Linux World Recap

Novell, Red Hat, Sun make waves

It was a busy Linux World last week, as Novell Inc. announced the next version of its SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) edition while Red Hat Inc. unwrapped an open-source application server.

Elsewhere, Sun Microsystems Inc. announced new Solaris native code that will allow users to run Linux applications without emulation.

Novell says SLES 9 packs significant performance and scalability improvements, thanks largely to its Linux kernel 2.6 underpinnings. Enhancements include advanced memory management, advanced processor support, Native Posix Thread Library (NPTL), and advanced I/O capabilities. Of particular to interest to high-end customers is the class-based kernel resource management (CKRM) feature—co-developed with IBM—which allows resources to be dynamically allocated or de-allocated.

SLES 9 features enhanced support for HyperThreading (in tandem with Intel’s Pentium 4 processors) and NUMA.

Performance and scalability improvements notwithstanding, SLES 9 boasts enhanced administrative support via integrated ZENWorks Linux manageability tools, which Novell claims makes it easer to deploy, configure, and update. The revamped SuSE Linux also features YaST, an installation, configuration, and administration tool, along with Enterprise Volume Manager (EVMS), which helps facilitate storage sharing in clustered environments. Speaking of clustering, SLES 9 delivers enhanced availability features in the form of new HotPlug services that let IT administrators change hard disks, processors, and other components at runtime.

Finally, SLES 9 is a more secure Linux, says Novell, which touts its compliance with the Common Criteria Evaluation CAPP/EAL 4+ standards—an improvement on SLES 8's CAPP/EAL 3+ certification.

Red Hat Delivers Open-Source App Server

Red Hat kicked off last week’s Linux World show by announcing the availability of its Red Hat Application Server that it plans to test for use with application server offerings from BEA Systems Inc., IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp.

Red Hat says its eponymous application server has also been tested with all major Java Virtual Machines (JVMs). Officials point out that Red Hat Application Server will include open-source contributions from BEA, IBM, and Oracle. For example, the Red Hat’s new app server will include Beehive, a tool based on BEA’s WebLogic that facilitates the construction of Java and service-oriented architecture-ready applications.

Sun Cozies Up to Linux

Also last week, Sun said that its forthcoming Solaris 10 operating environment will include functionality, code-named Project Janus, that lets Solaris run Linux applications at near-native speed. (Janus is, in fact, implemented as a kernel-level service on Solaris 10.)

Sun says that Project Janus—which will be available free of charge—is designed for 100 percent compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.

Administrators can deploy Linux applications alongside traditional Solaris applications and effectively isolate them from one another (to improve reliability) using Sun’s N1 Grid Containers (nee “Solaris containers”) technology. Solaris 10 will support as many as 8,000 fault-isolated software partitions (or containers), each with discrete IP address, memory space, and other resources.

About the Author

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