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Red Hat aiming to grow JBoss at twice the rate of RHEL

The company is gunning for $1 billion in revenue within the next three years, and this time, it's not just a Red Hat Enterprise Linux story.

I saw that Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat's new CEO, is gunning for $1 billion in revenue within the next three years. Given that Red Hat did $400 million in 2007, up from $278 million in 2006, this is perhaps not all that surprising of a goal.

What is more interesting is that Red Hat expects to get there by growing JBoss at twice the rate of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL, operating system. I believe that JBoss was on target to hit (roughly) $60 million in 2006. It may have fallen short of that, but let's assume that it managed to hit $75 million to $90 million in fiscal year 2007.

With Red Hat sales (not revenue) growing 41 percent over the past five years, let's also assume that Red Hat's growth target for JBoss is 80 percent to 100 percent each year (though, as I note below, it could be much lower).

This would put JBoss revenue at roughly $135 million to $180 million in 2008, unless my math--and assumption--is way off. (I was an English literature major, so it may well be off.) If this is true, that's a pretty amazing number for a free application server.

Even if we take the lower quarter-over-quarter growth rate reported in the last earnings call (28 percent growth in the third quarter of 2008 from that of 2007), that's still a sizable jump, from $120 million to $144 million in 2008 (Red Hat's fiscal year 2009). That would be pretty exciting.