Linuxworld: More services aimed at businesses

IBM, HP and Red Hat are among the major companies announcing details of their Linux strategies prior to the opening of LinuxWorld...

IBM, HP and Red Hat are among the major companies announcing details of their Linux strategies prior to the opening of LinuxWorld in New York.

Mike Balma, a Linux strategist at HP, said the move to an increased array of outsourcing, migration and porting services that have been traditionally available to Unix customers is part of the continued roll-out of the operating system within HP's product line.

Previously, HP had informally offered such integral service and support only to its best Linux customers. However, as the operating system gains momentum Balma said: "A worldwide customer base makes this viable".

Also new for HP is utility pricing, which allows Linux customers to pay for the operating system based on usage rather than standard licensing fees.

"This is part of an overall strategy for HP," Balma said. "We firmly believe that utility pricing is the way to go."

HP is also announcing new products in the telecommunications and networking markets, including new servers and increased graphics capabilities aimed at customers requiring high-performance 3D graphics. "Linux is coming in in different places than people expect," Balma said.

IBM last week announced its first Linux-only mainframe due in March. The company said the mainframe- equipped with up to four processors and with a starting price of $400,000 (£284,000) - will bring mainframe computing to businesses at lower prices than seen before.

The new machines will "expose Linux on the mainframe to a new set of customers who didn't have traditional mainframe skills," said Peter McCaffrey, managing director of zSeries sales at IBM.

Traditional mainframe users are also being targeted with the new hardware, because it will allow server consolidation and lower costs, he said. The new mainframes will available with Red Hat, SuSE or TurboLinux operating systems.

Red Hat plans to tout broadened services to customers and is unveiling new secure enterprise services and support programmes to larger businesses. "We're really scaling this thing and putting in enterprise functionality," said Paul Cormier, an executive vice-president of engineering at Red Hat.

The new offerings will include workgroup services aimed at managing large numbers of machines, as well as new tools to provide multiple administrative, updating and security capabilities under the Red Hat Network management services.

About 150 vendors are expected to attend the show.

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