SuSE announces Itanium availability of server OS

SuSE Linux AG on Wednesday announced the general availability of its SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 operating system for Intel Corp.’s family of 64-bit Itanium processors.

The Itanium version of the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 software comes with four CDs, documentation and 12 months of maintenance, and it will be available by the end of the month, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Price per server starts at US$1,149.

SuSE is “totally committed” to supporting the Itanium family as Intel continues to develop and enhance it, and will continue to work closely with Intel toward this end, said Holger Dyroff, SuSE’s general manager for the Americas.

SuSE sees “a huge future and opportunity” for its operating system in 64-bit computing in general, and accordingly supports other competing 64-bit platforms, Dyroff said. For example, it will release on April 22 a version of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 for the 64-bit Opteron chip from Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Dyroff said.

SuSE already has versions of the operating system for IBM Corp.’s 64-bit PowerPC chip and for IBM’s zSeries mainframes. It is holding off on releasing a version of the operating system for Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Sparc architecture because the demand is insufficient so far, but it will put it out in the market the moment it decides demand warrants it, he said.

Because the source code of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server remains unchanged from version to version, ISVs and in-house developers who want to port applications just need to recompile them rather than rewrite them, he said.

The company has noticed a lot of interest in 64-bit computing both on workstations for things such as design applications, and on servers for things such as enterprise databases and applications, Dyroff said.

SuSE also announced that this Itanium version of the operating system has been chosen for the TeraGrid, a project launched by the National Science Foundation in August 2001 to build a massive, distributed computer network for scientific research.

When completed, the TeraGrid will include 20 teraflops of computing power distributed at five sites, the capacity of managing and storing almost 1 petabyte of data and toolkits for grid computing, according to the project’s Web site ( Its components will be connected through a network operating at 40Gbps, according to that Web site.

IBM Corp.’s Global Services division will deploy at TeraGrid sites clusters of the Itanium servers running the SuSE operating system. The deal is worth “several hundred thousand” of U.S. dollars, SuSE said in the statement.