Oracle Claims Early Wins in Battle With Red Hat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle Corp. last week said its yearlong push to take on Red Hat Inc. in the Linux market has reaped 1,500 corporate customers for its Unbreakable Linux support program.

Most of those customers well over 1,450 signed up for the service during the past six months, with virtually no selling at all, said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison during a keynote speech at the companys OpenWorld user conference here.

We did all of this while just building up our Linux sales team, he said.

At a price ranging from about $99 to $2,000 per year, the Unbreakable Linux program provides support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Oracles close clone of that operating system, as well as the applications that run on them.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Red Hats Linux business continues to far outpace Oracles Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik said in June that the company added multiple thousands of customers in its first quarter of fiscal 2008 alone. Nonetheless, user reaction at the show indicated that Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat may be vulnerable.

For example, Brad Maue, CIO at Stuart Maue Co., said the Oracle support offering is half [the price] of Red Hat. And we feel we get twice the attention. The St. Louis-based legal auditing firm switched its Linux support from Red Hat to Oracle about a year ago, he said.

Tim Heath, a senior data­base engineer at Yahoo Inc., said that his company turned to Oracles Linux support offering after some bad experiences with Red Hat. There were some bugs in Linux that Yahoo couldnt get Red Hat to fix, Heath said.

Yahoo, which runs Red Hat Linux on 50,000 of its 150,000 servers, now has Linux support contracts with both Oracle and Red Hat, Heath noted. We like to pit the two against each other to see who submits fixes faster, he said.

Yahoo has found that using Oracles Linux support eliminates the finger­pointing between the applications and platform departments when a problem arises, he said.

Red Hat officials downplayed Oracles Linux efforts. This is not about offering better support, said Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Brian Stevens. This is about ownership of the IT stack for Mr. Ellison."

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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