Cisco’s big Unified Computing blade server push yesterday pulled in a lot of partners, among them Red Hat. There are a number of things that make the Red Hat / Cisco partnership extremely interesting from my point of view that indicate the importance of Linux to Cisco and of Cisco to Linux. Among them is the fact that from day one Linux will be a key operating system for the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).
1) For one, while Cisco had many partners joining its release, only EMC, VMware, BMC, Accenture and Red Hat got their own unique press releases listed on the Cisco website.
2) In the Red Hat release on the Cisco site, there is a video from Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst that exposes some really interesting facts. Among them is the fact that Red Hat and Cisco have joint beta site customers (plural) for the Unified Computing System. That’s A BIG DEAL. During Cisco’s press conference yesterday, Cisco claimed to have only 10 beta sites for UCS in total.
That means that at least 20 percent (and maybe more if you consider that several means more than one) of Cisco’s UCS business will be Linux from day one.
Cisco and Red Hat have worked together on high speed messaging related to RDMA – remote direct memory access (something I reported on earlier this month that both Red Hat and Cisco use). Cisco is a top contributor to Linux overall, working on its own as well as with partners Red Hat and MontaVista Software.
Having Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a key operating system on the massive Cisco blade server will bring Linux to a scale that is industry leading in many respects. With scale comes improvements, and since Red Hat is open source, those improvements will find their way into the Linux mainstream at some point benefitting the wider community.