IBM and Novell have signed a bundling and support agreement that will bundle IBM's open source WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE) software with Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server.
The partnership is an attack against JBoss, Red Hat's suite of middleware applications including an application server. Both firms promised to assist customers in migrating off JBoss software.
Red Hat acquired JBoss for $420m last April.
Based on the Apache Geronimo application server, WAS CE has logged more than one million distributions. Users looking for more advanced features are steered towards paid WebSphere products, which offer more advanced features.
Although WAS CE is positioned as an entry level product for testing and development projects, IBM and Red Hat claimed that the software is more advanced than the competition. JBoss, for instance, won't support Java EE 5 until the release of JBoss AS 5.0, which is currently in the beta 1 stage. Coinciding with the unveiling of the partnership, IBM also introduced WAS CE 2.0, which supports Java EE 5.
The partnership increases the pressure on Red Hat to present a strategy to conquer the enterprise, said Michael Dortch, a director of IT infrastructure management strategies, because effectively IBM now has a middleware stack comparable to that of Red Hat.
"This creates an opportunity for a [user] backlash," Dortch told vnunet.com, adding that the Linux vendor has yet to formulate a clear response against Oracle's introduction of support for Red Hat Linux last year.
"Red Hat needs to carve out a more clear solution."
He also pointed out that the Novell and IBM partnership opens the door for additional collaborations that could further strengthen Novell's position.
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