Red Hat Serves Enterprise

Company to roll out Advanced Server, its first Linux product designed for high-end environments.

Red Hat Inc. this week will take its biggest step yet into the enterprise with the release of its first Linux product thats specifically designed for corporate use.

The Raleigh, N.C., companys Advanced Server is the first in what officials said will be a line of enterprise products that will ultimately include versions for technical workstations and the companys Stronghold secure Web server as well as developer tools.

Due next month, Advanced Server is an enterprise-class server version of Red Hat Linux 7.2 and includes a Linux kernel compiled for midrange deployments that will include failover, load balancing, clustering features and greater stability, said Red Hat Vice President Mark de Visser.

In addition to the products, the development cycle between the major releases of the software will be extended to 18 months, to give customers a stable environment to test and run their applications, de Visser said.

"While Advanced Server already has some of the functionality planned for the 2.5 version of the Linux kernel, like asynchronous I/O and a scheduler, which improve performance, as well as advanced clustering and high-availability support, the goal is to build on all of this going forward," he said.

The product will also offer failover and clustering for two nodes. "We will also be offering greater manageability with a more flexible architecture and better storage management," de Visser said.

The product will initially support the 32-bit Intel Corp. architecture and scale up to an eight-way IA-32 bit system; Red Hat is looking to support Intels 64-bit architecture as well as that of others, de Visser said.

De Visser declined to say which enterprise customers will deploy the product, but sources familiar with this weeks announcement said initial customer support will come from financial services companies Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.

Red Hats plan is to push this platform as a standard for Linux in the enterprise. Some 20 ISVs will be on hand this week to announce their support, de Visser said. Sources said ISVs such as Veritas Software Corp., Computer Associates International Inc., BMC Software Inc., Tivoli Systems Inc., IBM, BEA Systems Inc., Novell Inc., Borland Software Corp. and SAP AG will announce their support, as will hardware manufacturers Dell Computer Corp., Compaq Computer Corp. and IBM, which will bundle the product on some servers. Judy Chavis, director of the Compaq Corporate Linux Program Office in Houston, confirmed that the company will support Advanced Server on two-processor systems and above.

Stacey Quandt, an analyst for Giga Information Group Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif., said certification of Advanced Server from these ISVs will help sell it to enterprise users. The release of Advanced Server not only narrows the gap between Unix and Linux midrange systems but also widens the disparity between Red Hat and other Linux distribution providers, Quandt said.

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