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2/10/2009
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Red Hat Makes Real-Time Linux Real

Red Hat's Enterprise MRG 1.1 is sculpted to best carry out messaging, real-time, and grid computing workloads. The company also announced shipment of an alpha version of Fedora 11.

Hoping to counterpunch archrival Novell in the real-time Linux market, Red Hat has shipped the second release of its Enterprise MRG Real-Time Linux.

Red Hat's MRG product is essentially a variant of the core Red Hat Enterprise Linux stack. Instead of supporting bread-and-butter functions for database and applications serving like Enterprise Linux, MRG is sculpted to best carry out messaging, real-time, and grid computing workloads.

The new 1.1 version of Enterprise MRG, originally due to ship by Dec. 31, is intended to replace the standard generic Linux kernel with a real-time kernel based on the config_preempt_rt patch. That patch that was jointly created by IBM, Novell, Red Hat, Silicon Graphics, and several smaller companies.

Breaking down the constituent parts of MRG, Red Hat officials note that the R is relevant mostly to financial services companies and defense contractors. The M is for those products, such as IBM's WebSphere MQ, that tend to pass a lot of messages between applications and servers.

The G in MRG, until release 1.1, has been the missing link. Red Hat officials said it has been the case largely because its programmers have been working overtime to integrate the Condor grid into the Enterprise MRG product. They said that when MRG went into beta in late 2007, the Condor technology was yet to be stitched in because it had yet to support JBoss Enterprise stack.

Red Hat nemesis Novell is chasing this same market with its SUSE Linux Enterprise Real-Time product, a variant of its SLES 10. The two have been trying to best each other with lower levels of latency and higher throughput rates over the past year or two.

Other improvements made to version 1.1 include enhancements to the kernel to make it work more efficiently with multicore chips from both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. This improvement is particularly important, Red Hat officials believe, as both chip companies shift from two to four chips, and eventually to six and even eight processors on both desktops and servers.

Red Hat has also added native InfiniBand and Remote Direct Memory Access drivers designed to aid in accommodating lower-latency clustering. The drivers, which also work with Ethernet, make it possible for nodes on a cluster to transport data among nodes directly into and out of memory in those nodes.

Red Hat officials so far have not offered pricing information of Enterprise.

In related news, Red Hat also has shipped an alpha release of Fedora 11. Company officials said they're still on schedule to deliver the beta version of the product no later than March 24, and to ship the finished version on May 26.

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