Qualcomm (QCOM) and Red Hat (RHT) have forged a stronger partnership centered around ARM chips, bringing new open source, Linux-based ARM server options to the channel through Red Hat's partner program.

The companies announced on Wednesday that they are working to make Qualcomm's 64-bit ARM server chips available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). As of now, they report having "successfully booted Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM."

To be sure, that's a far cry from actually having a production-ready ARM solution for Red Hat's enterprise open source operating system. But it's a step in that direction, and it's clear the partners want to get to general availability sooner rather than later.

Organizations that participate in Red Hat's Partner Early Access Program (PEAP) can already test the ARM build of RHEL, the companies say -- although they emphasize that the platform currently remains unsupported.

There has been much talk over the past several years of ARM-based Linux servers, but very little in the way of delivery. That is surprising, since these platforms have much to offer for the channel. They promise to lower hardware costs and save a lot of energy -- an especially significant benefit in an age of ever-increasing datacenter facility costs and attention to the environmental impact of computing.

Customers will still have to wait before they can run ARM servers using Red Hat Enterprise Linux or another commercially supported open source OS in production environments. But the Qualcomm announcement this week is a sure sign that such solutions are on the way, after much anticipation.