Whos Using Linux Now

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-08-25 Print this article Print


But some users are in fact running enterprise databases on Linux. Patrick McGovern, director of SourceForge.net, is one of them. SourceForge.net is the largest open-source development Web site, experiencing exponential growth since its inception in 1999 and now hosting in excess of 66,000 projects.

Because of scalability issues, SourceForge.net has made a commitment to move off PostgreSQL and onto IBM DB2 databases running on Linux. The Linux kernels supposed drawbacks havent hampered this busy installation, which is adding some 700 new registered users daily, said McGovern, in Fremont, Calif.

"I think its gotten a lot better in the last couple of years," he said. "Red Hat [Inc.]s Advanced Server adds a lot of additional kernel tweaks and stuff to give it higher performance to run a database, with things like [additional support for] threading and memory allocation."

Its not a good idea to put an enterprise database on Linux without Advanced Server, experts say. "I know lots of people who run on Linux," said Ian Abramson, chief technology officer of Ian Abramson Systems Inc., in Toronto. "They run fine. But ... if you start going into the unknown or into the new or newly developed, youll run into issues. With Advanced Server, you minimize that."

Others disagree. Craig Read, president of the Toronto Oracle Users Group and IT director at MTrilogix Inc., in Toronto, said that even with Advanced Server, he wouldnt recommend to his clients the use of Linux for a distributed and robust environment where backup and replication are essential. Weak points include lack of available tools, ease of use and ease of installation, Read said. "I dont think Linux is there yet, nor is the kernel that robust to do really heavy grid-type computing or to be fail-safe. Not yet," he said.

Brian Stevens, vice president for operating system development at Red Hat, in Westford, Mass., said many issues with the Linux kernels enterprise-database-handling capabilities have already been fixed or will be worked out in the upcoming kernel, expected in the next year. Specifically, 2.6 will have much larger memory support, enabling databases to cache much greater amounts of memory and hence run much faster, as well as enhanced I/O scalability, which should eliminate contention issues that lead to bottlenecks.

Discuss this in the eWeek forum.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel