The Planet Commits to Red Hat Enterprise

The Planet, one of the fastest-growing hosting providers, said Tuesday that it will offer Red Hat Enterprise Linux to its hosting customers. The Dallas provider expects to deploy about 12,000 Linux-based servers for its customer base in the first year of the agreement, according to chief operating officer Lance Crosby.

The Planet's commitment comes as hosting providers with large Red Hat Linux installations are assessing their options following licensing changes at Red Hat, which will discontinue support and security updates for Red Hat Linux in April 2004. The company hopes to steer business customers to its Red Hat Enterprise Linux product, which requires a $349 a year support subscription fee per licensed copy.

The Planet's decision is significant in light of its recent and projected growth. The Dallas provider was the fastest growing hosting company by active sites between April and October of this year. The company expects that trend to continue, based on projections by Crosby, who said that about 60 percent of the Dallas company's customers currently use Red Hat.

IBM also announced Tuesday that it will package Red Hat Enterprise Linux with sales of its xSeries and BladeCenter servers. Other providers are watching how the industry responds to Red Hat's new licensing structure, including Rackspace, which is the second-largest Red Hat hoster with more than 57,000 active sites. "We view Red Hat as the standard on Linux and their new strategy does not appear to change any of the benefits provided by the operating system," co-chairman Morris Miller said in an interview with Netcraft. "However, we will continue to monitor how ISVs, application developers and other users respond to the new licensing structure."

Hosting companies have been reconsidering which Linux distributions they should run in the light of changes to Red Hat's licensing. Netcraft shows Linux distribution switching as part of our Hosting Provider Switching Analysis.