This is what we're going to see for the next year or two: Strategic Partnerships. A couple of days ago, Red Hat signed one of these partnership deals with Microsoft in what I call "A deal with the devil." Microsoft and Red Hat have slung mud, insults and accusations at each other for years and now they're smoking the Peace Pipe?
Oh what troubled times are these!
Here's the deal summary:
Microsoft will offer customer support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 and 5.3 guests on all editions of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008. For its part, Red Hat will support customers running Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows 2000 Server SP4 and Windows Server 2008 guests on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies.
The companies also will offer cooperative technical support for customers running Windows Server on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. Future versions of these products also will be validated under the company's agreement.
This is one for the "I don't get it" category, which is my reaction to most of these strategic partnership deals--especially ones struck between Linux companies and Microsoft.
Here's my problem with it:
If Microsoft has a customer that is running Linux (Pick any flavor) and Hyper-V, wouldn't they support that customer anyway? They are a customer using Hyper-V after all. The same goes for Red Hat. If someone is a Red Hat customer, would they do the same?
I'm not sure that either Microsoft or Red Hat will benefit one bit from this partnership. I hope Red Hat isn't paying any money for this "deal" and, supposedly, they aren't.
Many compare this deal to the one struck between Microsoft and Novell where there was an exchange of money and intellectual property. Industry watchers and critics, myself included, continually throw stones at that deal.
I think that in tough economic times companies beat their swords into plowshares to ensure survival. I also don't think it's necessary. Competition stimulates business by promoting innovation, creative pricing and raising the level of customer service. Deals like this, in my opinion, are like pouring water on wood before trying to start a fire.
Good luck Red Hat, we'll be watching.