Enterprise Linux Log


September 21, 2007  9:35 AM

Apples or oranges? What is JeOS?

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JeOSAre you planning on juicing anytime soon? How about JeOSing?

Confused yet? Here’s a hint: Both those sentences sound exactly the same when you say them aloud. What’s different about them is a case of apples and oranges however, and I’m not talking about Tropicana. I’m not even talking about pro sports figures and questionable performance enhancing tactics that may or or may not lead to asterisks being placed next to stats and failed Hall of Fame bids.

What I’m not going to talk about today is the Cream or the Clear; what I am going to talk about is virtualization, virtual appliances, and a little Linux distro called Ubuntu. As of this month they’re all being blended into a concoction the folks at Canonical Ltd. and VMware are affectionately calling JeOS.

Each of those topics are pretty well known now (virtual appliances still being a bit “new car smell,” but whatever), so how does JeOS bring something new to the table? Is it a product to be sold, or is it an architecture with which to build new exiting things that my colleagues and I will be writing about for years to come? One executive I’ve read recently who’s been at this a while has a rough idea.

By taking a short Internet boat ride over to rPath CEO Billy Marshall’s blog today, we find him addressing that very question.

JeOS (pronounced “juice”) is a concept first described in writing by Srinivas Krishnamurti of VMware in this blog entry. With the pronouncement this week by Canonical that the Ubuntu distribution of Linux is now a JeOS product, I thought I would make the argument that JeOS is a packaging architecture, not an operating system product. I also believe that the hypervisor is the replacement for the product formerly labeled as the general purpose operating system.

[...]

Now that the hypervisor is going to become the new operating system that supports the hardware, should the JeOS that supports any given application be a product with the same architecture as the legacy general purpose operating system? i.e. a collection of components defined by the operating system vendor as supportable and maintainable? so long as you don’t change the assumptions the operating system vendor made when the collection was assembled and tested and released? so long as you don’t change any of the components because that makes the collection unsupportable? How is that possible, when by definition, the collection of components that the application vendor is going to use is going to change depending on the needs of the application? Think about it.

And off we go. By Marshall’s reasoning, and I’m inclined to believe him, the JeOS cannot be squeezed into an operating system product role because it must become a packaging or testing architecture. In lieu of any other approach, JeOS must be assembled by ISVs around an application with the smallest possible footprint. This is because, you’ll remember, VMware is promoting JeOS (and Virtual Appliances in general) as an opertaing system sans system interfaces, functions, and libraries; and without the unnecessary services that the application does not require. “By tailoring it to the needs of the application,” Krishnamurti said on his blog, “you are now down to a lithe, high performing, secure operating system – Just Enough of the Operating System, that is, or JeOS.”

More JeOSBut Marshall then argues that the appliance must also confirm that this “closed loop set” is reasonable based upon the testing scenario for the application. “It must subsequently enable the integration of the various maintenance streams for the components with the server set to provide an elegant life cycle experience for the application vendor and its customers. In this scenario, the application provider takes on a much broader responsibility for the support of the operating system, and at the surface level this can seem very scary,” he said.

Before you go scurrying behind a UPS unit in fear, just wait a second. Seems that you might have been living with this approach for some time already. Marshall, a former Red Hat employee, explains that “the application vendor or their customer was already assuming this burden in the legacy model where the general purpose OS was modified on premise to support the application.”

Add to that equation JeOS — as a packaging architecture (instead of a “one size fits all” product, Marshall says) — the component set that must be maintained is much smaller and much more intimately related to the application than even what VMware described at VMWorld for tHe launch of JeOS (due out October 12).

“By definition, the application vendor will be in a good position to determine and resolve problems given this tight definition and technical affinity with the application, Marshall said. “No doubt they will still want the technical expertise of a vendor with deep operating system skills as a backstop, but the product they acquire from that vendor will look very different than the product historically labeled as a general purpose operating system.”

In conclusion (I sound like an 8th grade research paper here, but oh well), JeOS is, always has been, and will be a packaging architecture. Marshall states JeOS should be billed as a system software reference platform with a build/test methodology. “Anything else defies logic in a world where every server has a hypervisor and every application arrives as a virtual appliance with JeOS,” he said.

What really fascinates me in all this is the role Linux will play in driving the adoption of VA’s by ISVs, who will then provide them to customers to run virtually in the tens of dozens on multi-core, super powerful servers that, in a hat tip to my colleagues at SearchDataCenter.com, are spaced correctly with adequate cooling. It’s a low cost, secure operating system and that seems to be working perfectly for vendors like rPath, VMware, Canonical and many more. We’re only on the cusp of this vast virtualization precipice, and as a writer I like that. But now I’m thirsty.

