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Red Hat Opens Its Network to Space

Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is hoping that the open source community will join it on a Spacewalk.

The Spacewalk effort is a new open source management project launched at the Red Hat Summit in Boston alongside a series of virtualization and identity management solutions.

The new open source efforts from Red Hat help to round out the Linux vendor's solutions in areas in which it hopes to grow its business and ward off proprietary vendors such as Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Red Hat is on a quest to become the first pure open source vendor to reach $1 billion in revenue.

The Spacewalk project is the complete code base of the Red Hat Network Satellite product.

Satellite is a critical tool for Red Hat users as it provides management capabilities for multiple servers for software deployment and updates.

"Spacewalk is fantastic news for us," Katrinka McCallum, vice president of management solutions business, said during a press conference announcing the project. "So we can continue to drive further innovation, and this product rounds out our open source strategy."

Spacewalk is being made available under the GPLv2 open source license.

The project will now becomes the upstream basis for future releases of the Red Hat Satellite solution that Red Hat sells by subscription.

While Spacewalk represent a commercial solution that Red Hat is now turning into an open source collaborative community effort, the new Red Hat Enterprise Identity, Policy and Audit (IPA) is the opposite.

IPA started out as a community effort not being turned into a commercial product.

As InternetNews.com first reported earlier this year, Red Hat Enterprise IPA is based on the FreeIPA project, which aims to be an easy way for system administrators to install, set up and administer centralized identity management and authentication.

FreeIPA is built on what had once been the Netscape Directory Server, an LDAP-based server that since became Fedora Directory Server and later, Red Had Directory Server. Red Hat acquired the Netscape Directory Server technology from AOL in 2004.

The Enterprise IPA product is now available providing what McCallum described as giving Linux customers the same sorts of capabilities that Microsoft's ActiveDirectory gives Windows users.

Enterprise IPA, however, does not yet provide for interoperability with network access control solutions such as Cisco NAC or Microsoft NAP.

"This interoperability is planned for future releases of Red Hat EnterpriseIPA," McCallum told InternetNews.com. "We expect that innovations through the FreeIPA.org project may drive this intersection point."

Red Hat also announced a series of new virtualization initiatives at its user conference that further embeds virtualization into its product portfolio -- literally.

The new Overt.org effort is an open source embedded Linux hypervisor based on the KVM open source hypervisor, which is already part of the mainline Linux kernel.

The reason for the embedded hypervisor effort is to drive further enterprise adoption of virtualization, noted Paul Cormier, Red Hat's executive vice president.

"We see this as an extension to our current product line," added Cormier, who's also president of the products and technologies division at Red Hat.

"Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 has integrated virtualization based on Xen. We see that this embedded hypervisor as one way to extend virtualization to the entire enterprise and extend our product line."

As opposed to Xen, which sits on top of an operating system such as Linux or Windows, the idea behind Overt.org is that it is Linux-based and has a smaller footprint, making it suitable for embedding. Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens explained during the call that the beta today is hosted at Overt.org and can fit on a 64MB piece of flash.

"Size matters," Stevens said. "What's unique in the industry about this is we will still have broad hardware support."

The KVM project was originally started by Israeli tech vendor Qumranet whose founder Moshe Barr was also one of the original founders of XenSource, which support the Xen open source hypervisor.