Server vendors show Red Hat that Oracle is boss

Peace, love and Larry


Analysis Oracle's move to support the Linux operating system has called more than Red Hat's business fundamentals into question. It has demanded that customers examine just how strong Red Hat's partner ties really are.

The likes of Dell, HP and IBM have enjoyed a very lucrative relationship with Red Hat, selling millions of servers to run RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). (Dell even invested in Red Hat.) Such profits, however, did little to stop the server makers from celebrating Oracle's advance into the Linux OS and support games.

"As a customer with first hand experience of Oracle's outstanding support organization, Dell will use Oracle to support Linux operating systems internally," said Michael Dell, the Chairman of Dell, in a statement, adding that customers can immediately pick up Oracle's Unbreakable Linux from his server store.

"HP welcomes the addition of Oracle's Unbreakable Linux program to the portfolio," said Mark Hurd, HP's chief and flavor of the month Chairman.

IBM didn't manage to plant a canned quotation in Sam Palmisano's mouth, but did pry open SVP Bill Zeitler's pie hole. "IBM shares Oracle's goal of making Linux a reliable, highly standard, cost effective platform for mission critical applications backed by world class support."

(Does Oracle not like Jonathan Schwartz's ponytail or did Solaris x86 have something to do with the Sun Microsystems snub?)

You can bet that such marketing material did not reach Oracle with ease.

All of the server vendors partner with a wide variety of companies, making yet another software tie-up commonplace. But it is unusual to see these vendors provide their top executives for an announcement that sent a key partner's share price down 25 per cent. Oracle's Linux revelation would have carried much less heft without the broad support from IBM, HP, Dell, NetApp, AMD and others.

This has to make you wonder what Red Hat has done to offend its partners.

"I'll bet Red Hat is plenty surprised by the endorsements," said Gabriel Consulting Group analyst Dan Olds. "I doubt they got a heads up.

"It seems like Red Hat has been a little bit - ok, a lot - arrogant in years past, and this could be their comeuppance."

At the same time, Olds chalks up the server vendor support to good, old fashioned business sense. The server makers have made more money with Oracle over the years and know that Larry's shop carries more weight in the industry.

"They don't and can't care about Red Hat's feelings," Olds said. "Oracle has much more market power in the enterprise than Red Hat, and this program is evidence of Oracle flexing their market muscles."

The broad support also has to make you wonder about IBM, HP and Dell's long-standing pledges to the good of Linux, if Oracle is indeed going to fork the operating system, as Red Hat claims. The hardware makers have gone pretty far with their bidding for Oracle by giving the go ahead for a major open source disruption.

Ultimately, the server vendors' position with the open source community should be safe because Oracle will fail with this Linux play. "Customers want branded bits, not cheap bits," one industry insider told us. "Can you imagine Red Hat showing up with a half-price Oracle database - the same code just stripped of copyright legends? Give me a break."

What we've learned though is that the hardware makers' relationship with Red Hat is not as tight as they'd have you believe. And their commitment to Linux purity is not as deep as claimed.

No one knows this now better than Red Hat, and we're curious how the software maker will react. ®


Other stories you might like

  • SpaceX Starlink sat streaks now present in nearly a fifth of all astronomical images snapped by Caltech telescope

    Annoying, maybe – but totally ruining this science, maybe not

    SpaceX’s Starlink satellites appear in about a fifth of all images snapped by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a camera attached to the Samuel Oschin Telescope in California, which is used by astronomers to study supernovae, gamma ray bursts, asteroids, and suchlike.

    A study led by Przemek Mróz, a former postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and now a researcher at the University of Warsaw in Poland, analysed the current and future effects of Starlink satellites on the ZTF. The telescope and camera are housed at the Palomar Observatory, which is operated by Caltech.

    The team of astronomers found 5,301 streaks leftover from the moving satellites in images taken by the instrument between November 2019 and September 2021, according to their paper on the subject, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters this week.

    Continue reading
  • AI tool finds hundreds of genes related to human motor neuron disease

    Breakthrough could lead to development of drugs to target illness

    A machine-learning algorithm has helped scientists find 690 human genes associated with a higher risk of developing motor neuron disease, according to research published in Cell this week.

    Neuronal cells in the central nervous system and brain break down and die in people with motor neuron disease, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the baseball player who developed it. They lose control over their bodies, and as the disease progresses patients become completely paralyzed. There is currently no verified cure for ALS.

    Motor neuron disease typically affects people in old age and its causes are unknown. Johnathan Cooper-Knock, a clinical lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England and leader of Project MinE, an ambitious effort to perform whole genome sequencing of ALS, believes that understanding how genes affect cellular function could help scientists develop new drugs to treat the disease.

    Continue reading
  • Need to prioritize security bug patches? Don't forget to scan Twitter as well as use CVSS scores

    Exploit, vulnerability discussion online can offer useful signals

    Organizations looking to minimize exposure to exploitable software should scan Twitter for mentions of security bugs as well as use the Common Vulnerability Scoring System or CVSS, Kenna Security argues.

    Better still is prioritizing the repair of vulnerabilities for which exploit code is available, if that information is known.

    CVSS is a framework for rating the severity of software vulnerabilities (identified using CVE, or Common Vulnerability Enumeration, numbers), on a scale from 1 (least severe) to 10 (most severe). It's overseen by First.org, a US-based, non-profit computer security organization.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022