Hardware & Infrastructure
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3/10/2005
09:38 AM
Kelley Damore
Kelley Damore
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Penguin Power Struts Its Stuff

Google's disclosure about its technology inner workings goes a long way to boost Linux's image as a great way for enterprises to build a scalable utility-computing topography. It is also an important addition to the flurry of news about penguin migration to the on-demand world.

Talk about on-demand computing. Attendees of the EclipseCon developers' conference in Burlingame, Calif., last week were given an earful about the inner workings of Google. Specifically, Google engineering vice president Urs Hoelzle explained that the Internet demigod had achieved its remarkable reliability by scattering files across 1,000 Red Hat Linux servers.

The disclosure, captured in InformationWeek by Charles Babcock, goes a long way to boost Linux's image as a great way for enterprises to build a scalable utility-computing topography. It is also an important addition to the flurry of news about penguin migration to the on-demand world. In recent weeks, some of the industry's biggest players have revealed that they are turning to Linux to help enterprise customers create large-scale virtual servers. Among them, Advanced Micro Devices and Intel said they are developing 64-bit processors that will make use of Xen hypervisor, an open-source software virtualization tool managed by a startup XenSource. And Linux providers Novell and Red Hat said they are working with XenSource to provide support for users consolidating server environments, while HP and IBM are contributing code to the Xen project.

Meanwhile, VMware has been working with Intel to enable 64-bit extended operating systems, including existing Linux distributions, to run as guests on VMware's virtualization software running on Intel servers that use VT-enabled processors.

As exciting was the news that startup IBrix has been the secret of Texas Advanced Computing Center's success in building scalable storage file systems on Linux clusters. A cluster of Dell computers running Linux, reports InformationWeek's Martin J. Garvey, gives the center the capacity to handle very high levels of input/output. The center was able to get from 10 Mbytes per second to 250 Mbytes per second. The IBrix Fusion file system, which was officially just launched last week, can be used for both servers and storage.

With good news like this for virtualization and utility computing, it's not surprising that the industry had other good news about Linux servers this past week: big demand. IDC reports that servers running Linux generated $1.3 billion in fourth-quarter revenues, representing 9 percent of all worldwide server revenues. More significantly, the last three months of 2004 marked the second sequential $1 billion-plus quarter for Linux servers. HP led the Linux-server market with a 26 percent revenue share, followed by IBM with 23.5 percent and Dell with 15.8 percent.

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