Linux Packages With Panache From Dell And HP - InformationWeek

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Linux Packages With Panache From Dell And HP

Products could address interest in operating system as a database platform

Linux continues to move upstream. Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard last week unveiled packages that bring high-end clustering and database capabilities to Intel-based servers running the operating system.

Dell has certified its line of PowerEdge servers that combine Red Hat Inc.'s Linux-based Advanced Server and Oracle's Oracle9i database, release 2. By the end of next month, Dell also will offer certified configurations of Oracle's clustering software, called Real Application Clusters.

HP, meanwhile, is offering Red Hat's Advanced Server on its ProLiant DL580 servers running Oracle9i Real Application Clusters on up to eight nodes. Advanced Server, launched in April, includes asynchronous input/output support, an improved symmetric multiprocessing scheduler, and new memory-management features.

The new products could be well-timed. A growing number of companies plan to use Linux as a platform for database management, according to a survey by InformationWeek Research conducted in March.

Oracle, which last week began shipping Oracle9i, release 2, would like some of that business. IBM and Microsoft have been gaining share in the database market, and Oracle sees Linux as a way to regain momentum, says Mike Schiff, an analyst with Current Analysis. "Oracle wants to make sure it's the database of choice on Linux," he says. Oracle also may be counting on Linux to spur demand for its Real Application clustering technology, which has been slow to take off.

The Linux-on-Intel combination should give businesses a lower-cost alternative to running Oracle on Unix systems, says Bernard Havlik, IT director of Menasha Corp., a $1 billion Neenah, Wis., holding company with subsidiaries that produce plastics and packaging materials. "Intel servers are less expensive than Unix," says Havlik, whose company is a customer of Dell, Oracle, and Red Hat.

There are other potential advantages, too. For example, Linux configurations can take up less system overhead, leaving more horsepower for application processing. With Linux, Havlik says, "you have access to more of your server's resources."

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