Linux-Based Dell Servers Power IMAX

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-08-13 Print this article Print

PowerEdge servers running Red Hat Linux will be used in the digital remastering of "Apollo 13" for IMAX theaters.

SAN FRANCISCO—Dell Computer Corp. and Red Hat Inc. on Tuesday announced at LinuxWorld here that Dell PowerEdge servers running Red Hat Linux will be used in the digital remastering of Universal Pictures and Image Entertainments "Apollo 13" movie scheduled to hit IMAX theaters this fall. Essentially the IMAX Digital Remastering technology uses the Dell servers to repurpose individual frames of 35mm film into IMAXs 15/70mm format in seconds. Greg Foster, president of filmed entertainment for IMAX Corp., told a media briefing on Tuesday that the company is currently using 60 dual-processor clustered servers, with more likely to be ordered.
"Apollo 13" will be the first 35mm live action film to be digitally remastered into the 15/70 format for presentation at IMAX theaters. "It costs between $2 million and $3 million to digitally remaster a film," Foster said.
Red Hat CEO and President Mathew Szulik said this customer win is further proof of Linuxs ability to scale in environments running high visualization and high graphics at a relatively low cost. Randy Groves, a vice president at Dell, said one in four Linux servers are now Dell-based, making the company the highest-volume Linux provider in the United States. "Linux is expected to grow at 20 percent a year, while Unix sales are expected to decline," he said. Dell views itself as a "voice of the customer" and wants to provide real solutions in the Linux environment. In reference to Sun Microsystems Inc., Groves said that while some competitors have recently had a "religious conversion" to Linux, Dell and Red Hat have been active players in the market for a long time. Dells strategy focuses on three key new markets: stronger and deeper Unix to Linux migrations; the deployment of Oracle9i and 9i Real Application Clusters on Red Hat Linux; and High Performance Computing Clusters (HPCCs) as a replacement for supercomputers. "Our Unix strategy is Linux," Groves said. Groves also detailed new professional services designed to accelerate the deployment of Linux in the enterprise, including expanded jointly delivered services with Red Hat. "These moves are in response to customer requests. We will be offering a full range of services to help them migrate off Unix to Linux." Red Hat Vice President Mark De Visser told eWEEK that the agreement extends the One Source Alliance between the two companies to help customers migrate from proprietary Unix systems to Linux. "But the agreement means Dell effectively becomes a reseller channel for our service offerings. Dell, as the major vendor of Linux-based servers, can now lean on the deep resources we have in the Linux service space," he said. Red Hat on Tuesday also announced its first formal agreement with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Red Hat will now offer global support for AMDs Hammer processor family in its current Advanced Server Linux offering as well as in its future enterprise Linux products. This mainstream release agreement means that anytime Red Hat comes out with a new Linux release, it will make it available for both the AMD and Intel platforms, providing users with a choice, De Visser said. Red Hat will provide native 64-bit support for processors based on AMDs x86-64 technology as well as for existing 32-bit Linux-based applications. "We think this is a big deal because Linux has moved rapidly into the enterprise essentially on the back of commodity hardware. This has always worked well as it replaced scenarios where customers were locked into one hardware provider," De Visser said. "Users are keen about it as it gives them more choice and, now that were adding AMD into the mix, it helps keep Intel honest." Related stories:
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    Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

    He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

    He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

    He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

    He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

    He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

    His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

    For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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