Dell certifies Red Flag PowerEdge servers

Linux vendor Red Flag was certified for most of Dell's server products last month

Dell Inc. has begun selling Red Flag Software Co.'s Linux distribution on most models of its PowerEdge servers in China, the Austin-based computer maker announced yesterday.

Red Flag was certified for the majority of Dell's server product line in November, the company said, which means customers who purchase Dell's Premier Enterprise Support Services can now get Red Flag software support directly from Dell.

Dell's lines of tower and SC Value servers, as well as three rack-mounted systems -- the PowerEdge 1750, 2650 and 6650 -- are covered by the certification, a company spokeswoman said.

Founded in 1999 as a joint venture between Beijing Founder Electronics, the Institute of Software Academia Sinica Sino-Software System (Sinosoft) and Compaq China, Red Flag has been getting a lot of attention recently. In May, it partnered with Oracle Corp. to develop a version of Red Flag Linux for data centers. Four months later, it signed a joint marketing agreement with Hewlett-Packard Co.

Industry research firm IDC ranks Red Flag Linux as the No. 2 Linux distribution worldwide when measured by units shipped. In 2002, the company sold over 1 million units, a number bested only by Red Hat Inc., according to IDC analyst Al Gillen.

"Red Flag captured a little over 22% of the industry total," said Gillen "That's actually a huge portion of the total for a company that had only been around for three years."

However, the majority of Red Flag's sales are on desktop systems, primarily via white-box system vendors in China, Gillen said. Having Dell as a server distributor could open up new markets for Red Flag.

Today, "if you look at the server operating system market, Red Flag is pretty much at the bottom of the heap," he said.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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