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Red Hat Taps Amazon Compute Cloud

Red Hat Taps Amazon Compute Cloud
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Following news that Red Hat would release a beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, analyst Dana Gardner said the pact makes development and deployment to Red Hat Enterprise Linux "much more of a deploy-once, run-anywhere value." Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2 is available as a private beta.

On Wednesday, Red Hat announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is available on Amazon. Red Hat is releasing a beta version of its OS on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a Web service that hosts business software applications.

The companies described the move as a way to change the economics of computing by allowing customers to pay only for the infrastructure software services and capacity they actually use. RHEL on EC2 allows customers to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, eliminating the need to overbuy software and hardware to handle spikes in demand.

"This offering will be appealing to developers, customers looking to quickly and cost-effectively deploy Web-scale services, and businesses that require rapidly scaled compute resources," Donald Fischer, vice president of Online Services at Red Hat, said in a statement. "The marriage of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Amazon's EC2 service makes the promise of professional Web scale computing a reality."

Deploy Once, Run Anywhere

RHEL, with integrated virtualization, promises to be a seamless deployment solution that bridges cloud and on-premise computing. Red Hat is offering a set of management and automation tools across on-premise and EC2 deployments, and will provide technical support and maintenance of RHEL on Amazon EC2, making it the first commercially supported software on the service.

Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, said the agreement gives Amazon a wider developer and ISV community channel and offers Red Hat the opportunity to give developers and ISVs more options.

"Now, developers don't have to come up with up-front capital expenses to create data centers. They can place these applications up on the EC2 cloud, pay for them on a per-use basis, get the revenue from the subscription and the use of the applications, and very easily be able to predict the margin and create an ongoing recurring revenue business model," Gardner explained. "This also makes development and deployment to Red Hat Enterprise Linux much more of a deploy-once, run-anywhere value."

Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2 is available as a private beta, with public beta availability planned for the fourth calendar quarter of 2007. Base prices are $19 per month, per user and $0.21, $0.53, or $0.94 for every compute hour used on Amazon's EC2 service, depending on whether customers choose a small, large, or extralarge compute instance size, plus bandwidth and storage fees.

Automating Linux

In other Red Hat news, the company announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 with integrated virtualization. This release provides virtualization capabilities that complement Red Hat's newly announced Linux Automation strategy. Red Hat is promising up to twice the performance of proprietary virtualization products

"Our initial testing indicates that Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualization delivers significant performance gains for our compute intensive applications and should provide an additional layer of abstraction that will help us manage multiple competing priorities," Derek Chan, head of Digital Operations for DreamWorks Animation, said in a statement.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualization lets users perform live migration, allowing customers to move running applications from one server to another. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform includes high-availability clustering, storage virtualization, and failover software to provide enhanced levels of application availability, for both physical and virtual servers.

Red Hat also announced plans to enable independent software vendors to deliver appliance-based solutions to their customers. The Red Hat Appliance Operating System will allow applications that are certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux to be deployed as software appliances, including those running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, VMware ESX, and Microsoft Windows Viridian.

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