Red Hat Exchange went live on Thursday.
The Web-based marketplace, dubbed RHX, allows customers to search and buy subscriptions and support for certified open-source applications online or through select authorized resellers that offer value-added services for the RHX offerings, Red Hat executives said at the Red Hat Summit this week. RHX was publicly unveiled at the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 in March.
Top open-source ISVs participating in RHX include Alfresco, CentricCRM, Compiere Enterprise DB, GroundWork, JasperSoft, MySQL, Pentaho, Scalix, SugarCRM, Zimbra, Zenoss and Zmanda.
Similar to integration models offered by companies like SourceLabs and SpikeSource, RHX provides a complete solution with no assembly required, said Donald Fischer, vice president of online services at Red Hat.
The applications are integrated, certified, tested and purchased on RHX, downloaded directly from the Red Hat Network and supported by Red Hat and the ISV, if necessary.
Red Hat executives said RHX will jump-start opportunities for the company's professional services arm plus provide new opportunities -- not competition -- for the growing army of Certified Service Partners that have signed on to Red Hat's new channel program.
Unlike the traditional reseller model, the RHX online marketplace connects platform vendors, application ISVs, customers and service partners in virtual ecosystems. Red Hat will enable service partners to post business profiles containing their areas of expertise to steer customers to consulting and deployment resources.
Matt Mattox, RHX product manager, said the RHX team is working with the Red Hat's new channel organization to align partners with Linux, JBoss and other open-source application opportunities.
"We have channel partners in pilot mode with RHX, including distributors, systems integrators and value added resellers, [which] expand their portfolio in a way that they haven't been able to in the past," Mattox said in a press conference Thursday at the Red Hat Summit in San Diego.
One open-source application ISV that joined Novell's online marketplace two years ago said RHX's timing is better.
"One could argue that Novell was a little early to market with their Marketstart program. At that time, open-source adoption in enterprises was still too nascent," said Ranga Rangachari, CEO of GroundWork Open Source, a San Francisco-based ISV.
"Fast forward 12 to 18 months. The RHX program recognizes that in addition to the product and ISV, the community and channels play a huge role for the ecosystem to thrive," Rangachari said. "The community and the channel have come a long way in the last 12 to 18 months."
Still, it remains unclear whether the Red Hat services organization will attempt to serve small- and midsize-business accounts over time.
Red Hat's top channel executive said the Raleigh, N.C.-based Linux distributor has decided to follow a channel-friendly model and is enlisting integrators, service partners and system builders to help grow its open-source business.
Red Hat channel chief Mark Enzweiler, a former longtime IBM executive, said the Red Hat Professional Services organization isn't staffed to handle those opportunities and isn't being groomed for the SMB business.
"We want to do some services work, but we're not becoming an IBM Global Services," Enzweiler said.
At the summit, executives from MySQL and EnterpriseDB said RHX gives customers another choice.
"We see this as helping partners because it lets customers buy where they want to buy from," said Zack Urlocker, executive vice president of products at MySQL, Cupertino, Calif. "They know they can buy [subscriptions] directly from RHX or through channel partners.'
"We see different types of companies that will prefer to buy with their favorite reseller," said Helen Donnelly, senior vice president of marketing for Enterprise DB. "And reseller access to RHX is a value to the reseller because they can extend their business and the reach of our solution to a broader set of mid-size companies."
RHX is operating in the United States and Canada. Red Hat didn't disclose plans for launching RHX outside North America.