Red Hat Prepares Business Application Stacks
Among a flurry of announcements from Red Hat today, the open source giant unveiled the Red Hat Partner Federation and the Red Hat Exchange (RHX). The big question: Will third-party application providers support the Red Hat initiatives?
As The VAR Guy anticipated about a month ago, the federation and RHX will supply pre-integrated business application software stacks to customers. The stacks will feature business applications from third-party software developers and infrastructure software from Red Hat.
The move both simplifies and complicates the open source market. On the one hand, Red Hat needs to provide leadership in the highly fragmented market for open source applications. Companies like MySQL, Centric CRM, Sugar CRM and Zimbra need a central force to help them coordinate and promote their efforts.
Now, for the challenging part: Several third-party companies and organizations–such as SpikeSource and the Open Solutions Alliance–already work with open source partners to design server stacks or integrate applications. Also, Red Hat’s RHX system won’t go live until later this year. And it’s unclear whether open source business application providers will embrace the system.
In some ways, the open source market is beginning to resemble the Windows NT Server market of the mid-1990s, when IBM, Oracle and Microsoft all began building integrated server stacks for that operating system.
Over the next few months, Red Hat will need to balance several competing temptations. Even as the company builds RHX and seeks application partners, Red Hat may also be in the market for additional acquisitions. Much like Microsoft, Red Hat could wind up competing and cooperating with many of its application partners.