Red Hat: Long-Term Managed Services Strategy?

At Red Hat Summit in Chicago, most discussions involve open cloud computing strategies. But if you listen closely enough you can begin to hear the start of a managed services strategy from Red Hat. Here's the scoop.

First, the official news: Red Hat has launched Red Hat Network Satellite 5.3. According to a Red Hat press release, the offering is:

"an on-premises systems management solution that provides software updates, configuration management, provisioning and monitoring for Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployments."
During a Sept. 2 press conference, I asked Red Hat officials if they plan to enhance Satellite -- or develop a new product -- that allows VARs and managed services providers to remotely manage customers' networks.

There was about a second or two of silence. Then, Red Hat officials said: "We're absolutely open to those discussions and we're engaging in several discussions on that front."

On paper, the words don't say that much. But hearing them live and seeing the body language of multiple Red Hat officials indicated to me that Red Hat is definitely exploring some new remote management opportunities.

Still, I think this is a long-term strategy rather than a near-term opportunity. When I followed-up with Roger Egan, Red Hat's VP of North American channels, he deferred my questions about potential MSP tools back to the technology team I head interviewed earlier.

The Bigger Picture

Red Hat isn't the only Linux provider looking at the managed services market. Canonical has already launched a remote management tool -- called Landscape -- for Ubuntu servers and desktops. And longer term, Canonical is planning a Landscape option for VARs and MSPs.

In the meantime, the managed services market is filled with open source-based remote management tools. But using those tools often requires careful consideration.

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