red-hat-summit-jboss-worldThe VAR Guy is hanging out with 1,400 of his closest friends at Red Hat Summit and JBoss World in Chicago. Here are seven key observations -- involving Red Hat's business, channel and partner strategies -- so far.

So, let's get started...

7. Test this appliance: Synnex is demonstrating a Hewlett-Packard server appliance equipped with applications from the Open Source Channel Alliance. The Open Source Jumpstart Appliance is specifically designed for VARs and integrators to install in customer settings. Of course, regular readers of this blog already knew about the appliance and its implications for VARs.

6. Short Sell Unix, Buy and Hold Linux: Vinod Kutty, associate director at CME Group (operator of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange), called Linux the Wikipedia of software: Since contributions keep accelerating, it seems like Linux is an unstoppable force.

During a luncheon for press and media (yes, The VAR Guy got in...), Kutty described why CME Group migrated from Sun SPARC/Solaris to Intel/Red Hat. His answers seemed obvious -- but firm. There's no going back to Unix... not even OpenSolaris, because the Linux community contributions continue to accelerate. Watch for a FastChat Video with Kutty on TheVARguy.com in the next few days.

5. Government Open Source Conference: Carahsoft, a government IT solutions provider, and Red Hat are starting to quietly talk about a Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) that will be this fall in Washington, D.C.

4. Coming to America... And JBoss: The VAR Guy met two attendees from Australia. Both represent major banks that are seeking to migrate off of proprietary middleware solutions (Oracle/BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere) and onto Red Hat JBoss. The big reason: The cost and complexity of proprietary middleware. This isn't an isolated trend. During an informal lunch discussion, about 10 other attendees seated at the table shared similar middleware migration priorities.

3. Where's MySQL?: Dozens of open source application developers and integrators are at the event. But a big one -- MySQL -- is missing in action. Where is the open source database provider? The VAR Guy has sent an email to MySQL asking why they apparently aren't attending. But the big winners appear to be EnterpriseDB and Ingres, which are enjoying heavy foot traffic in their booths.

2. Linux Blends With Virtualization: The launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 furthers Red Hat's virtualization strategy. Red Hat Global Channel Chief Mark Enzweiler concedes that many Red Hat partners currently sell and support VMware. He also concedes that Red hat had virtualization earlier in its operating system but "we didn't get the uptake and we didn't do a good job marketing it." This time around, Enzweiler says, the story will be different. Hmmm. The VAR Guy will be watching Red Hat's virtualization progress closely.

1. Open Sourcing Clouds: Red Hat is warning attendees not to get locked into "proprietary" clouds from Microsoft (Windows Azure) and VMware, among others. Red Hat also took a few subtle shots at Oracle. Read between the lines and Red Hat sees the software market as a four horse race: Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat and VMware. For the sake of political correctness, The VAR Guy listed the four vendors alphabetically and refuses to choose favorites.

It was pretty daring of he company to host Red Hat Summit the week of VMworld -- which attracted more than 11,000 attendees in San Francisco. In stark contrast, roughly 1,400 people are at Red Hat Summit and JBoss World (located together in Chicago).

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