Red Hat Summit: Linux Meets Cloud and Virtualization

At Red Hat Summit this week, CEO Jim Whitehurst will attempt to turn a rare triple play. Indeed, Whitehurst and the Red Hat team will strive to more clearly connect the dots between Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) and Cloud Foundations -- a set of educational tools that can help channel partners get started with cloud computing. Here's the update.

No doubt, Red Hat has been on a roll. The company's Q4 revenues, announced March 23, were $244.8 million, up 25% from the year ago quarter. The company has successfully pushed beyond its Linux heritage, promoting JBoss middleware to integrators and end-customers. But CEO Whitehurst has grander plans. At the 2010 Red Hat Summit, Whitehurst predicted Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) would eventually leapfrog VMware -- much in the way that Linux leapfrogged Sun Solaris and other Linux variants.

But how are the Red Hat virtualization and cloud strategies performing so far? We should get some answers this week at Red Hat Summit (May 3-6, Boston). No doubt, Red Hat faces a fierce uphill battle -- the most recent quarterly results suggest VMware and Citrix Systems, respectfully, continue to gain momentum in the virtualization market. (Red Hat, Citrix and VMware are each part of the Talkin' Cloud Stock Index.)

To potentially gain ground on its virtualization rivals, Red Hat is lining up hardware and software partners. The most recent move involves Acronis -- the backup and recovery specialist -- certifying its software on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. Similarly, Red Hat is working closely with Cisco Systems, ensuring Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization are certified to run on Cisco's Unified Computing System. But there again, Red Hat also faces challenges: VMware, after all, works closely with Cisco and EMC on the VCE corporate partnership.

Still, The VAR Guy has a hunch that RHEV will continue to gain momentum. And for good reason: It's built into RHEL, and it has a strong open source base. But can Red Hat connect the dots between RHEV and cloud computing? Red Hat VP and GM Scott Crenshaw sure thinks so. Indeed, Crenshaw explained Red Hat's Cloud Foundations strategy in this TalkinCloud FastChat video.

But that's just the start of the story. The next chapter will surely unfold this week at Red Hat Summit. The VAR Guy will be digging for more details. Oh, and don't forget: Red Hat is quietly piecing together plans for a potential partner summit. Anticipated date: Sometime around October 2011. The VAR Guy is watching.

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