Computer Associates, Red Hat partner

Companies to distribute, market and support bundled packages

Wednesday's alliance between Computer Associates International (CA) and Red Hat bodes well for both companies.

Linux increasingly is getting the kind of enterprise-management support it needs to become a true enterprise operating system. At the same time, CA is getting a firm handhold in the explosively expanding Linux-server operating-system space.

The two firms are making it happen with a comprehensive distribution, marketing and support agreement. In it, CA's direct sales teams will sell Red Hat enterprise support agreements. On the Linux side, Red Hat will distribute CA's enterprise-management solutions with its Red Hat Linux Enterprise Edition series. These bundles will try to provide a seamless, out-of-the-box management solution for midmarket customers. In turn, CA's direct sales organisation will sell Red Hat's comprehensive enterprise-support agreements to UniCenter TNG clients.

CA also will extend its existing Express Delivery Service for Linux into its Global Professional Services organisation. In turn, that should help automate Red Hat Linux enterprise wide installation and deployment of Linux.

Not only will CA be supplying UniCenter TNG, an already shipping Linux product, but much more. Specifically, according to Mark Marron, CA Senior VP and general manager for worldwide channel sales, CA will deliver Linux versions of MasterIT for Web management, ARCserveIT for backup and storage management, InoculateIT antivirus and NetworkIT for network management.

Additionally, UniCenter The Next Dimension (TND), when it comes out, will also be released for Linux. All of these are being tuned expressly for use with Red Hat Linux.

Fran Phillips Wilson, Red Hat Business Development Manager, laid out the project road map saying. Product availability will be staggered. The first Red Hat/CA bundle will debut in the mid- to late-March time frame. The others will follow in the second quarter.

As for distribution, "Red Hat is point of distribution for both the CA and Red Hat versions," says Wilson. Product pricing, however, remains up in the air at this time.

Although CA plans to send the product out through its direct channel first, Marron says CA also plans to make it available to CA resellers.

Moreover, says Marron, "For our partners, we'll also do both UniCenter and Red Hat Linux training and certification." CA also will "create an e-value seminar series for both partners and end users to show them what they're getting from the package," Marron adds.

Wilson agrees saying that Red Hat and CA will work closely on training and certification.

Tim Buckley, Red Hat's COO, noted that, "We're working with CA to complete distribution management for the channel. As the products are launched in next few months, the channel will be well prepared."

Linux is big business. In a prepared statement, CA quoted from a recent MERIT survey, which showed that 48 percent of enterprise customers view Linux as an important component of their enterprise IT strategies for 2000.

Besides, as Marron explains, "Both our partners and our end-user customers want it. We're just giving them what they've been asking for."

That doesn't mean, however, that CA will be abandoning its old markets. At almost the same moment as CA announced Wednesday's new Linux partnership, the company also announced that Jasmineii, its Web-development package, and UniCenter TNG, are going to be Windows 2000 ready.

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