Today we are celebrating a momentous occasion. Ten years ago today, Red Hat and IBM began our global collaborative partnership to expand the use of enterprise solutions on Linux. It was a small but important start to announce that IBM would run Red Hat Linux on its industry-standard systems. Back in 1999, Red Hat was on the eve of its IPO, and IBM was testing the waters of Linux. Only 10 million users ran the Linux operating system at the time, according to IDC Research quoted in our original partnership announcement.

The global partnership has broadly expanded over the years, and today delivers combined solutions driven by rich joint technology innovations. Together, Red Hat and IBM are deeply penetrating the mission-critical infrastructures of many of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, delivering value to our joint customers through the combination of open source solutions, comprehensive services, solid platforms and technology leadership. Red Hat stands as a Strategic Alliance partner for IBM - the top ranking partnership category - and IBM is a Premier OEM partner for Red Hat.

Our alliance helped spur broad-based industry Linux adoption, driving the one of the fastest growth rates for mainstream operating systems in the past decade. As of 3Q08, IDC’s Server Tracker indicated that Linux accounts for 14% of the overall server market. (rolling 4Q average). Red Hat is the top commercial contributor to the Linux kernel, and IBM is one of the world’s top Linux evangelists - the third largest contributor to the Linux kernel - and runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux across all of our servers and 500 middleware programs.

Of the milestones we’ve achieved over the length of our partnership, here are some of the highlights, including joint innovation and penetration of the enterprise:

  • Advancing open source solutions and open standards
    Red Hat and IBM were founding members of the Open Invention Network (OIN), which promotes Linux by using patents to create a collaborative ecosystem, and were instrumental in supporting the Open Document Format (ODF), to ensure that state documents will be accessible to the public.
  • Delivering record-setting price/performance solutions
    We’ve produced world-record performance with the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on IBM System x and POWER servers, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 on an IBM System x 3950 M2 with the new Intel X7460 Xeon processor achieving a record-setting TPC-C benchmark offering record-breaking price/performance results – half as fast as the next x86 system on
  • Expanding Linux-on-Mainframe
    Formally announced in May 2007, Red Hat’s Linux-on-Mainframe Program has grown the use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on IBM System z mainframes.
  • Rethinking desktop management
    IBM and Red Hat have teamed to simplify desktop management and lower costs with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based IBM Open Collaboration Client Solution (OCCS).
  • Enhancing security
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 provides security in a mainstream, open-source operating system, and IBM mainframes have long been known for secure computing. Together, IBM and Red Hat have created a top-of-the-line compelling solution for security – Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 on IBM System z. Red Hat has achieved the highest Linux-on-System z certification available on the market today.
  • Developing the realtime Linux kernel
    Red Hat and IBM worked closely throughout the development of the Linux kernel’s realtime capabilities to set the mark for predictable, low-latency computing. Red Hat announced Red Hat Enterprise MRG 1.0 availability at the Red Hat Summit in June 2008, with backing from IBM. IBM WebSphere Real Time on MRG Realtime extends the business benefits of Java to time-critical applications and provides realtime Linux extensions in Red Hat Enterprise MRG.

What’s next for the future of our alliance? Together, we will continue the rapid innovation that has come to define our relationship. Red Hat and IBM believe that in 2009, more clients that ever will adopt Linux. We think that Linux adoption is on the rise as companies are forced to find efficiencies, carve out costs, adopt a different cost structure and integrate infrastructures when companies merge. We’re seeing Linux and consolidation projects reducing energy consumption.

In 2009, you’ll see us focusing on key growth initiatives such as:

  • Big Green Linux
    Just this month, we announced that Bank of New Zealand reduced its carbon footprint with Red Hat Enterprise Linux on IBM System z mainframes.
  • Emerging technologies
    The combination o f Red Hat Enterprise Linux on IBM systems is behind some of the world’s most innovative solutions, such as the world’s fastest computer Roadrunner and a cloud computer center in Wuxi China.
  • Virtualization
    Our teams are working closely together today on virtualization that will enable our customers to continue leveraging our deep joint value.
  • Business-critical Linux
    IBM and Raytheon were voted a Red Hat Innovation Award winner at the Red Hat Summit for their realtime development for the US Navy, and we continue our work to deliver true business-critical value to customers.

We’ve enjoyed 10 years of great success as partners, but the true proof points of our strong partnership lie on our joint customer successes – see some of them here.

We asked Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin what he thought, and here’s what he told us:

IBM and Red Hat together have been instrumental in the global adoption of Linux and in the development of the operating system. As leading participants in the massive collaboration that drives Linux to give birth to new technologies, IBM and Red Hat should be applauded. Today is an important day as we look 10 years back and 10 years into the future. Linux is fueling a new software economy, and IBM and Red Hat will surely be as instrumental in its future as they have been in its history.

To learn more about the Red Hat-IBM alliance, visit here.