September 20, 2007  8:33 AM

NASDAQ serves SCO with delisting notice

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There’s piling on, and then there’s what happened to the hapless SCO today. Just to recap, SCO basically lost its years-long case against Novell and the Linux operating system earlier this month and then just this week announced it would enter into chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

And today? SCO fired off a press release announcing it received a notice from The Nasdaq Stock Market indicating that the company’s securities will be de-listed from Nasdaq on September 27, 2007, pending an appeal.

The bare bones press release:

The Nasdaq Staff Determination Letter received on September 18, 2007 indicated that as a result of the Company’s having filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the Nasdaq Staff has determined, using its discretionary authority under Nasdaq Marketplace Rules 4300 and IM-4300, that the Company’s securities will be delisted from The Nasdaq Stock Market and that trading in the Company’s common stock will be suspended unless the Company requests a hearing to review the determination. Pursuant to Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 4804(b), the Company is making a public announcement disclosing receipt of the letter.

The suspension of the Company’s common stock is currently set to occur at the opening of business on September 27, 2007. However, an appeal will stay the suspension of the trading of the Company’s securities pending a panel decision by a Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel. The Company intends to request a hearing to review the determination. There can be no assurance that the panel will grant the Company’s request for continued listing.

As this now infamous case (and it’s getting a bit tiresome too, no?) begins to wind down with a series of weekly sputters, coughs and stumbles, I can’t help but think of how irrelevant it’s all become to our audience here at the Log and on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com. So, barring any unforeseen apocalyptic events stemming from the appeals process that’s sure to come, I will not be reporting much on SCO anymore.

Good riddance? Not really. Just irrelevant.


September 18, 2007  12:20 PM

Apache lead over Microsoft IIS shrinks again

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Call out the chaperons — they’re practically touching! Apache and Microsoft IIS market share! They’ve almost met in the middle at 50%! Six inch space and no kissing, please!

Well, close, but not quite. Apache continued its “winning streak” in September over Microsoft’s Internet Information Server, but by a smaller margin than the month before (when Netcraft, which watches these kinds of things like a hawk, said that IIS was poised to challenge Apache’s market share lead sometime soon).

Part of this — as we’ve reported before — is due to Tomcat and to Google’s big server switch in 2006. Both of these phenomenons had a profound affect on Apache’s numbers, but were not in and of themselves an indicator of any slippage.

However, all that said, IIS is growing thanks to a rise in social networking sites like MySpace and Windows Live Spaces, both of which use ISS.

Says Netcraft:

The high growth so far this year has been largely driven by the increasing number of online blogging and social networking communities. This month sees strong growth in the number of sites at Windows Live Spaces, MySpace, and Blogger appearing in the survey. The increased popularity of these blog hosting services continues to have a dramatic effect on the web server market shares: Apache suffered a sudden decline in share when sites at Blogger switched to Google’s GFE.

Apache gains over 3 million hostnames, and around 0.9 million active sites this month. But this is not enough to prevent its market share declining closer to the 50% mark, as Microsoft also gained over 3 million hostnames (a large part of which come from MySpace and Live Spaces, both of which use its Internet Information Server).

So the battle continues.


September 18, 2007  9:20 AM

Swedish pharmacies fight fevers with Red Hat

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Red Hat and PillsApoteket, the Swedish State Pharmacy and Sweden’s largest state-owned pharmacy chain, has chosen to replace all of its servers at approximately 900 pharmacies with Red Hat Enterprise Linux running on Intel hardware. Can we call that Rentel now?

Anyway, Apoteket’s legacy server infrastructure was reaching end of life and experiencing performance issues as a consequence of age, cheery release from Raleigh, N.C. said this morning. According to Apoteket, the massive pharmacy network will soon replace both the hardware platform and the server operating system with Red Hat Enterprise Linux running on Intel-based servers. This means all servers at approximately 900 pharmacies will be replaced with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Not too shabby.

Apoteket, in collaboration with the Red Hat Support team, has performed extensive tests of the new platform with positive results. The deployment of the new Linux platform was completed at the end of June 2007 and is now in full motion.


September 17, 2007  12:24 PM

Blade server chassis cuts into MySpace

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Blade servers and Linux go together like Slashdot and any story about Linus Torvalds, so I’d like to link to a cutesy little diatribe about blades over at our sister blog Server Specs.

