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Friday, 16 March 2007 05:01

Novell deal yields dividends - for Red Hat

A "sizeable number" of developers have jumped ship from Novell to Red Hat, according to Scott Crenshaw, the senior director for product management and marketing at Red Hat.

 Crenshaw wasn't able to provide specific numbers but said many Samba developers were among those who had made the move. Chief Samba eveloper, Jeremy Allison, left Novell some months back and moved over to Google, in protest against the deal which saw Novell get into bed with Microsoft.

"A sizeable number of high-quality people have left Novell", Crenshaw said from Singapore yesterday afternoon, while discussing the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, a release that has placed a great deal of emphasis on virtualisation.

Virtualisation is being implemented through the open-source product Xen, now a mature application. The licensing for virtualisation is simplified and the number of instances will to a large extent depend on what the hardware in question is capable of handling.

There are two main lines, client and server, for RHEL 5. The base server allows four instances of virtualisation, the advanced platform is not limited. The client offering has four variations.

A number of graphical tools are provided to both create and managed virtual machines; Red Hat Network Satellite modules including update, management, provisioning and monitoring are all extended to work on hosts and guests alike.

To do battle with Oracle - which took the battle to Red Hat some months ago by offering its own so-called Unbreakable Linux product - Red Hat has announced a "database availability solution". This enables existing databases - Oracle, Sybase, MySQL EnterpriseDB, DB2 and others - to provide the reliability of clustered database systems, at what Red Hat claims are savings of $US200,000 or more per database, compared to the cost of the leading clustered database system. That reference, of course, is to Oracle.

On the local front, Max McLaren, Red Hat's managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said the company was in discussions with HP about pre-loaded desktop machines and expected to have something more to say about deployments within the next six months.

Asked whether Novell would not have an advantage over Red Hat when it came to inter-operability with Windows, Crenshaw said his view of inter-operability was that it came from adherence to open standards. "We have seen nothing tangible yet emerge from the deal," he said, referring to the agreement which Novell signed with Microsoft in November last year.

RHEL 5 comes about two years after the last release, in keeping with Red Hat's timetable of making major releases every 18 to 24 months. While the RHEL server is the focus of the release, the desktop side offers a low-cost alternative, starting at $US80 per seat.

While the improvements to its business offerings - the company also announced a Red Hat exchange which would offer software, both open source and proprietary, from its partners - took centrestage, Red Hat's fortunes will continue to rest on the fact that it still remains very much an open source company. "We will support third party proprietary software which our customers want obviously," said Crenshaw. " But we remain committed to open source."

Which in the end is the one big plus that the company has in today's marketplace. You can't buy good karma, you can only earn it. Let's hope Red Hat stays that way.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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