Red Hat Launches Integrated Linux-JBoss Software Stack
Published: September 19, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
As it has promised it would do after closing its acquisition of the formerly independent Java middleware supplier, JBoss, commercial Linux distributor Red Hat today announced that it had create a single, integrated stack of its Linux variant and the JBoss middleware. By integrating the software and giving it a slightly discounted price, Red Hat hopes to make it easier for companies that have adopted Java or LAMP to deploy applications on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.
The combined software, which is known as the Red Hat Application Stack, isn't just about supporting Java, but that is clearly a platform that many enterprises have adopted and which JBoss had built a considerable. But to do Java alone is not enough in the Linux world, so Red Hat has to include support for Perl, PHP, and Python for those who have chosen the Linux-Apache-MySQL stack to support their applications. And the MySQL database is not in itself sufficient, either, for enterprises, since some companies prefer PostgreSQL. Moreover, companies don't pick the LAMP stack over Java--they often run both side by side, using different languages for different parts of the code. And so, Red Hat's Application Stack has a diversity of middleware and programming languages all put atop Linux.
Specifically, the Application Stack includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux (either the ES or AS variant), the JBoss Application Server, which makes Java and the Apache Web server play nicely with each other, and the JBoss Hibernate tool, which makes Java and SQL play nicely together. The Application Stack also includes a license to the latest releases of the MySQL or PostgreSQL databases. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux distro already includes the Apache Web server and Perl, Python, and PHP as well as a Java virtual machine. With the Application Stack, Red Hat has integrated all of these tools and then ginned up a price for the complete package.
"This is one stack, one support call, one subscription, and one price," explains Todd Barr, director of enterprise marketing at Red Hat. The company is providing one-stop shopping to Linux customers, but more importantly, one-stop installation and technical support--all at a discounted price. According to Barr, the combined pieces offer a discount in the range of around 20 percent compared to buying support for the piece parts separately.
Red Hat is offering the Application Stack in three flavors, and at an aggressive initial price to try to compel its adoption by enterprise companies who want to deploy PHP and Java applications on Linux. The basic edition of the Application Stack runs on RHEL 4 ES and has the same support as the basic edition of that Linux, which means you have patches and updates and 30 days of installation support. It costs $1,999 for a two-socket server, compared to $349 for RHEL 4 ES itself. The standard edition of the Application Stack is based on RHEL AS with standard support, and it costs $5,499. Like the standard edition of RHEL 4 AS, the standard edition of the Application Stack has 5x12 telephone support and Web support. RHEL 4 AS costs $1,999 on a four-socket server. The premium edition of the Application Stack costs $8,499, and it includes 24x7 tech support; the premium edition of RHEL 4 AS by itself costs $2,499 on a four-socket box.
As you can see from the numbers, Red Hat is charging a larger premium for the software stack on smaller machines with thinner tech support than on bigger boxes with more tech support. But, as Barr explains, before JBoss was taken over by Red Hat, JBoss didn't even supply licenses and support for two-socket machines. So even though the pricing is not as low, per socket, on a smaller server, at least now companies can get the software on such machines. One last thing: Barr says that these prices for the Application Stack are special introductory prices, and that they are probably going to go up. He expects that the entry configuration will be around $2,500 and the top-end will be around $10,000 at some point in the future. So, if you want the stack, you should get it now rather than waiting.
The Application Stack is supported through the Red Hat Network, the same system that supports RHEL 4. Customers who want to continue to use JBoss Online Network to manage the JBoss components in the stack can do so if they want to. Developer resources for the stack are available at http://rhstack.108.redhat.com.
Any of the channel partners of Red Hat or the former JBoss can peddle the Application Stack, and any of their downstream partners--such as those linked into CDW, Ingram Micro, or Tech Data can sell the product. Barr says that Red Hat has about 500 channel partners worldwide, and that they have another factor of ten larger number of partners downstream from them. This is a large base of resellers through which to push the Application Stack. Barr says that Red Hat does about 60 percent of its business through its reseller channel, in fact, while JBoss only sold directly.
Incidentally, you can buy JBoss Application Server or JBoss Hibernate separately, just like always, as well as the full JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite. Red Hat's integrated offering is not replacing the other packaging that JBoss offered.
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