SuSE Ratchets up Linux Reliability, Availability

New Carrier Grade Linux designed for high-end environments

SuSE Linux AG this week unveiled new enhancements designed to make its flagship Linux distribution more suitable for use in high-end environments.

The new features are said to enhance the ability of its SuSE Enterprise Server 8 to support applications that require high degrees of reliability, availability, and security—such as those used by many telecommunications services providers. Not surprisingly, SuSE has dubbed the enhanced operating system SuSE Linux Carrier Grade Linux (CGL).

The German Linux vendor developed SuSE Linux CGL in collaboration with partners IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Intel Corp. Many of the CGL features were based on recommendations defined by the Open Source Development Lab’s (OSDL) Carrier Grade Linux Working Group. SuSE, IBM, HP, and Intel are all members of the OSDL.

SuSE representatives are quick to stress that in spite of SuSE Linux CGL’s name, it’s equally suitable for other environments—such as financial institutions—that require a more scalable, reliable, available, and secure version of Linux. "This is a breakthrough product that we expect will quickly become the preferred platform of many customers," said SuSE CEO Richard Seibt in a prepared statement. "Developed initially for telecom, the promise of CGL has attracted attention of businesses in many different industries—including financial and retail."

New SuSE Linux CGL enhancements include improved serviceability features—such as system memory dumping, system probes and tracing—designed to enable faster problem determination.

Other new CGL features include support for IPv6 and MIPv6, the latter a mobile version of IPv6 that specifies the operation of mobile computers and devices using IPv6. This has the effect of allowing each mobile node to be identified by its home address regardless of its current point of attachment.

Additional performance enhancements include improved kernel reaction time to real time or interactive events for low-priority processes—even if the kernel itself is operating under a heavy load, and RAID 0 support for striping to boost performance for I/O intensive applications that require fast access to data.

Another enhancement, application pre-loading, supports the loading and pinning of the pages of an application before it executes. This has the effect, SuSE says, of reducing the risk of slowdowns that are associated with demand-paged execution. The feature is typically exploited in diskless environments to reduce network traffic and increase execution speed.

SuSE Linux CGL is available now for 32-bit Intel environments. SuSE representatives say that CGL enhancements will be available for other platforms at a later date. SuSE Linux is currently available for Intel’s 64-bit Itanium microprocessor, Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s 64-bit Opteron chip, and both of IBM’s Power processor-equipped platforms—pSeries and iSeries—as well as its zSeries mainframe systems. SuSE is expected to introduce CGL support for these platforms.

SuSE says that customers who participate in its SuSE Maintenance Program can now obtain SuSE Linux CGL at no charge.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.