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Linux gains Clarity with Red Hat and CA

A partnership between Computer Associates and Red Hat has allowed Clarity, CA's popular IT governance application, to reach into the world of open source.

It has been a strong couple of months for Clarity -- CA's flagship IT governance offering -- which saw record growth last month and this week gained Red Hat interoperability. But once again the bigger news is that Linux has received another push towards full- fledged enterprise adoption.

Currently Clarity, which is part of CA's Business Service Optimization (BSO) portfolio, is used by 425,000 users at 425 companies for project management, resource planning, and time and cost management activities. Clarity also runs on Sun Solaris, AIX and Microsoft Windows.

BSO chief technology officer Helge Scheil said in an interview with that the demand for a Red Hat partnership came from outside the customer base and reflected a similar push from Linux-friendly vendor IBM.

Scheil revealed that during a meeting with IBM six months ago, the conversation quickly changed from additional support for AIX, IBM's Unix-based operating system.

"For an hour we talked about support for Linux and all the initiatives driving it, as well as the hardware going along with it and the lower total cost of ownership [of Linux]," Scheil said. "The main point is that we've been making quite a push to Linux and we've been seeing that from them as well, not with pressure, but they have made it abundantly clear they want us running Linux as well."

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After taking in customer feedback and evaluating the market, Scheil said that Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the platform of choice for those customers who were interested in running Clarity on Linux.

Overall, the adoption of Linux in enterprise environments has been increasing rapidly, with Framingham, Mass.-based IDC projecting the installed base of servers running Linux as a primary or non-primary operating system to grow from 2003-2008 at a compound annual growth rate of more than 24%.

IDC program director Melinda Ballou said the research showed that as more and more enterprises choose Linux as a foundation for mission-critical enterprise applications, their need to leverage the appropriate productivity tools also increases.

"Effective portfolio optimization and IT governance can be enhanced by enabling users to take advantage of the performance, flexibility and reduced cost of ownership delivered via Linux platforms," she said.

Additional research from Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner had the year-to-year growth of Clarity at more than 60%. This trend is something Scheil expected to continue with Clarity on Red Hat Linux.

"What we've seen and still see in the future is a pretty aggressive growth curve [for IT governance applications]. The larger adoption of Red Hat Linux makes them more pervasive, and what this partnership brings to the Linux market is yet another enterprise application that supports that technology stack," Scheil said.

No love from CA for Sun Solaris

Scheil also made it clear that CA will notsupport Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris project.

"We expect that partnering with the Linux OS for us allows CA to provide much bigger growth in terms of our customers than in comparison to Sun Solaris," Scheil said. "Solaris seemed to be the safe choice for a while, but what we are seeing is that people are becoming more and more comfortable running applications on Linux."

"IT [environments] are very technology focused and cost sensitive and despite Solaris 10 being open sourced -- which no one really believes anyway --– administrators want lower TCO over Windows and AIX and something that runs on machines largely less expensive than Sun and IBM machines.

For users and potential users of IT governance applications like Clarity, that "something" is quickly turning into Linux, according to research from Gartner and IDC.

Sun changed its Linux tune yet again earlier this month at a launch event for its new Galaxy line of servers.

Sun president Jonathan Swartz stated there was ample opportunity for his company and Linux to work together in the future, specifically with Red Hat, as well as with partners Oracle, MySQL and chip maker AMD.

Support for SuSE imminent

On a related note, while Novell's SuSE Linux was not as popular in this round, Scheil said that it would certainly be on CA's radar in the near future as part of a similar partnership.

"I don't know why we didn't see as much demand for Novell as we did for Red Hat, but absolutely [there will be support]. It's not a question of are [we going to] or if, but when, and I suspect within 12 months we'll have that nailed that on as well," he said.

Clarity is immediately available on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system.

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