Red Hat partners for corporate Linux services

The Linux company and Computer Associates announce a partnership to help push the operating system into corporate environments.

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Red Hat and Computer Associates announced a partnership to help push the Linux operating system into corporate environments.

Computer Associates will release Linux versions of several software packages used by large corporations, which Red Hat also will sell. In addition, Computer Associates will begin offering Linux professional services such as installation and customization, tied in with Red Hat's technical support services.

The move is a boost to Red Hat's effort to gain a greater presence in large corporations. The deal also could help Red Hat move toward its goal of making more money from services instead of sales of ordinary software.

The bundled services and software will help get Red Hat "out of the box and into the enterprise," said CA chief operating officer Sanjay Kumar.

Red Hat is making progress toward this goal of services revenue, an important part of the company's business plan given that the underlying Linux software can be obtained for free. In its most recent quarter, ending November 30, Red Hat reported services revenue of $1.6 million, compared to $360,000 the same quarter the year before. In comparison, product revenue grew less quickly, rising from $3 million to $3.4 million over the same span of time.

But selling Linux services is an increasingly crowded field. IBM, the Santa Cruz Operation, LinuxCare, and VA Linux Systems have aggressive plans in place.

Under the new arrangement, Red Hat and CA will give each other a percentage of the money earned when they sell each other's software and services, said Red Hat chief executive Matthew Szulik.

The relationship with Red Hat and CA began a year ago, when CA gave away a half million copies of its Unicenter TNG software for Linux, which helps administrators keep track of computers on a network, and Red Hat agreed to include Unicenter in its Linux software bundle.

The new Linux services from CA will be available by April, when the CA World show begins, Kumar said. The company expects about 15 percent of its services business to come from Linux, he added.

Included in CA's new software offerings are InoculateIT, which protects against viruses; MasterIT, which lets a Linux computer be used to manage other machines on a network; NetworkIT, which lets Linux computers be tuned to offer good network performance; and ArcServeIT, a backup program.

Veritas, a CA competitor that has a strong presence selling backup software to large corporate customers, also announced Linux plans, saying it will make Linux versions of its software available by the end of the year.

Red Hat is helping in that relationship, too, Veritas said in a statement. Veritas and Red Hat "plan to mutually explore marketing programs and sales and support strategies," the company said.