Dell and Red Hat Inc. announced the One Source Alliance to accelerate
commercial adoption of the Linux operating system and to support businesses
building Internet infrastructures. Linux is now one of three strategic
operating systems Dell factory installs and supports globally, along with
Microsoft Corp.'s Windows and Novell Inc.'s NetWare.
Hat and Dell offer customers a "pure play" for Linux development and deployment
as demand for the open source operating system increases. Unlike many
manufacturers, Dell does not have a proprietary, in-house UNIX offering
that competes for resources. This agreement allows Dell to align its efforts
with Red Hat to deliver best-in-class Linux solutions to its customers
and outlines a tightly integrated package of joint development programs,
global services and marketing initiatives.
and Red Hat will expand their direct engineering relationship to address
the immediate high-volume business opportunity in the Internet infrastructure
buildout. Red Hat and Dell also will focus on future core operating system
developments in the areas of reliability and availability, including clustering,
to support the maturation of Linux. A key aspect of their development
activities is next-generation open source systems based on Intel's IA-64
example of early development efforts between the two companies is the
Red Hat Linux stack in Dell's new PowerApp.web appliance servers, announced
in April of this year. Engineers from Red Hat and Dell worked together
to create an optimized version of Red Hat Linux for the new appliance
web servers. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. is one of the first companies
to deploy PowerApp.web appliance servers, at approximately 1,400 dealerships
in the United States.
Dell and Red Hat have also committed to running each other's systems internally,
thereby benefiting from the One Source Alliance in a work environment
on a daily basis. Red Hat will use Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell Precision
workstations as its primary development and certification platforms and
Dell uses Red Hat Linux in certain areas of its IT manufacturing operations.
New features for Red Hat Linux will be tested on Dell equipment and then
submitted back to the open source community for further validation and
testing. The co-development and testing is expected to provide Dell a
time-to-market advantage in offering the latest versions of Red Hat Linux
and Red Hat will create special Linux service and support offerings to
meet the extensive needs of commercial customers. Red Hat will be Dell's
preferred Linux services provider worldwide.
This is another boost for Linux in general and Red Hat in particular.
Having "most favored nation" status with Dell, combined with the likely
market volumes for Dell's PowerApp server appliances, should help Red
Hat extend its dominance of the Linux market. However, the special "tuning"
that Red Hat will do for the Dell hardware is not necessarily good for
the Linux movement - the market's OS fragmentation concern gains credence
when the market leader creates a "special" distribution. Even with this
concern, we expect this announcement will help Linux continue to increase
its server volume market share (est. 25% in 1999). With Linux pre-loaded
on the fastest growing segment of the server market - server appliances
- by the #2 vendor in the Intel server market, we expect the growth rate
to be greater than would otherwise happen.
benefits from the increased visibility of its Linux offerings. IBM is
catching up to Dell in its overall Linux offerings, owing to its breadth
of platforms on which it will support Linux. However, we believe Dell
is maintaining a slight edge in mindshare, due to the early lead it built
up from direct ordering and factory pre-loading of Linux on its various
Hardcore Windows users will find no value in this announcement, but we
do not see any real downside for the rest of the world willing to consider
Linux. The Linux market leader combined with one of the strongest Intel
server manufacturers to deliver packaged solutions is a strong message,
and we see only modest risk. Risk, in this case, takes the form of the
potential dearth of applications and drivers for Linux. However, the Linux
community has been trying hard to catch up, and soon this negative-sell
will be obviated.
services/support agreement will also serve to lessen uncertainty for customers
planning to add Linux to their in-house operating systems.