It's very easy to treat Red Hat as something of a cold, corporate outsider in the cosy world of feel-good distros like Ubuntu – I've done it myself. Its recent comments dismissing GNU/Linux on the desktop have not really helped in this respect. But Red Hat's steadfast focus on the enterprise market does mean that it's doing some sterling work in filling in missing bits of the corporate open source puzzle. Here's a good example:
Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, announced today the official launch of the Teiid data virtualization system project in the JBoss.org Community. Teiid marks the first open source community project that aims to deliver Enterprise Information Integration (EII) with both relational and XML data virtualization. The Teiid project joins a number of other Red Hat-sponsored open source virtualization projects, including the oVirt.org project, and demonstrates Red Hat's commitment to providing a comprehensive range of virtualization capabilities.
If, like me, you were wondering what all that means, here is some more explanation:
Most open source data integration technologies center on physically moving or copying data to locations. Teiid bucks this trend by focusing on data virtualization, which enables real-time access to data across heterogeneous data sources without copying or moving the data from the systems of record. Its Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) and Web Services interfaces are designed to provide straightforward integration with both custom and COTS applications.
What's particularly praiseworthy is that this represents the fruit of another of Red Hat's acquisitions that nobody took much notice of at the time:
"When Red Hat acquired MetaMatrix in April 2007, we committed to releasing the data services technology in the open source community and Teiid is the result of that promise," said Craig Muzilla, vice president of Red Hat's middleware business. "The demand for applications and services leveraging the data stores of a typical organization never ends. But now, enterprises have a choice between expensive, proprietary data services and an enterprise-class open source platform at a fraction of the cost."
Although the desktop gets a disproportionate amount of attention, these kind of deep enterprise tools are just as necessary if free software is to offer a complete gamut of solutions to all kinds of users. Well done, Red Hat.
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