Ingram Micro is taking a stab at the Linux market, signing a distribution agreement with global Linux software vendor Red Hat.
The arrangement represents the broad-based distributor's first foray into the Linux/open source world and mirrors similar arrangements with Red Hat at other Ingram locations in Europe, the US and Singapore.
Ingram joins ACA Pacific on Red Hat's enterprise software distribution books. 'We're seeing it as an entry into the Linux/Unix market. There's some money to be made here,' said Rodney Thorne, business manager, storage, networking and security at Ingram Micro Australia.
'It's a new channel for us - we don't have many ISVs and developers that deal with Ingram Micro in this Unix environment,' he said.
Thorne said Linux and the open source movement was already gaining some traction within the government market. 'We'll wait and see what flow-on effect that has,' he said. 'We'll continue to look at emerging markets and where there's money to be made.'
Commenting on the move, Anthony Rumble, owner of Linux reseller EverythingLinux, said sales of Red Hat's enterprise software products had been slow but steady and were in line with the take-up of Linux in the enterprise space.
'Ingram Micro is a box mover, not a value-added reseller [and] Red Hat Enterprise is not a box moving product, so I don't think it [Ingram's appointment] will affect us at all,' he said.
In the meantime, Red Hat on Thursday announced the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, for corporate customers, specifically those running Unix-based environments.
Enterprise 3 is an annual subscription service that includes free access to software, services and upgrades for twelve months. According to Red Hat South Asia-Pacific vice president Gus Robertson, the subscription model allows Red Hat to maintain a 'very predictable revenue stream' in relation to previous retail models.
Red Hat, which currently has 82 percent Linux market share in the US and over 50 percent worldwide, is targeting Unix to expand it's customer base.
'Unix is dead,' said Robertson. '[This] could be, and probably is, the end of Unix.'
Robertson suggested that the days of Linux being relegated to web and mail servers are gone, and that Linux is now a viable option for traditional Unix-based institutions like those found in the financial and telecommunications sectors. '[Enterprise 3] is now ready for the Enterprise,' said Robertson.
Enterprise 3 is based on the 2.4.21 Linux kernel and supports x86, Itanium, AMD64 and IBM platforms. The family hasn't changed, and will still include the Enterprise ES, or entry server, Enterprise WS or workstation, and Enterprise AS or Advanced Server. Enterprise 3 pricing ranges from $495 to $3,995 depending on requirements and level of service.
Red Hat also announced a new home office retail offshoot of the Enterprise 3 product family called Red Hat Linux Professional Workstation which retails for $99 and includes 30-day installation support and a one year subscription to upgrades and patches.