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"India Is Strategically Important Marketplace For Red Hat"

Red Hat is the market leader in open source operating system software and services, offering its award-winning Red Hat Linux operating system and a full line of related services. Red Hat India, a Joint Venture between Red Hat Inc. and Clover Technologies, is looking to market Red Hat Linux in the Indian sub-continent, as also support and service Linux users here. Javed Tapia, director, Red Hat India Pvt. is currently looking at addressing the growth of Linux in the Indian and Asia Pacific markets and provide Red Hat Inc a strong technical support base in India. Network magazine caught up with him to get an idea about what Red Hat plans to do in India

Red Hat is often regarded as the Microsoft of the Open Source Movement in spite of the success it has achieved. Why so?
This is more perception rather than reality. This impression may hold good for the fact that Red Hat has a 55% market share.

However, if you are considering the market penetration aspect, there is a fundamental difference in Red Hat's approach. In closed source model, the solution vendor controls the solution completely, whereas in Open Source model it is control by the development community.

Red Hat has made substantial contribution in providing the commercial face to the open source software. It has close relationship with IBM, Oracle, Intel, and SAP. This has enabled customers to adopt open source software without fear of non-availability of commercial software on open source platform.

Red Hat also contributes to the Open Source Movement substantially by engineering open source, and by providing services and training to its customers. Its presence in 18 countries provides its customers easy access to Linux.

Finally, Red Hat does all these things by closely adhering to the Open Source Model and GPL.

In the enterprise segment Red Hat or for that matter any other distribution has not been able to make much impact, Ariba or Commerce One for that matter are not available on a Linux platform. How is Red Hat working to change that situation?
Red Hat has predominantly focused on the enterprise segment and has made a substantial impact. In fact both Oracle Applications and SAP are available on Linux. Ariba and Commerce One are only one end of the Enterprise Computing segment. Today most of the enterprise platforms such as Oracle, SAP are available on Red Hat Linux. This is in addition to other enterprise solutions such as Veritas. Today it is a preferred platform vendor for IBM for its Intel and other Unix platforms.

Considering its market leadership, Red Hat places continuous efforts by optimizing Red Hat Linux OS for these enterprise solutions. For example, Red Hat Linux optimized for Oracle or SAP.

Sometime back Red Hat had launched Certification Programs. What is the idea behind launching these certification programs and are you working in collaboration with Linux Professional Institute (LPI)?

Red Hat wishes to build a community of Linux professionals who have expertise on Linux and are up to a common set standard. Also, the high-end Linux courses offered by Red Hat on embedded systems programming and on device driver programming offers individuals the best in training programs. The RHCE program is not connected with LPI.

Where do you see Red Hat progressing in India and what do you think could be a possible contribution to the Open Source Movement from our side?
India is strategically important marketplace for Red Hat. Along with server market segment, Red Hat will also focus on desktop market in India. Today Red Hat India offers all products and services in India that are globally available. Red Hat will also focus on training. This will create gamut of Linux skills available locally.

With respect to the Open Source Movement, Red Hat will play a responsible and substantial role in creating awareness about the Open Source Model in corporate India. Red Hat India will also work closely with Open Source companies in India by transferring required technology and joint marketing.

The Ramen virus points to the risks involved with open-source-code--and the lack of a sound security-distribution system to address them. Red Hat was one of the distributions vastly affected by it. How is Red Hat gearing up to ensure that similar problems don't happen again?
Red Hat Linux systems that haven't been protected against vulnerabilities like rpc-statd, wu-ftpd and LPRng and BINDsoftware typically get affected. All of these vulnerabilities are well known and can be blocked by readily available patches. What is also important is how quickly Red Hat makes its customers aware of these problems and how quickly the solutions are available worldwide.

Till date Red Hat has penetrated into the Proxy Server/Mail Server segments. But with the release of Windows 2000 Data Centre, Microsoft is addressing high-end enterprise clients. Any thoughts on these developments?

Red Hat Linux is a proven technology in Internet space. Apache, another open source software is way ahead of Microsoft Web Server solutions. WRT Microsoft Windows 2000 Data Center, Red Hat is well aware of the competition. With the launch of Red Hat Linux 7.1 (with 2.4 kernel), on enterprise platforms, it is well placed to address data centres and other enterprise market segment.

What is Red Hat's strategy for Data Centres and Storage Area Networks?
Veritas Product Suite (NetBackup) is available on Red Hat Linux to handle Data Centers & Storage Area Networks. Red Hat India will soon launch a market promotional program for this segment along with Enterprise Platform providers.

What do you think a Linux distribution like Red Hat lacks to become the preferred OS for mobile devices?
This is not true. Samsung has chosen Red Hat to create Open Source Development Tools for Next Generation Low Power Chips (Sep 26, 2000) while Ericsson & Red Hat have formed a strategic initiative in home communication products.

Can you share some details about the Embedded Development Tool developed jointly by you and Grammar Technologies for running open source software?
Grammar Engine, Inc.'s PromICE.net, a memory emulator that allows embedded developers to collaboratively build applications over the Internet, runs on uClinux operating system technology that was implemented by Red Hat.

PromICE.net, based on the NetSilicon processor, is an embedded development tool that runs open source software. Its Web server capabilities enable embedded developers to put their target on the Internet and allow co-workers to access it from anywhere in the world for development of new applications.

How does Red Hat fit into the High Availbility Solutions? (FOS and LVS technologies and its applications)?
Red Hat has a separate product called Red Hat HA for Enterprise that encompasses both the technologies—FOS & LVS.

Clustering: The HA Product does "High Availability" clustering only. This is software based clustering method that runs on all Red Hat Linux compatible x86 hardware.

(In other words, if they can install and run Red Hat Linux on a system then they can use the clustering. The HA server can be configured to provide either Fail Over Services (FOS) or Linux Virtual Server (LVS) functionality.

A Real Server is the term used to describe the server that actually provides Web or ftp services that are covered in our High Availability product.

Piranha is the Web-based GUI that allows remote configuration and administration of the routers/servers in FOS or the routers in LVS. It is run remotely by pointing a browser to the active running machine.

Fail Over Services (FOS)

FOS consists of an active node providing Web, ftp, etc services and an inactive node that is monitoring the active node to determine if it goes down in any way. If the Active node goes down, the inactive node will take over services. There can be multiple shared data sources behind the two nodes or the nodes may simply mirror data.

FOS Support Coverage: Only the two main nodes and the use of the Piranha configuration tool from another system (i.e. Web-based GUI) are within the scope of coverage for support.

Linux Virtual Server (LVS)
LVS sets up routers, active and inactive for backup, that load balance Web and ftp requests in different ways to the real servers that exist on the network behind them. These real servers can be on any OS that supports the use of the following commands: uptime, ruptime, rup. These system level commands are common tools for determining the status of a system remotely. Once again, only two routers and the use of the piranha config tool from another system is covered by the support policy provided with the product.

LVS Support Coverage: Only two routers and the use of the piranha config tool from another system is covered by the support policy provided with the product. Support for the Real Servers would fall under a per-server support contract that needs to be purchased separately.

NM - Bhavish Sood can be reached at bhavishsood@yahoo.com

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