Why Red Hat should fear Amazon Linux

Amazon's Linux AMI raises further questions about Red Hat Enterprise Linux's cloudy future

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Existing Red Hat customers who qualify have the option of repurposing their unused RHEL entitlements on Amazon EC2. In order to qualify, a customer must, among other requirements:

Have a minimum of 25 active subscriptions and move only not currently used Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform Premium and/or Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server Premium subscriptions and have a direct support relationship with Red Hat.

New or existing Red Hat customers also have the option of using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Hourly Beta, which is priced at $19 per month plus 21 cents per hour on top of Amazon's EC2 infrastructure charge.

According to Red Hat, "Support for the Hourly Beta offering includes two-day, business-hour response and email-only support" for RHEL Hourly Beta customers. This level of support is equivalent to a RHEL Basic Subscription -- priced at $349 per year, which translates to 4 cents per hour.

In effect, a customer would pay more than five times as much for RHEL Hourly Beta as they would deploying RHEL with an equivalent level of support in a traditional data center. On the other hand, this leaves Red Hat plenty of room to revise its pricing as the RHEL Hourly offering moves from Beta to general availability.

Meanwhile, with Amazon's entry into the Linux OS market, enterprises now have the ability to run a RHEL-compatible Linux distribution with support from a trusted vendor for as little as $100 per month. A customer wishing to run more than 16 days, or 386 hours, a month of RHEL workload on Amazon EC2 could achieve a lower cost through the Amazon Linux AMI than they would with RHEL Hourly Beta.

Stay tuned for Red Hat's response. As shown above, Red Hat's current RHEL price premium for cloud environments is large enough that it could be vulnerable to competitive pressure.

Follow me on Twitter at SavioRodrigues. I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."

This article, "Why Red Hat should fear Amazon Linux," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Rodrigues et al.'s Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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