Red Hat launches new Linux database app

Red Hat Inc.'s new Linux database, first revealed last week during a financial conference call (see story), was officially launched today as a less expensive, less complicated database choice for small and medium-size businesses.

The new Red Hat Database, which is the company's first open-source database offering, is based on PostgreSQL 7.1 and is optimized for the Red Hat Linux 7.1 operating system, according to the company's announcement.

The database includes Red Hat Installer to streamline installation, enhanced documentation for PostgreSQL, robust transaction support for intensive computing environments, and advanced locking capabilities to ensure data integrity.

Red Hat Database also includes support for object-oriented features, such as large objects; structured types; user-defined abstract data types; and support for multiple programming languages, including C/C++, PHP, Perl, Python, Tcl/Tk and Embedded SQL.

Pricing is set at $199 per month for an annual subscription, or a one-time charge of $2,295 per user. The fees include Red Hat Linux 7.1, software CDs, documentation, Web and telephone installation support, Red Hat Network support and product updates.

Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said that "anything that makes Linux easier to use ... could, but not necessarily will, make Linux more attractive for enterprise use."

The database market, which has seen a rise in Linux use, is important to the future of companies like Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Red Hat, he said.

The company has shipped other Linux applications on CDs with its Linux distributions, but this one will be easier to install -- an important improvement, said Kusnetzky. "That's got to be a benefit in the long run," he said.

Red Hat's database won't be entering an empty market, however, he said. Norfolk, Va.-based GreatBridge LLC offers its own GreatBridge PostgreSQL open-source database for Linux, with a similar features list.

"From the first moment, it appears it's got competition from GreatBridge," Kusnetzky said, noting that an advantage for Red Hat is its wide name recognition and its large base of partnerships with hardware makers.

IDC predicts that worldwide relational and object relational database revenues on Linux and other open-source platforms will grow from $42 million last year to $7.8 billion in 2005.

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