Red Hat Adopts Open Systems

Vendor unveils open-source architecture.

Red Hat Inc. is the latest vendor to embrace the concept of layering add-on premium software and services above the operating system.

The Raleigh, N.C., company announced its Open Source Architecture last week, a plan that will deliver a standards-based infrastructure for running and managing enterprise applications across multiple platforms. The Open Source Architecture will increase the breadth of uses for Linux, improve its total cost of ownership and help convince customers that Linux is ready for the enterprise, said Paul Cormier, Red Hats executive vice president of engineering.

Red Hats move follows Sun Microsystems Inc.s Sun Java Enterprise System software stack, announced this month. Red Hat officials said, however, that the Sun solution limits users in their choice of hardware platform. Red Hat is taking the opposite approach to Microsoft Corp. as well, Cormier said, in that rather than stuffing everything in the operating system, Red Hat is taking a layered approach that will let users choose whether to use its open solutions or proprietary software from another vendor.

The Open Source Architecture will be delivered in phases and has three major components: platform, virtualization and management. "By doing it in modules, we will be able to add these outside the boundary of the operating system and will be able to bring in things like Java, new management modules, as well as aspects of virtualization and clustering," Cormier said.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, due next month, will act as the unifying platform and will be available on seven client and server platforms.

In the second phase, Red Hat will provide virtualization capabilities at two architectural layers: application and execution, by leveraging open-source Java technologies; and the physical environment layer, via file system and clustering technologies. These capabilities will be delivered in the next two quarters, Cormier said. This phase will also address other key areas of infrastructure, including a Web applications framework. Red Hat has been working with the ObjectWeb consortium, the Apache Software Foundation and the Eclipse integrated development environment community and has been contributing to the development of an open-source Web applications framework; a Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition implementation; and associated development tools.