Red Hat Inc. announced Tuesday that it will make available this week its distribution of the Linux operating system for three more models in IBM Corp.'s eServer line, offering an open-source alternative for users looking to replace high-end Unix servers.
The new line of IBM servers that will run Red Hat's Linux Version 7.1 are the zSeries, a 64-bit mainframe server; the iSeries, a server for small and medium-sized businesses based on a 32-bit architecture; and the 32-bit pSeries servers, also a mid-range product. The fourth in IBM's line of eServers, the xSeries, a mid-range server based on chips from Intel Corp. that comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, has already been available running the Red Hat operating system, Red Hat said.
"This is gives Linux the ability to move into the high-end server market," said Kevin Thompson, chief financial officer and executive vice president at Red Hat. He said IBM will push the Linux-based hardware to customers replacing Unix systems and those running Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris.
One major benefit, Thompson said, is that customers will now be able to run the same Linux operating system and the same applications across the entire IBM eServer family, from the mid-range Intel-based servers all the way up to the mainframe.
As part of the deal, Red Hat said it will be responsible for providing its open-source operating system, product support and professional services, as well as version and service upgrades to customers who buy an IBM eServer with Red Hat's operating system installed. Support offered through the deal includes the software and manuals, customer support by telephone and e-mail, and professional services for customers who want to re-configure the server software specific to their business.
The two companies announced in August 2000 a plan to work together on tailoring Red Hat Linux for IBM servers, and since then developed a version of the Red Hat Linux distribution for a variety of previously announced products. The Armonk, New York-based IBM, an early investor in Red Hat, also offers servers loaded with Linux distributions from other vendors, such as German software maker SuSE Linux AG.
Pricing depends on how customers configure their systems and which IBM server they use. The FTP (File Transfer Protocol) for downloading the software will be available Thursday from Red Hat's Web site, the company said.
Following the announcement, shares of Red Hat (RHAT) surged and had gained 27 percent in late afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, gaining US$1.63.