Backup Firm Looks to Back Linux -

Backup Firm Looks to Back Linux

By Michael Floyd

Hoping to entice enterprise customers who may be looking to leverage the value of open source software, data recovery and backup specialist BakBone Software is spearheading an initiative to spread more Linux distributions in the enterprise market.

Known as Linux Advantage, the new initiative lays out an agreement between a limited number of Linux distributors that include Red Hat of Raleigh, N.C.; SUSE LINUX; Miracle Linux and Turbolinux of Japan; Red Flag Software of China; and Connectiva in Latin America.

At the core of the initiative is a partner's program that certifies BakBone's NetVault backup and restore software on each of the partners' Linux distributions. The elements of the initiative include certification, branding, and joint marketing agreements.

The San Diego-based BakBone is betting that Linux's path to greater enterprise adoption, as well as its own fortunes for that matter, run through the data center, where industrial-strength backup and recovery services have historically run on proprietary operating systems in enterprise networks.

But in the larger picture, the agreement signals that Linux distributions may now be able to compete head to head with Windows and UNIX in the data center arena. Until now, most enterprise managers concerned with issues such as total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) have not seriously considered Linux. But Linux distributors are working to change that.

By introducing industrial-strength backup and recovery services, Linux distributions can now offer support beyond basic file server and print services, the group said.

"This is a proclamation that Linux is ready for the enterprise," says Peter Eck, Vice President of Marketing at BakBone Software.

Eck points out that one of the obstacles to Linux adoption in the data center is that customers don't want to sacrifice their data protection strategies for open systems. Such strategies include mission-critical data protection, recovery, and disaster recovery.

The goal of the group is to let IT managers have more choices by enabling the cost-savings Linux offers without anxiety over the reliability of an open-source solution.

Leigh Day, spokesperson for Red Hat, claims other advantages as well. "As part of [our Open Source Architecture] strategy it is our goal to move open source into more areas of key business infrastructure, including backup and recovery of information in addition to middleware, systems management, and other areas of virtualization. Working with partners like BakBone, Red Hat is able to make these solutions available to Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers."

Until now enterprise mangers have also expressed concern over Linux deployments because there is no clear vendor to call when things go wrong.

But Day points out that, "In the process of becoming a Red Hat Certified Application, BakBone has taken many steps to ensure complete compatibility of NetVault with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Certification holds both Red Hat and BakBone accountable for delivering a tightly integrated, fully functional solution."

Day adds that "[Red Hat] will work to make deploying enterprise systems faster and more secure, and will also work with members of the community to make a standards-based open source application server available to Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers."

Still, as Eck explains, "This is only Phase One" for the group. The next phase, according to Eck, is expected to be announced at the Linux World trade show in January and will include enterprise application vendors, device manufacturers, and others that want to make a play in the "Linux for the Enterprise" market.

Story courtesy of

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