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Red Hat Tests Positive for IBM eServer

IBM on Tuesday said it will sell Red Hat software concurrently with its 64-bit computing platform, two months after taking a stake in the parent of the Linux vendor's main competitor.

The deal lets Big Blue sales representatives sell Red Hat Enterprise v3 with IBM's POWER eServer and BladeCenter systems, in addition to its AIX and OS/400 operating systems.

Red Hat spokesperson Leigh Day said the company's compatibility with IBM's POWER platform, makes it the first to have a compatible product up and down the network stack. Red Hat's Enterprise edition OS is certified on IBM's x86 servers, BladeCenter and s390 mainframe.

Red Hat and SuSE are the most popular commercial Linux vendors in the software market (with the Debian Project making inroads). Red Hat, however, has a lead over its European peer in the server market, according to recent IDC research.

Day said the IBM agreement is part of a larger strategy to give Linux a solid presence in the enterprise.

"Red Hat has an open source architecture strategy where we're trying to promote a common code base on all systems in the infrastructure," she told internetnews.com. "This arrangement with IBM echoes that strategy in that now, across an enterprise that's running IBM, they will have certified, standards-based enterprise Linux from an xSeries workstation all the way through to the mainframe."

It may seem peculiar , the Armonk, N.Y., company, which just months ago helped Novell purchase Germany-based SuSE Linux with a $50 million investment, would give a competing vendor the chance to sell software on its hardware.

Any software vendor, however, can participate in IBM's ServerProven compatibility program, a program that ensures software from third-party vendors works well with IBM's servers. Both Red Hat and SuSE are long-time members of the compatibility program, and have certified their software on IBM's x86 servers.

An IBM spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Officials at Red Hat say they are the first major Linux distributor to reach an agreement to sell its enterprise operating system on IBM's POWER platform, the eServer machines that run on 64-bit microprocessors, either as a standalone or all the way up to 32-way server networks.

Red Hat also puts its OS software through the compatibility ropes with other hardware vendor's enterprise systems, including HP , Dell and Fujitsu-Siemens.