Apparently, Hewlett-Packard has introduced “Shorty,” a “smaller blade chassis looking to capture the attention of smaller companies in a similar way that the BladeCenter S aims to. It’s 10.5 inches high, fits eight blades and can plug into a standard 110-volt wall outlet. All in all, it’s a pretty good mini-BladeSystem. Called the c3000, the chassis has its own MySpace page.” That quote courtesy of colleague Mark Fontecchio, News Writer and current North American vagabond (inside joke alert).

Done snickering? Because it’s totally true and it begs the question: Does Tux have a MySpace page yet, or is he totally into Facebook? These are the things I need to know.


September 17, 2007  10:25 AM

Red Hat’s Szulik comments on EU vs. Microsoft

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Can you say Schadenfreude?

Red Hat dropped me a note this morning in response to the European’s Commission’s smack down of Microsoft. I don’t know if Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik was toasting champagne while he fired off this response, but it would have totally made sense if he was.

“Today’s decision by the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg in the Microsoft matter is great news for innovation and consumer choice, both in Europe and around the world. The Court has confirmed that competition law prevents a monopolist from simply using its control of the market to lock in customers and stifle new competitors,” said Szulik, Chairman and CEO of Red Hat. “In our business, interoperability information is critically important and cannot simply be withheld to exclude all competition. Given Red Hat’s firm belief that competition, not questionable patent and trade secret claims, drives innovation and creates greater consumer value, we were pleased with the overall decision and look forward to examining the decision in greater detail. Red Hat would like to congratulate the European Commission, and particularly Commissioner Neelie Kroes and her services, for their persistence and courage in bringing this matter to a successful result.”

Schadenfreude. Look it up.


September 13, 2007  4:13 PM

If Linux server adoption is slowing, then my name is Steve Ballmer

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Linux adoption in the enterprise is slowing down? Not so fast says one analyst firm, which took a closer look at a report that showed Linux adoption slowing from the significant growth rates of the past few years.


In early September, global financial firm UBS released the survey results of its quarterly snapshot of CIOs, and the numbers were not good for Linux – or were they?Entitled “CIO Pulse: A Quarterly Snapshot of IT Trends”, the report suggested that Linux adoption on the server was slowing significantly.According to the report, which surveyed “more than 60 CIOs,” 90% of respondents that are not using Linux today would not deploy that operating system in 2007.

The number is up 3% since January when UBS asked participants the same question, and is significantly higher than the 60% number seen in 2006. It all adds up to a seemingly downward trend for Linux, but is the honeymoon officially over?Not just yet, according to a conflicting report released by Westport, Conn.-based Saugatuck Research this week.

“Though the UBS research is sound, the data as reported do not indicate the true health and growth of Linux — and of open source operating systems in general,” said the report’s author and Saugatuck Technology managing director, Bruce Guptill.

Citing his firm’s own research, which was drawn from surveys of IT managers and decision makers throughout 2007, Guptill said that contrary to the findings at UBS, Linux adoption in particular — and open source adoption in general — is healthy and growing at “phenomenal rates.”

The disparities between the UBS reported findings and Saugatuck’s own data are based on the following key contextual differences:

  1. UBS spoke with 63 CIOs who may or may not be aware of investments made down at the process, project and departmental levels within their enterprises — which is where Linux server investment and management is typically found. Saugatuck finds that such server investments are frequently “invisible” to CIOs, as they frequently are tactical and low-cost. In our most recent worldwide survey with over 200 IT and business executives, Saugatuck found that hands-on IT executives and managers often have more/greater visibility to server investments. As previously reported by Saugatuck, the presence of Linux, and much open source software, is often hidden or unaccounted for, especially in larger enterprises (see Saugatuck Strategic Perspective Open Source Vendor Perspectives: It’s Real, It’s Hidden, and It’s Bigger Than You Think, STR-370, 07Jul07).
  2. The UBS numbers as reported seem to emphasize new Linux deployments, although that point is not specifically stated in the report. “Declining rates of growth, especially in new deployments, do not necessarily indicate that the market itself is declining — they often indicate that the base market itself is growing,” Guptill said. Saugatuck data indicates that fewer than 20% of user enterprises do not yet have Linux or other open source operating systems installed in mainframe or server environments. In sum, UBS reported data from a small and shrinking population. The real growth for Linux — and for other open source software — will be within the vast majority of enterprises that have already deployed it, but have limited deployments to date for a variety of reasons.
  3. Finally, the UBS data as reported looked only at servers. In Saugatuck’s research experience, “servers” are typically thought of by CIOs as x86-based platforms. Given the resurgent growth of mainframe sales and their rapidly increasing use as servers (including in virtualized environments), Saugatuck has combined x86 server and mainframe platforms in its data collection. And our latest data indicate that adoption and deployment of Linux (and other open source operating systems) is rapidly growing at server and mainframe levels, as well as at desktop and mobile device levels. SearchEnterpriseLinux.com reported on this earlier in the week in Low-cost Linux revives the mainframe (again)

The bottom line: Linux growth will slow, yes, but only in numbers of new-enterprise deployments. It would be impossible to sustain double- and triple-digit adoption growth over the long term, Guptill said.

