Dell, Red Hat Build Open Source Workstations

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Dell and Red Hat team up to ship Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Dell Precision Workstations and PowerEdge hardware. But is Red Hat the real winner in this open source partnership?

Dell has never been a stranger to the open source scene. If you dig back deep enough, you may remember Dell courted Ubuntu quite seriously for a while. Dell has also been dedicated to extolling the benefits of the open source scene. So it comes as no surprise that Dell has teamed up with Red Hat to start shipping Dell Precision and PowerEdge computers with Red Hat's flavor of Linux.

The partnership comes as both companies look for a way to provide some differentiation in IT solutions while simultaneously cutting costs often associated with workstations computers. These systems, in addition to running Red Hat Enterprise Linux will additional run Red Hat JBoss middlware, appealing not just to desktop users, but to SMBs and smaller enterprises looking to deploy on-premise or cloud-based solutions. And with Red Hat Linux, it should be less of a bank-draining investment to do so. The Dell/Red Hat combination will also provide expanded capability for custom solutions that more intimately meet the needs of customers.

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The new Red Hat products fall under the Dell OEM Partner Program, which is composed of OEM Channel Partners and OEM Solution Partners. These partners will have access to a "highly customizable, one-stop shop," that can help the partner provide exactly what a customer needs, while giving the partner a boost, too. Partners will enjoy access to technical resources, "best-of-breed" combinations, branding opportunities and the ability to provide long-life Red Hat Linux machines "with locked down hardware configurations." Red Hat is confident that this relationship with Dell (which is part of a "successful ten-year collaboration") will bring a wider range of consumers to the Red Hat brand.

In some ways, Red Hat's partnership with Dell is more strategic than Dell's partnership with Red Hat. While Dell machines running Red Hat open up Dell's ability to reach out to more customers, Red Hat's existing footprint continues to expand. Red Hat has been somewhat of a powerhouse in the last few years, spreading the open source gospel through a variety of partnerships and open source initiatives. Turn the way-back machine to May 2011 and you'll remember Red Hat was touting its success, all thanks to a "channel balance" of 60/40 between indirect and direct sales. Fast forward to March 2012, and we can see Red Hat's relative agility has allowed them to adapt quickly to cloud technologies, which have clearly paid off.

It's likely Red Hat and Dell's collaboration will continue to strengthen Red Hat's reputation, but it will still certainly boost Dell's appeal to the discerning open source customer.


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