OSDL releases list of priorities for Linux data centre

To speed the adoption of Linux in the data centre, the Open Source Development Lab Inc. (OSDL) on Thursday released a paper that defines and prioritizes the Linux capabilities needed to run enterprise-class data centre applications.

For example, applications such as high-end online transaction processing and decision support are very demanding on the network, said Steve Geary, director of Linux Engineering at Hewlett-Packard Co., and chair of the DCL Working Group, in a statement.

Divided into seven categories, the Data Center Linux Technical Capabilities v1.O document lists capabilities such as: scalability, performance, reliability/availability/scalability (RAS), manageability, clusters, standards, security and usability. Each capability then has a list of defined priorities, which were compiled with input from industry and users.

Some of the top priorities include support for storage area network (SAN) disk arrays, obtaining greater support from independent software providers (ISVs), and Java performance, said Lynn de la Torre, strategic marketing manager at the OSDL in Beaverton, Ore.

“We want the performance of Java-based application deployments to be competitive with other platforms that are out there,” she said.

De la Torre added that the OSDL is aiming to use this report — which is available for free on the organization’s Web site — to prompt feedback from users, hardware vendors, ISVs and other industry members. This feedback will help the OSDL develop a list of technical specifications that details the requirements for using Linux in the data centre. She said the higher the priority defined in the document, the sooner requirements will be developed for them.

William Hurley, senior analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group in Portland, Ore. said users have always been interested in putting Linux in the data centre because of the associated cost savings. Now Linux is better-positioned than ever to make that move, he said.

“Now that we have a new Linux kernel — it is very robust and supports enterprise-class systems and multi-threading and significant multi-processor machines — we really have an operating environment that is ready to go in the heart of the data centre,” Hurley said. “This is just another way to ensure that the applications that are going to take advantage of this opportunity are acceptable to systems managers, application developers and CIOs that are responsible for the mission-critical side of the data centre,” he said.

De la Torre said it’s just a coincidence the DCL document was released shortly after the Linux 2.6 kernel was released in December 2003, but added that there is certainly tremendous synergy between the two announcements. The 2.6 kernel boasts many performance and reliability improvements including scalability to 64-CPU systems, faster threading, added memory support, as well as enhanced disk drive performance and storage access.

OSDL also has two other working group initiatives, the Carrier Grade Group and the new Desktop Group. The formation of the Desktop group was announced in January at Linux World in New York.

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