Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Red Hat's New Business Software

Red Hat on Tuesday unveiled software that combines messaging, real-time and grid capabilities for enterprises that need an OS that can process messages and transactions at lightning speed, such as those in the financial services industry.

Red Hat Enterprise MRG (Messaging, Realtime and Grid), which is expected to be generally available early next year on a subscription basis, is another piece of the company's so-called "automation" strategy for simplifying how applications are deployed and managed in distributed computing environments. The idea behind automation is to make it as easy as possible for an IT administrator to deploy an application anywhere, whether it's hosted or running on a physical server or a virtual environment.

MRG will be available in a public beta by the end of the week. Interested users can register for the beta online.

In a nutshell, MRG is meant to not only do the job of messaging middleware such as IBM's MQSeries or Tibco Software's Tibco, but also extend that with real-time capabilities and task-allocation and power-allocation features. In addition to providing a layer of software on top of the OS for low-latency messaging, MRG also can schedule tasks and provision power for resources running in heterogenous environments, said Bryan Che, a Red Hat product manager.

For example, when Windows desktop computers in an enterprise are idle because people aren't using them, MRG can bring them back into the infrastructure computing pool and use that spare capacity for other tasks. However, this functionality is based on integration of MRG with Intel's vPro desktop-management technology.

Red Hat MRG uses technology from two key projects to deliver an open-source infrastructure. One is a project to develop the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) standard for describing what messages between disparate systems look like and what should be done with them, which is backed by companies such as Cisco, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase.

The other is the Condor high-throughput computing open-source project out of the University of Wisconsin, which provides a way to efficiently allocate and use the computing capacity of an IT system. Red Hat also has teamed with the university to make the Condor source code available under an Open Source Initiative-approved license, and has agreed to jointly fund ongoing development on the project.

William Fellows, a principal analyst at The 451 Group, said it's naive to think people will begin ripping and replacing current messaging infrastructure with Red Hat's new software once it's available. However, MRG does combine several technologies in a unique way for IT environments that need OSs to process transactions in microseconds, he said.

This is especially important to the financial services industry, "where the element of [message] latency provides an opportunity for arbitrage -- that is, people make money because they get to the bit of cheese first," he said. Fellows added that these features can be useful in other enterprise environments as well.

Red Hat probably wanted to introduce its new messaging software ahead of an update to MQSeries, which is imminent, Fellows added.