Red Hat Launches Directory Server, Still No Channel

At the Red Hat Summit last week in New Orleans, Red Hat formally launched the Red Hat Directory Server, which will carry a $15,000 per server per year subscription fee and ship this month. The server and the forthcoming Certificate Server System will offer basic identity management capabilities such as password synchronization, with full identity synchronization coming later, Red Hat executives said.

In June, Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat plans to ship Global File System 6.1 and Cluster Suite for version 4 that features distributed lock manager.

Partners at the show said the biggest hole in Red Hat's arsenal is the lack of a channel program and network of integration partners. Novell, Microsoft and Sun all have channel programs. Red Hat currently counts Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and a few resellers as services partners.

Red Hat has erred by snubbing the channel, said Robert Owen, a solutions architect at Eastern Computer Exchange (ECE). The New York-based storage integrator recently joined Novell's Linux partner program, he said. "All the big vendors have channel programs now. By not having a partner program, Red Hat is cutting itself out of a lot of business," Owen said. "Partners can get Red Hat into accounts they cannot get into themselves. Without a channel, Red Hat's really going to get hurt."

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Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik told CRN, however, that the company has made strides. "Red Hat has matured to the point where we want to make sure we understand about delivery of services to customer, and we work with partners to see the readiness of the channel and address certification, demand creation and margins," Szulik said.

Some agreed that, with its new offerings, Red Hat is keeping apace with key rival Novell, as well as Sun and Microsoft, which currently offer advanced directory and identity management services.

"It makes a lot of sense to go into these areas of the software stack because everything of an integrated nature in an enterprise centers on directory services and identity," said George Weiss, vice president at Gartner Group.