Red Hat, Sybase Partner On Virtual Database Appliance

As part of an expanded alliance announced between the two companies at Red Hat Summit, Sybase will ship a database appliance based on Red Hat's recently released Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5, its first version of Linux to incorporate virtualization.

The database appliance will be certified on RHEL 5 and made available in the second half of 2007, the two companies said at a press conference at the summit Thursday.

Pricing, licensing and channel plans will be announced when Sybase ships the appliance.

The appliance is a virtual machine that includes the operating system and database and runs as a guest that can be easily migrated and provisioned from system to system.

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It is the first enterprise appliance built on RHEL 5, though the company is in discussions with many of its other ISVs about building virtual appliances, Red Hat executives said.

Appliances are single, integrated platforms that offer many efficiencies for IT and partners, executives said. For example, they eliminate the need for customers and partners to download separate OS and database patches, and make provisioning easy, Red Hat said. Additionally, the companies have pledged to offer one-stop joint support for customers through Red Hat's Cooperative Resolution Center.

"We're adding an appliance configuration to the wide range of go-to-market [models] we have, and customers will continue to deploy [integrated stacks] as they wish," said Tim Yeaton, senior vice president of Enterprise Solutions. "As a business model, it will be a standard activity."

As part of the expanded appliance, Sybase will also certify and make available its Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) database and SyBase IQ Analytics Server on RHEL 5 during the second half of this year. RHEL 5 started shipping mid-March.

Raj Nathan, chief marketing officer at Sybase, said at the summit announcement that joint customers want to consolidate hundreds of database servers in a virtualized environment and enjoy the benefits of higher availability, lowered installation, configuration and management costs, and a one-step shop for support.

Virtualization and the appliance model are making it possible for customers to create standard images that can be easily and quickly deployed, migrated and managed in a data center, Nathan also said.