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Red Hat program takes aim at corporate market
(IDG) -- Red Hat last week upped the ante in a bid to win the confidence of corporate IT departments with a multivendor partnership program that combines key business applications optimized for Linux and comprehensive support services.
The company announced the Enterprise Edition Program and the first three members of the docket: Oracle, Computer Associates and RealNetworks. As part of the offering, Red Hat is also committing to support selected applications from those companies. Applications supported will include the Oracle8i database server, Computer Associates' Unicenter TNG family and RealNetworks RealSystem G2 software family.
For customers the Enterprise Edition Program means they can call Red Hat if problems arise running the Oracle8i product for Linux. Previously, separate and time-consuming calls to both vendors were necessary to sort out a problem. Red Hat says the partnerships will be followed by others later this year, including those for directory services, messaging and enterprise resource planning applications.
The support services from Red Hat will be available 365 days per year and 24 hours per day - fairly standard for enterprise-class offerings. Pricing will vary depending on an end user's configuration, according to Paul McNamara, general manager of enterprise systems at Red Hat.
"Business customers are looking for the assurance that we can solve a problem if they have one, and this program will allow us to provide them with that," McNamara says. Red Hat's offering might not be as significant if Linux were as well-established as Microsoft's Windows NT for example, but as a newbie in the enterprise world, service and support agreements with the backing of companies such as Oracle mean a lot, observers say.
Additionally, Red Hat's decision to optimize its operating system for use with compute-intensive enterprise applications, such as Oracle8i, is a good because companies demand peak performance where it's critical to business productivity, says Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst with International Data Corp. (IDC).
Support services and the ability to tightly integrate Red Hat Linux with critical business applications are two key steps to overcoming corporate skittishness about Linux, Kusnetzky says.
He notes that while many IT managers are open to Linux, few are betting their mission-critical applications on it so far, instead relegating it to lesser areas. IDC research states that Linux paid shipments grew faster than any other server operating system over the past two years. IDC preliminary figures for 1999 show that Linux shipments comprise 24.6 % percent of the server operating system market, up from 15.8% in 1998.
The company's agreement with RealNetworks will provide users with an optimized version of the RealSystem G2 streaming software family. Additionally, RealNetworks' RealServer 7.0, part of the G2 family, will be physically bundled with Red Hat Linux, with service and support provided by both companies. RealServer 7.0 allows companies to stream media over the Internet.
The Enterprise Edition Program for Oracle and Computer Associates is available. The RealNetworks component will be available in March. Pricing is based on customer configuration.
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