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Red Hat, Fujitsu To 'Build Out' Enterprise Linux

Red Hat and IT hardware-provider Fujitsu are expanding their collaboration on open-source operating systems, in a partnership agreement that could help Linux win over more hearts and minds of IT executives mulling Linux for mission-critical applications.

Under their expanded partnership, the Linux distributor and Fujitsu plan to "technically enhance and market" Red Hat Enterprise Linux applications on Fujitsu's Intel-based servers powered by Intel's Xeon and Itanium processors.

Fujitsu also said its principal subsidiaries and affiliates, including Fujitsu Siemens Computers, plan to become "Premier" partners for the fulfillment and service of a complete Red Hat Enterprise Linux line of applications running on Fujitsu's Intel-based PRIMERGY servers worldwide.

The companies said they plan to collaborate on software development, marketing, sales, delivery, and support efforts to optimize Red Hat Enterprise Linux for mission-critical use on Fujitsu hardware. Fujitsu also said it would work to ensure that its enterprise applications are compatible with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.

The agreement significantly expands the scope of the companies' cooperative relationship to date, and gives Red Hat a wider distribution network, especially in Asian markets where the Japan-based Fujitsu is a major seller of IT products and services.

As part of their partnership, Fujitsu and Red Hat are also expected to create joint engineering teams that will co-develop integrated hardware and software.

In the process, Red Hat is hoping to burnish an image of Linux as ready to move past edge-type applications such as e-mail and Web servers to "big iron" applications where reliability and scalability are paramount.

As a result of the co-development deal between Red Hat and Fujitsu, Red Hat said it plans to make its Enterprise AS product more marketable to big businesses. AS was once known as Red Hat Linux Advanced Server, and is the company's main product for data center servers in enterprise networks.

Fujitsu said it plans to integrate Red Hat's Enterprise Linux operating systems with its Primergy servers that are based on Intel's Xeon and Itanium chips.

Red Hat is striking where its enterprise iron is hot. During its fiscal fourth quarter which ended in February, Red Hat's Enterprise Linux AS sales jumped by 38 percent compared to the same time a year ago.

"The deal enables us to be part of the entire solution stack and the enterprise data center," said Leigh Day, spokesperson for Red Hat. She refused to provide details about any specific mission critical applications that will be co-developed by the companies.

Day would not say if Red Hat is in talks with other hardware manufacturers, but the Fujitsu deal marks the company's entry into a major enterprise hardware deal in Japan for its Linux-based software suite.