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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Gets SAP Blessing

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Posted September 12, 2011 By Sean Michael Kerner     Feedback

Linux vendor ramps up software certifications for next-generation enterprise Linux platform.

There is now a new choice for those looking to deploying SAP applications on Linux. Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) today announced that its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL) operating system platform has now been certified for SAP (NYSE: SAP).

RHEL 6 is the latest release of Red Hat's flagship Linux platform and was first released in November 2010. SAP applications had been certified on previous Red Hat releases, including RHEL 5.

Though RHEL 6 has been in the market for ten months at this point, the SAP certification process takes its own path.

"Companies like SAP have their own release cadence, so they choose the right point in their own timeline for when they start the certification process," Jim Totton vice president and general manager of the Platform Business Unit at Red Hat, told InternetNews.com. "It isn't the case that they've been working on it for ten months, but SAP just chose the right point in their cadence to go through the certification process."

The RHEL 6 releases provides improved performance over previous RHEL releases as well as supporting the latest server hardware. Toten added that enterprises typically begin to adopt RHEL 6 as part of a hardware refresh cycle. He noted that for SAP applications, there have not been any major changes in RHEL 6 that would have broken compatibility or cause any challenges for certification.

From a deployment perspective, Red Hat is seeing SAP applications deployment on RHEL coming from Unix as enterprises look for lower costs for acquisition.

"The combination of x86's modern architecture with the kernel enhancements we've put into RHEL 6 helps to lead the Unix migration, and having SAP certified on RHEL is also a great step," Totton said.

Red Hat isn't the only Linux vendor with certified SAP solutions. Rival SUSE Linux is also SAP certified. SUSE Linux has a solution called SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) for SAP Applications that was announced earlier this year.

While SAP does have a strategic relationship with SUSE Linux, Red Hat isn't worried.

"You can discern from our market share position relative to SUSE that we are by far the number one vendor worldwide in providing a Linux platform infrastructure," Totton said.

For SAP Applications, Totton noted that Red Hat has a special RHEL SKU available for customers. He said the RHEL version for SAP makes sure the right components that are necessary for SAP are brought together in a simple way. Red Hat and SAP also have an existing partnership for support. That partnership was expanded in May of this year with an integrated support system for SAP customers on RHEL.

While Red Hat is working closely with SAP, the RHEL package for SAP is not a technically different Linux kernel version.

"We're not creating variants of the kernel for different workloads, as the kernel is specifically tuned for the hardware on which it is running," Totton said. "Working with SAP, not by changing the kernel, but by ensuring that we've optimized the stack in proper ways, we deliver a great customer experience."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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