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The State of Enterprise Linux - page 2

Evolving Enterprises

  • February 5, 2007
  • By Aaron Weiss

For many in IT, Red Hat and enterprise Linux are nearly synonymous, which is good news for the company and daunting news to its competitors. To date, Red Hat has maintained the longest running enterprise Linux product in the United States. The company's current flagship, Enterprise Linux 4, has enjoyed widespread adoption. Rolled out in early 2005, RHEL 4 boosted the company's revenue 58 percent compared to 2004, to $196.5 million.

In contrast to hardware-bound Unix platforms, Red Hat touts its flexibility by certifying RHEL on more than 750 systems, ranging from 32-bit x86 to 64-bit Xeon, Itanium, to IBM S/390 and POWERz processors.

Likewise, because Red Hat is so well established, it has deep-rooted support among OEMs, including Dell and IBM. Buyers can either pick up RHEL "off the shelf" for a variety of systems or purchase turnkey bundles along with hardware from OEM vendors.

Two notable challenges facing Red Hat into the future are global expansion and increased competition. Red Hat's market remains primarily in the United States, while competitor SUSE, although now owned by Novell, still enjoys greater recognition overseas, particularly in Europe where it was founded.

In addition, some argue that Red Hat's huge market share is in part the result of limited competition in the enterprise Linux space. But that space is becoming a little more crowded, and it remains to be seen how Red Hat will fare in a more competitive environment.

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