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Red Hat will patch some gaping holes in its Linux product portfolio this week by formally launching its expected Red Hat Directory Server and Red Hat Certificate Management System, sources said.
The LDAP server and security products, which will be rolled out at Red Hat Summit beginning in New Orleans Wednesday, are based on assets Red Hat acquired from AOL's Netscape unit last September.
At the summit, Red Hat will also reveal plans to integrate Xen virtualization technology in its open source Fedora project and future Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution, sources said.
The re-branded Red Hat Directory Server and Certificate Server " to be marketed as part of the company's Open Source Architecture (OSA) " play catch up to more established directory and identity management products from rivals Novell, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. Yet they are necessary pieces of the puzzle that the Linux company must have to offer a full software stack and match its rivals' product lineup, analysts said.
"It makes a lot of sense to go into these areas of the software stack because everything of an integrated nature in an enterprise centers on directory services and identity," said noted Linux observer and Gartner Group vice president George Weiss. "The technology they acquired from Netscape is of value but how they go to market with it will determine its success. But it would have been a big hole they hadn't implemented it."
Red Hat needs directory services in order to move customers from Sun's Unix software environment including iPlanet and directory server, Weiss said.
According to information available on the Red Hat Summit web site, the company will introduce an LDAP server that will allow corporations to centralize applications, create user profiles, group date, store policies and access control information that enables authentication across both enterprise and extranet applications.
Moreover, Red Hat executives will also introduce the Red Hat Certificate System, formerly known as Netscape Certificate Management System. According to information provided on the summit site, the Red Hat Certificate System will allow customers to manage user identities and offer strong authentication, single sign-on, and token management using X.509 certificates, LDAP and PKI security technologies.
Even as Red Hat attempts to fill in the holes in the directory and security areas, the company will also discuss its plans to integrate virtualization -- another hot" as part of its open-source Fedora project and as part of a future release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that is based on the Xen open source project, according to the company web site.
Launching the directory services and certificate server -- and plans for Xen virtualization -- are also important for Red Hat's portfolio considering that the number two seeded Linux distribution vendor, Novell, has some of the strongest directory services and identity management systems on the market, said one source close to Red Hat. Like Hewlett Packard and AMD, Novell also announced plans to incorporate Xen virtualization technology into its next generation SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 distribution which is due in 2006.
"The LDAP and certificate management system is just the genesis of Red Hat's identity management solution," said the source close to the company who is familiar with the launch of the products this week but who requested anonymity. "Novell would scare the hell out of me if I were [Red Hat CEO Matthew] Szulik.