Volume 5, Number 7 -- February 19, 2008

Red Hat and Hyperic Team on Linux Management

Published: February 19, 2008

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Commercial Linux distributor Red Hat has not had as deep a partnership with systems management software maker Hyperic as the formerly independent and now middleware unit of the company, JBoss, did. But with the joint RHQ project announced last week at the JBoss World conference in Orlando, Red Hat is now forming the same deep ties with Hyperic that JBoss had, and taking it further than an alliance the two companies formed in November 2007.

The RHQ Project will bring together the systems management development teams of Red Hat and Hyperic to create a common, open source code base for a network-enabled systems management tool that will eventually become the code base for both Red Hat and Hyperic products. The code created under RHQ will be released under a GNU General Public License, and will include plug-ins, as well as the core systems management code. The current joint tool stack has the ability to auto-discover and inventory hardware, operating systems, middleware, and other software out on the network, as well as collecting data on how software is running and alerting system managers. According to Doug MacEachern, chief technology officer at Hyperic, the RHQ Project's code base will be used in JBoss Operations Network V2.0, which is expected to be announced this spring, and will also be the foundation of the HQ 4.0 release of Hyperic's tool.

HQ can find just about any operating system, database, or application server, plus other common components such as VMware hypervisors or Citrix Systems Metaframe client/server middleware.

The initial JBoss Operations Network software, announced in June 2006 just after Red Hat closed its acquisition of JBoss, was itself created by JBoss but has considerable input from Hyperic's HQ product already. (This was possible because of a licensing arrangement for HQ signed by JBoss dating from August 2005.) Ironically, the HQ systems management product (which is also available as an open source tool) was itself built on JBoss middleware. MacEachern says that approximately 90 percent of RHQ was written in Java, but that the cross-platform system APIs are based on a popular library called Cigar, which is written in C for performance and portability reasons and which is also an open source product governed by the GPL.

Hyperic was founded in March 2004 by former members of the Apache Web server project who used to work for Covalent Technologies, and the company's founders had the goal of taking the open source approach to systems management in an imitation of what Red Hat was able to do with operating systems with its implementation of Linux. At the time when the Hyperic and JBoss partnership was announced, I mused that it was a bit of a mystery why Red Hat didn't just buy Hyperic, and this is still an obvious question, two years later.

MacEachern says that HQ does not do provisioning of software or server resources--something that would be useful in a system management product, but says that this capability will very likely be added to future releases of the RHQ product. He adds that other Linux distributors are absolutely able to join the RHQ project, but adds that the discussions to date for the RHQ project have been solely with Red Hat.

As part of the deal, Hyperic has also joined the Red Hat Exchange, the online jukebox of open source applications that Red Hat established last year to bring key open source software into a single place where enterprises could get the code and support for it.


Open Source Projects Form Open Solutions Alliance

JBoss Moves Into Systems Management, Delivers Seam 1.0

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Kevin Vandever,
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