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BEA Expands Linux Pacts with HP, Red Hat

Claiming it sees significant growth in its Linux business, BEA Systems revved its Linux engine into a higher gear Monday by expanding its partnerships with HP and Red Hat for the open-source operating system.

While it's partnership with HP runs deep, San Jose, Calif.'s BEA has allied with the Palo Alto, Calif. company on Web services endeavors of late, not open-source software. That has for the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo 2003 show this week in San Francisco.

BEA and HP will provide Linux products, services and support for customers to migrate to, and deploy Java applications on Linux -- something BEA is hedging its bets on.

According to Rick Jackson, BEA vice president of product and solutions marketing, WebLogic Platform 8.1 and Java Virtual Machine (JVM) WebLogic JRockit, will be bundled with HP ProLiant servers and HP Integrity servers. The lynchpin for this partnership is the companies' strong support for Intel architectures, particularly Itanium 2. HP's services round out the core of their enhanced partnership.

Jackson said the companies believe this combination of hardware, software and services for Java on Linux will offer great reliability, performance and total cost of ownership (TCO) reductions against offerings from companies such as Microsoft, but also to fellow Linux lover IBM, with whom BEA and HP enjoy great rivalries.

While Microsoft largely eschews Linux for its Windows software, IBM is a huge purveyor of Linux, having thrust billions of dollars behind the open-source platform for the enterprise, and of Java, on which much of its software is based. Jackson thinks BEA, in conjunction with HP, have Big Blue licked thus far.

"The key with HP is... as customers are looking to Linux, they require different support from those they deem to be credible software/systems vendors," Jackson said. "BEA and HP offer start to finish joint offerings that give them ease of action and a trusted shoulder to lean on."

This isn't the first time BEA and HP have gotten together to combat Big Blue. In March, HP shared the stage with BEA at the BEA eWorld customer conference to demonstrate how the combination of a Java server software company and HP offers a compelling alternative to IBM. But that was for Web services. Linux is a whole other business and one that BEA and HP are confident they can prevail in.

In similar fashion, BEA also further shored up its long-standing partnership with Linux provider Red Hat. Both will team on a pre-configured, package that includes BEA WebLogic Server, BEA WebLogic JRockit, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and support offerings.

Ali Fenn, director of business development for the Java runtime products group at BEA, said the news is the third stage in the company's pact that goes back to 1999.

Fenn said combining WebLogic 8.1 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux will yield a cost-effective platform for companies to build their infrastructure and deliver Web applications for business process management, Web services and content management.