The major Linux vendors continue to step up to the plate, offering product upgrades and new functionality as the battle for new customer wins in the lucrative but highly competitive corporate market heats up.
Linux provider Red Hat Inc. is preparing to release the next version of its personal and professional Linux operating system, Red Hat Linux 9. In an e-mail to some customers on Monday, Red Hat said that, beginning March 31, paid subscribers to the Red Hat Network will have access to Red Hat Linux 9 ISOs (images of a CD that users download and then burn to blank CDs as the installation disks) a full week before retail store and Red Hat FTP availability.
“What you might not know is that Red Hat Network passed the one million users mark earlier this year. Weve listened to valuable feedback and have added two items of interest to keep those users happy—the early release of Red Hat Linux 9 ISOs and improved technical support,” the e-mail said.
Red Hat 8 was released late last September as the company continued its expansion into new markets, including call centers and users who run single-purpose trading or other applications. A Red Hat spokesman was not immediately available to give more details on the latest upgrade.
For its part, SuSE Linux A.G. this week will announce the availability of its Enterprise Server 8 for the Intel Itanium processor family, which will also be used to drive parts of the “TeraGrid,” a scientific computing system accessible to researchers across the country.
As first reported by eWEEK, the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 for Intel Itanium will be available by the end of the month at a cost of $749 per server, which includes four CDs, documentation and a 12-month subscription to the SuSE Linux Maintenance Program.
A SuSE spokesman declined to give details about when the companys other products will be available for the Itanium processor family. SuSE plans to release SuSE Linux 8.2, the next version of its Linux operating system for personal and business computers, on April 24.
Lisa Graff, a director in Intel Corp.s enterprise platform group, welcomed the move, saying the product availability for Itanium 2-based systems broadened the scope of Linux offerings on the Itanium processor family and is giving customers a greater opportunity to develop and deploy high-end 64-bit Linux solutions.
In addition, SuSE will announce later this week that the new product has also been selected to drive parts of the TeraGrid, an interconnected series of clusters that allows thousands of scientists around the country to share computing resources over the worlds fastest research network in search of breakthroughs in life sciences, climate modeling and other critical disciplines.
The Distributed Terascale Facility (DTF) is a joint undertaking of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the San Diego Supercomputing Center, Argonne National Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, and is funded by the National Science Foundation.
While SuSE officials declined to specify the exact value of the deal, they did say it was worth “several hundred thousand dollars.” The company is partnering with IBM Global Services, which is deploying clusters of SuSE Linux systems at the four DTF sites.
The servers will be based on current and future Intel Itanium 2 processors, while IBM supercomputing software—Cluster Systems Management and General Parallel File System—will handle cluster and file management tasks. Myricoms Myrinet interconnect will enable interprocessor communication.
The system will have a storage capacity of more than 600 terabytes of data, and a large part of the grids storage infrastructure will be enabled by IBM TotalStorage products and technologies.
“The selection of SuSE for the massive TeraGrid system demonstrates the stability, scalability and performance of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server and Itanium 2-based systems for complex implementations,” Intels Graff said.
Adding to the slew of new Linux offerings was Tuesdays release of Mandrake Linux 9.1 for x86 processors.
This product upgrade is optimized for Pentium and higher processors and their compatibles and does not run on earlier x86 processors.
It includes the Apache 2 Web server, New Technology Filesystem (NTFS) partition resizing, Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) power-management and WiFi support for a number of devices, as well as a simplified graphical installer and the new KDE 3.1 and GNOME 2.2 desktop environments.
The three product offerings are Mandrake 9.1 Standard, a customized Linux system for desktop workstations at a recommended retail price of $39.90; Mandrake 9.1 PowerPack, a full-featured Linux package for power-users at $69.00; and Mandrake 9.1 Prosuite, a solution for small and medium-sized businesses at a retail cost of $199.90.
The delivery of the product on schedule follows the January filing by MandrakeSoft S.A. for “declaration de cessation des paiements,” the French equivalent to American Chapter 11 reorganization.
At that time the company said it remained focused on Mandrake Linux version 9.1, the next version of its Linux distribution, “which is on track for release in April.”
In other news, the Linux operating system won two more converts this week, one of them being German-based drug firm Schaper & Brummer, which specializes in the research, development, production and sale of natural drugs including Esberitox.
SuSE Linux, along with its Linux premium business partner Gesellschaft fur InformationsSysteme (GIS), consolidated a number of IBM Netfinity severs running Microsoft Windows NT onto IBM xSeries servers using SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8. “New investments in IT were necessary; however, it made more sense to invest in the further development of the company IT—instead of merely paying static license fees,” said Norbert Sochtig, IT manager at Schaper & Brummer.
“With SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, we killed two birds with one stone: Open-source technology saved license costs, and at the same time we have two reliable partners—SuSE Linux and GIS—who guarantee investment security, support and system maintenance,” Sochtig said.
Dell Computer Corp. and Oracle Corp. this week also announced a new customer win: Louisianas Nineteenth Judicial District Court, which is using a four-node cluster of Dell PowerEdge 6650 servers with four Intel 2.0GHz Xeon processors and the Dell/EMC CX 400 SAN storage system. The platform runs Oracle9i Real Application Clusters and Oracle9i Application Server with Red Hat Linux Advanced Server to archive court data online and distribute the latest information.
This is expected to result in greater accuracy and efficiency for tasks such as issuing and recalling arrest warrants. The platform will run the courts critical applications for case management, jury management and drug-court case management, working to improve interfaces with district attorneys, judges, state and local law enforcement, and constituents.
The judicial court is also using Oracle9i Application Server for its ACS Judicial Solutions application to manage the court schedules, records and related documents. Leveraging Oracle9i Application Server Portal, these ACS records and schedules are now managed online, providing county clerks and judges with a single consolidated view of their records.
Doug Welborn, the clerk of court for the East Baton Rouge Parish, said the Nineteenth Judicial District Court chose the Dell/Oracle solution because it enables it to fully integrate its database securely, reliably and accurately. “The Dell/Oracle solution has met our needs … helping us to realize the long-standing goal of effectively sharing data with the Nineteenth Judicial Court,” he said.
Jim Anderson, a vice president in Dells Advanced Systems Group, said the deal is significant as it shows how some courts are building a “state-of-the-art computing platform using standards-based technologies” that will help them achieve greater efficiency, accuracy and information sharing. “These capabilities provide a valuable element of the areas homeland security efforts, such as the ability to share a variety of information across agencies,” he said.
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