Now shipping: Red Hat-JBoss application stack

Existing Red Hat customers can now reap the benefits of having JBoss middleware in their application stack. But IT managers who have already deployed custom open source apps will need to weigh JBoss' pros and cons before making a change.

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Users and analysts alike responded positively today as Red Hat Inc. delivered the fruits of its JBoss acquisition with an announcement that the Red Hat Application Stack subscription is now available.

The stack combines the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system with middleware applications from JBoss as part of a "one throat to choke" model in which Red Hat handles services, support and upgrades for the entire software stack. According to Red Hat, the stack includes end-to-end support for RHEL, JBoss Application Server, JBoss Hibernate (an object-relational mapping application for Java) and open source databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL.

More on JBoss/Red Hat:
Red Hat/JBoss pairing bad news for BEA, Novell

Users gain from Red Hat's JBoss buy

Don Parris, founder of a program called the Freely Project that's designed to get Linux and open source into parishes across the U.S., lauded the news because it gives existing Red Hat customers a turnkey middleware application that can be integrated and that they can get up and running relatively quickly.

Parris said that with the addition of JBoss, the Red Hat stack could also be aimed at specific markets, which is something Red Hat Application Stack project leader Todd Barr said is part of his company's future strategy.

"Future Red Hat stacks will seek to combine open source technologies into applications specifically optimized for vertical markets, such as telecommunications and healthcare," Barr said.

One analyst did foresee challenges for users who have Red Hat Enterprise Linux installed alongside other open source applications that aren't supported in the Red Hat stack.

Raven Zachary, an analyst with The 451 Group, based in New York City, said IT managers with existing non-Red Hat certified applications would now have to ask themselves if the benefits of a Red Hat stack outweigh the headaches associated with a complete transition. "They have to ask themselves what the motivating factor is in transitioning to what Red Hat has announced," he said. "It's really up to the individual IT manager."

Having one vendor to go to for support issues can save time and money, but users will have to ask themselves if that outweighs the costs of replacing existing infrastructure and applications, Zachary said.

However, he said, in this instance the service only applies to existing Red Hat customers and will not affect the strategies of IT managers who have deployed applications based on other vendors' operating systems like Microsoft and Sun.

"In this regard, while Red Hat is now competing in a new segment with OpenLogic, Source Labs and, in some sense, SpikeSource, it doesn't really impact even those companies fully because if a customer wants a stack provider for Windows or Solaris they will not be able to get that from Red Hat," Zachary said.

The Red Hat Application Stack is available now via the Red Hat Network online at a starting price of $1,999 per server.

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