcement reaffirms IBMs commitment to a dual-distribution strategy—Red Hat and UnitedLinux. IBM customers may now choose the Linux distribution supplier that gives them the combination of Linux distribution features, services and support that best meets their needs," Nielsen told eWEEK.

The Red Hat move also means customers have more choice and confidence as they move to invest in Linux, he said. As Linux has matured to meet the demands of enterprise-level customers, those customers need the flexibility to work jointly with IBM and Red Hat. "In the past it was an either-or decision," he said

Mark de Visser, a vice president at Red Hat, told eWEEK that he expects the support for the other IBM server lines to be in place within the year. "When we roll out the next version of Advanced Server—and I dont have an exact time frame for that—we will have a version for the eServer xSeries, zSeries, iSeries and pSeries servers," he said.

The deal also allows Red Hat to play in new areas and geographic locations that were not available to it before. In addition, "every time IBM lands a new Linux customer they will have the option of deploying Advanced Server, and we will share in the revenue generated from that," de Visser said.

Red Hat and IBM Global Services will also team to provide end-to-end service and support to customers with Linux technical knowledge and engineering resources.

IBMs Nielsen said this alliance involves working closely on a number of fronts that span technical support, hosting capabilities, sharing leads and working jointly to support the same customers.