Red Hat stepped up its offensive to drive Linux across the enterprise with a new, expanded agreement announced this morning with HP.

The companies said HP will become a global services provider for the recently renamed Red Hat Enterprise Linux line of server and other products. HP also said Red Hat would be its preferred Linux solution.
Red Hat already has similar arrangements with IBM and Dell.

HP and Red Hat also said the companies would expand the sales and services relationship between the two companies.

An analyst cited in the statement issued by HP this morning supported the move.

“The new agreement between Red Hat and HP marks an important step in helping to further Linux in the enterprise,” said Al Gillen, senior analyst, IDC. “The combination of world-class support and industry-standard hardware with the price and performance advantages of Linux will appeal to enterprise customers.”

Hugh Jenkins, head of marketing for HP’s industry-standard servers, told Reuters that Linux was gaining wider acceptance across enterprise networks: “As Linux is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our business, it’s now moving fairly and squarely from a strong position in network-edge applications out into more mainstream infrastructure and data-center-class applications.”

HP is the worldwide leader in Linux-equipped servers. The company said it would support the Red Hat Enterprise Linux family of solutions on both 32-bit Intel(R) architecture and its high-end Itanium(R) platforms. HP also said it is working to integrate Linux solutions with services by offering single-point-of-contact service-level agreements.

“HP is expanding its relationship with Red Hat to bring enterprise-class functionality and global support to Linux,” said Peter Blackmore, executive vice president, HP Enterprise Systems Group. “Today’s announcement builds on our $2 billion in Linux-based revenue in 2002 and our decade of commitment to the open source and Linux communities” He added that “HP is the single source for all Linux hardware and software support for customers.”

Red Hat: