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Red Hat and VMware make a bundle

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Red Hat has a friend after all.

The Linux maker this week announced a bundling exercise with server virtualization specialist VMware. The companies' deal will see them pair Red Hat's version of the Linux operating system with VMware's flagship server slicing product. The upshot of the agreement – and it’s a minor one – is that Red Hat and VMware are now a bit closer partners.

"With this relationship, the two virtualization platforms that Red Hat Enterprise Linux will support are the VMware platform and the Red Hat Integrated Virtualization platform that will be available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5," said Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens.

The executive did VMware the favor of not calling out rival XenSource by name. XenSource has pushed to insert Xen directly into RHEL 5 when it ships later this year or early next year.

Down the road, Red Hat and VMware look to ship "channel bundles" that pair Red Hat's Linux and Application Stack with VMware Infrastructure – VMware's own application stack – and VMware Server. The companies have also pledged to back each other up in debates around how future versions of Linux should handle virtualization.

Somewhat comically, VMware – at $600m per year in revenue – makes more money by helping customers run multiple copies of Linux on servers than Red Hat makes selling and supporting Linux.

Red Hat could sure use VMware's marketing helping hand this week after a rough run. Oracle's decision to open a Linux shop that competes most directly against Red Hat collapsed the company's share price. Then, Microsoft hit out at Red Hat by forming a licensing and technology sharing deal with Novell. ®

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