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Red Hat Looks Beyond Linux

Red Hat plotted a new course for its future Tuesday as it declared plans to develop a full open-source architecture that integrates platform, infrastructure and management technologies.

The plan is a new direction for the company, which until now has focused primarily on delivering an enterprise-ready version of the Linux operating system. Now Red Hat said it has listened to the community, technology round-tables and customers, leading it to commit to developing a standards-based open source infrastructure that focuses on management and applications support across multiple hardware environments.

Red Hat stressed that the architecture will be modular, giving Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and open source communities an opportunity to participate and collaborate in the creation of the architecture, while minimizing the potential for vendor lock-in.

"Red Hat is making Open Source Architecture the guiding point for our development roadmap and business focus, said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering at Red Hat. "We will work to ensure developers and vendors have the resources needed to base their solutions on open source. A hierarchy of common software components will enable technologies to be layered modularly, resulting in great scalability and manageability throughout an entire organization's infrastructure. With an Open Source Architecture model, the customer becomes the clear winner."

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, slated for release in October, will form the foundational layer of the new architecture, Red Hat said. The company said it will be the unifying platform for the architecture, with support for seven hardware architectures for both client and server deployments -- including numerous hardware platforms delivered by partner IBM . It will also offer support for Intel Itanium and AMD64 processors.

Red Hat Network will serve as the delivery mechanism. Red Hat Network is a systems management platform for Linux, which allows administrators to perform patch management, updates, monitoring and maintenance.

The second step in the roadmap will focus on additional parts of the infrastructure, including a Web applications framework, J2EE implementation and other development tools. The company is working with the ObjectWeb consortium, Apache Software Foundation and the Eclipse IDE development community as part of the effort.

The third phase will focus on integrated virtualization and management capabilities in an effort to maximize system utilization while also lowering total cost of ownership (TCO). Red Hat said System virtualization will encompass storage, system provisioning, and application resource management for on-demand, high-availability environments.

Red Hat said it will deliver subscription-based global services to round out the offering. Red Hat Applications, including Portal Server and its Content Management System, will also play a role.