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Red Hat Teams Up With Amazon To Broaden Deployment Of Linux Apps

The 5.1 version of Red Hat's Enterprise Linux also increases support for virtualization on HP Itanium servers and for Microsoft's hypervisor.

Red Hat announced a partnership with Wednesday to offer its latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 as a beta service through Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud. The online Amazon service supplies an expandable, on-call computer resources to users who seek to scale up their applications without building out their data center.

Red Hat's partnership with Amazon was just one aspect of a multi-pronged initiative, dubbed Linux Automation.

By making it easier to deploy Linux applications, Red Hat anticipates it will have Enterprise Linux "powering over one-half of the world's [new] servers by 2015" and doubling its current market share, said Scott Crenshaw, Red Hat's VP of Enterprise Linux business, during a teleconference Wednesday.

The statement was "a goal, not a prediction," Red Hat spokesmen said afterward. Current market research indicates Red Hat has a long ways to go to meet that goal, even eight years from now. It currently accounts for 64% of Linux subscription revenues, but IDC measures market share in dollars generated, not number of units shipped, said analyst Al Gillen. It's always been difficult to know exactly how many servers are running Linux.

In terms of 2006 revenues, Linux represented 15% of all operating system revenues, a figure that IDC projects will grow to 17% by 2010. But Linux' share of the server market is larger than the 15% figure because Linux subscription revenues have lower costs per unit than the upfront license charges of Windows Server, IBM's AIX, or other licensed operating systems.

Whatever Red Hat's current share of servers, enterprise market share figures "change very slowly," warned Gillen in an e-mail exchange. He said he saw no evidence that pointed to an upsurge by Red Hat Linux that would double its current market share by 2015, but IDC projections only extend to 2011, he added.

Projections aside, Red Hat is seeking to increase the options available with enterprise Linux to make it easier for both application suppliers and customers to deploy applications in a variety of formats. By doing so, it hopes a larger share of enterprise IT will come to rely on it for standalone servers, servers hosting multiple virtual machines, servers running virtual appliances, and Red Hat services gained through networked Elastic Cloud.

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