Red Hat acquires way into Windows game

Linux seller buys Qumranet, an open-source virtualization company, for what sources say is roughly $100 million. The acquisition gives Red Hat an instant Microsoft solution.

Just four days after Red Hat closed its second quarter, the company has announced the acquisition of Qumranet, an open-source virtualization company, positioning the open-source leader to close many more successful quarters to come.

Red Hat acquired Qumranet for $107 million in cash, according to the company, which is surprising, given Qumranet's comparative lack of revenue, having only released its product in September of 2007.

Such is the importance of virtualization. I'd argue that Qumranet was worth the hefty multiple.

In a statement, Red Hat claims that it "can now deliver what virtualization-only vendors cannot: a comprehensive solution integrated with the operating system, which can drive down IT costs while simultaneously enhancing the flexibility and responsiveness of IT infrastructure." Nice, but the the more interesting news embedded in the Qumranet acquisition is the Windows management technology that comes with it:

The Qumranet acquisition also extends Red Hat's virtualization solutions for managing Windows desktops. SolidICE is a high-performance, scalable desktop virtualization solution built specifically for virtual desktops, not simply a retrofit from server virtualization solutions. SolidICE is designed to enable a user's Windows or Linux desktop to run in a virtual machine that is hosted on a central server.

Qumranet has been making waves for its innovative VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure). Qumranet's SolidICE makes it easy to "offer remote PCs access to virtual desktops via a Web browser," including Windows desktops.

In other words, Red Hat just got in the Windows game without having to get its hands dirty with the Microsoft operating system.

It will be interesting to see what Red Hat will do with the proprietary Qumranet technology. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Moshe Bar and the rest of the Qumranet management team fit into Red Hat's corporate structure. (Moshe is a longtime entrepreneur who had previously been behind Qlusters.)

Finally, I still want to know why the Qumranet team decided to take its name from where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Inquiring Bible-savvy minds want to know. :-)

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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