Novell Ships First Real-Time SUSE Linux

The company is targeting Red Hat's ownership of Wall Street-type applications with a powerful new operating system.

LAS VEGAS—Novell is shipping the first real-time SUSE Linux enterprise data center operating system, SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time 10.

Novell, most recognized for its Linux desktop business, announced SLERT Nov. 27 at the Gartner Data Center Conference here.

SLERT is the high-end—and significantly higher-priced—version of Novells open-source real-time operating system for running high-performance, time-sensitive data center applications.

A key difference between SLERT and the regular SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 is that SLERT allows pre-designated mission-critical business applications full I/O priority at all times, something regular SLES cant do. Another differentiator is the price; SLES is licensed at $349 per server per year, compared with a $2,499 annual subscription license for SLERT.

"SLERT is a premium type of operating system," Justin Steinman, Novells director of product marketing for Linux and open platform solutions, told eWEEK. "When youre a financial institution or an aerospace company, and you know that itll cost your company millions of dollars if the system is slow or is down for even a few seconds, youll pay for quality like this."

Using SLERT, financial organizations can respond more rapidly to changing markets and news, get greater application reliability and predictability, and identify and eliminate performance bottlenecks, Steinman said.

"It might not be the best analogy, but think of the special inside lane of the freeway for HOVs [high occupancy vehicles] ... thats sort of what SLERT does. It allows a companys mission-critical applications to work at full speed 24/7, even if the other lanes get congested and are slower," he said.

With this operating system, system administrators can segment portions of their processors for high-priority mission-critical workloads, as well as ensure that other system processes and tasks do not interrupt them, Steinman said.

"This means these workloads deliver predictable performance in time-critical environments, which is super important for Wall Street-type institutions and other similar verticals," he said.

Gartner analyst George Weiss told eWEEK that SLERT is significant news for Novell and for Linux in general.

"This is another proof point that companies can indeed monetize Linux and make good money with it," Weiss said. "It also indicates that Novell is going after new share in the market that currently belongs to Red Hat, especially in the Wall Street IT world."


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Having such a high-end Linux data center operating system—coupled with Novell subscription support and NightStar debugging and analysis tools supplied by Novell partner Concurrent—makes for a compelling product, he said.

"Now Novell can go after the Credit Suisses and other financial institutions with a good new story," Weiss said.

SLERT includes CPU shielding, priority inheritance, sleeping spinlocks, interrupt threads, high-resolution timers and the latest OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution for commodity high-speed interconnects, OFED 1.2.5, Steinman said.

Laurie Tolson, Sun Microsystems vice president of client software, said Sun and Novell are now working together to port and optimize Suns Java Real-Time System to SLERT, which will enable developers to gain temporal control over the execution of their Java software applications running on Linux.


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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...