JBoss joins Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2

JBoss became the second Red Hat software offering to become available on Amazon.com's EC2 infrastructure as a service.

Red Hat on Tuesday made its JBoss Java middleware available through Amazon.com's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, eight months after it gave customers access to its Enterprise Linux on its technology partner's computing infrastructure.

Red Hat is charging a fixed subscription rate of US$119 per month for JBoss Enterprise Application Platform or a variable fee starting at $1.21 per instance, per hour, with fees depending on the size, bandwidth and storage of the services purchased. These fees are on top of what Amazon.com charges for its EC2 service, depending on storage and bandwidth used.

Customers can either license JBoss on EC2 from Amazon and receive a virtual image of the software, or make their own subscription of JBoss available on Amazon's compute cloud, said Aaron Darcy, product line director of JBoss Enterprise Application platform. JBoss on EC2 and the EC2 service itself are still in beta testing.

Enterprise software vendors are increasingly making their software available online, and Red Hat is no exception. However, rather than follow in the footsteps of competitor Microsoft and build out its own infrastructure to host its software -- an expensive and time-consuming proposition -- Red Hat is leveraging Amazon's massive compute infrastructure to host its offerings.

In November Red Hat and Amazon said they were teaming up to make a beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) available on EC2.

Under the terms of their partnership, Amazon is handling the billing of both the RHEL and JBoss, and reaps the benefits of hourly storage and bandwidth fees it charges customers for using EC2. Red Hat is taking in the subscription costs for both RHEL and JBoss, but pays a small administrative fee to Amazon for handling billing, Darcy said.

Like other traditional software vendors, Red Hat is taking a measured approach to offering its open-source software in a hosted way, giving customers a choice between running it locally in their own data centers or on the cloud by using EC2. The company's ultimate goal is to make Linux and other open-source software as easy to deploy and manage for business customers as proprietary software is.

So far, mainly existing RHEL enterprise customers are testing RHEL on EC2, though a handful of new customers are trying it out, Darcy said.

He would not disclose how many customers are taking advantage of the service, but said that Red Hat would not be putting JBoss in the cloud using EC2 if customers were not showing interest in using Red Hat's offerings this way.

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