Red Hat and Microsoft become partners in the cloud

Long-time rivals Red Hat and Microsoft have unveiled a partnership that the two companies say will make it easier for customers to accelerate the shift to cloud computing.

“We both see our mission as helping customers succeed in today’s cloud-connected world,” Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president of products and technologies, said during a conference call.

The partnership announced Wednesday will provide “greater choice and flexibility” by enabling businesses to deploy Red Hat software on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform, according to the companies.

The deal will “further enhance Red Hat’s competitive position” and accelerate the Raleigh-based company’s cloud-based revenue over the long term, Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba wrote in a research note.

“We note that this had been a long time coming,” Lamba noted. “The bottleneck was not technology but some business discussions between the two companies.”

Red Hat’s revenue from its “certified cloud and service provider” program – that is, companies such as Amazon, Google and IBM that provide cloud services to their customers using Red Hat software – reached an annualized rate of $100 million in the second quarter. That’s up from an annualized rate of $36 million 18 months earlier.

Among other things, the new partnership will enable businesses to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux software on Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft will become a Red Hat certified cloud and service provider.

The companies also will work together to facilitate deploying Red Hat software across private and public clouds. Private clouds are internal clouds; public clouds are offered by third parties such as Amazon and Google; hybrid clouds combine the two.

Engineering teams from the two companies will be co-located at the same site to provide customer support.

“That is something that nobody else has done before,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of enterprise and cloud, said during a conference call. “There really is a tremendous amount of meat behind this partnership.”

Al Hilwa of market research firm IDC declared in an email message that the partnership is “a win for both companies and for the vast set of customers they have in common.”

Red Hat and Microsoft have collaborated in the past, but the new partnership “is by far our deepest,” Cormier wrote in a blog post on the company’s website.

“Both Red Hat and Microsoft are key players in this new, hybrid cloud reality,” Cormier noted. “Today, it is incredibly likely that where you once found ‘Red Hat shops’ and ‘Microsoft shops,’ you’ll find heterogeneous environments that include solutions from both companies. We heard from customers and partners that they wanted our solutions to work together …”

Red Hat shares closed Wednesday at $82.55, up 2 percent. The company’s shares have risen 19 percent this year.

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Original source: News & Observer