Backup Firm Wants to Back Linux

By Michael Floyd

Hoping to entice enterprise customers who may be looking to leverage the
value of open source software, data recovery and backup company BakBone Software is spearheading an initiative to spread more Linux distributions in the enterprise market.

Known as Linux Advantage, the new initiative lays out an agreement between a
limited number of Linux distributors that include Red Hat of Raleigh, N.C., SuSE, Miracle Linux and Turbolinux of Japan,
Red Flag Software of China, and Connectiva in Latin America.

At the core of the initiative is a partner’s program that certifies
BakBone’s NetVault backup and restore software on each of the partners’ Linux distributions.
The elements of the initiative include certification, branding, and joint
marketing agreements.

The San Diego-based BakBone is betting that Linux’s path to greater enterprise adoption, as well as its own fortunes for that matter, run through the data center, where industrial-strength backup and recovery services have historically run on proprietary operating systems in enterprise networks.

But in the larger picture, the agreement signals that Linux distributions
may now be able to compete head to head with Windows and UNIX in the
data center arena. Until now, most enterprise managers concerned with issues such as
total cost of ownership and return on investment have not seriously
considered Linux. But Linux distributors are working to change that.

By
introducing industrial-strength backup and recovery services, Linux
distributions can now offer support beyond basic file server and print
services, the group said.

“This is a proclamation that Linux is ready for the enterprise,” said
Peter Eck, Vice President of Marketing at BakBone Software.

Eck points out that one of the obstacles to Linux adoption in the
data center is that customers don’t want to sacrifice their data-protection
strategies for open systems. Such strategies include mission-critical data
protection, recovery, and disaster recovery.

The goal of the group is to let IT managers have more choices by enabling the cost-savings Linux offers without anxiety over the reliability of an open-source solution.

Leigh Day, spokesperson for Red Hat, claimed other advantages. “As part of
[our Open Source Architecture] strategy it is our goal to move open source
into more areas of key business infrastructure, including backup and
recovery of information in addition to middleware, systems management and
other areas of virtualization. Working with partners like BakBone, Red Hat
is able to make these solutions, available to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
customers.”

Until now enterprise mangers have also expressed concern over Linux
deployments because there is no clear vendor to call when things go wrong.

But Day points out that, “In the process of becoming a Red Hat Certified
Application, BakBone has taken many steps to ensure complete compatibility
of NetVault with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Certification holds both Red Hat
and BakBone accountable for delivering a tightly integrated, fully
functional solution.”

Day added that “[Red Hat] will work to make deploying enterprise systems
faster and more secure, and will also work with members of the community to
make a standards-based open source application server available to Red Hat
Enterprise Linux customers.”

Still, as Eck pointed out, “this is only Phase One” for the group. The next phase,
which is expected to be announced at the Linux World trade show in January, is to include enterprise application vendors, device manufacturers, and others that want to make a play in the Linux for the enterprise market.

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