Through at least 2012, the use and presence of Linux — and other open source software — will continue to increase at double-digit rates within enterprises already deploying it as executives within these enterprises realize the business value of open source and invest heavily to expand and extend what they increasingly see as a competitive advantage. Linux growth will be further encouraged by traditional IT and SaaS vendors promoting more Linux-compatible solutions.

But Guptill sees a bigger question for user enterprises today: Are CIOs paying enough attention to open source growth within their firms? To focus on Linux by itself is a red herring for most. CIOs need to engage in audits of open source presence. Nearly 60% of IT executives surveyed by Saugatuck report auditing and confirming the presence of open source in their firms. This is a key step toward effectively managing this increasingly strategic IT within existing IT governance.

What do you think of the questions he raised? Is open source “hidden” in today’s enterprise environments?


September 13, 2007  10:48 AM

Linux: still too rough for the average joe (or jane)

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MossbergWell known tech columnist Walt Mossberg reviews the latest Ubuntu build on some Dell hardware and comes away with mixed emotions. Like watching your ex wife go over a cliff in your brand new Mercedes, Mossberg sees Ubuntu as “easier to use” but still lacking the polish necessary to make it big with Joe User.

My verdict: Even in the relatively slick Ubuntu variation, Linux is still too rough around the edges for the vast majority of computer users. While Ubuntu looks a lot like Windows or Mac OS X, it is full of little complications and hassles that will quickly frustrate most people who just want to use their computers, not maintain or tweak them.

And tweak he does. In the column, Mossberg goes through a routine that’s now familiar to a vast number of people — tech-savvy or no. For example, there is no control panel for adjusting the way the touch pad works. It was too sensitive and unmodifiable. Every time the computer awoke from sleep, the volume control software crashed and had to be reloaded, he said.

“When I tried to play common audio and video files, such as MP3 songs, I was told I had to first download special files called codecs that are built into Windows and Mac computers. I was warned that some of these codecs might be “bad” or “ugly,” Mossberg wrote in his column. A Kodak camera and every hipster’s staple, the iPod, also failed to synch with the system. Video flickered and froze, seemingly at random. DVDs just don’t play. Etc etc.

Now, on the server none of this matters, obviously. But for the consumer it’s everything. If iPods don’t play then, well, it’s going to be the holiday apocalypse. Especially if dad didn’t find a Wii for under the tree. Linux’s time will come though, right? At least, that’s what every “year in review” article I’ve written for the past four years has said anyway.

There’s a different angle that reaches the same conclusion over at Brian Proffit’s LinuxToday blog. Entitled, “Ubuntu fails to impress,” the post is more about hardware drivers than it is the failings of Ubuntu.


September 13, 2007  9:08 AM

Sun to sell Microsoft Windows Server boxes … ?!

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What is going on in the land of Sun Microsystems today?

In a rather stunning bit of news, Microsoft and Sun announced at a press conference that Sun has signed up to become a Windows Server Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), selling Sun x64-based servers that come bundled with Microsoft Windows Server 2003. Sun has released a chart showing which hardware will be ready for the Windows operating system, and the company is expected to ship the first bundled systems within 90 days.

Bwah?!

“Sun is now a single source for today’s leading operating systems—Solaris and Windows—on the industry’s most innovative x64 systems and storage products,” said John Fowler, executive vice president at Sun, in a statement. Oh, and don’t forget that they sell Linux too, to the tune of roughly 60% on all the Niagara servers that go out the door (IDC).

Uh, ok? Microsoft seems to benefit more from this deal than Sun does, which ars takes note of:

“The move has all sorts of upsides for Microsoft, which gains a solid hardware partner for their high-end enterprise technologies such as SQL Server and Mediaroom. It is also a boost for Windows Server, which has lately made some small but hard-fought gains in the battle for server market share. The upside for Sun, on the other hand, is somewhat less obvious. Sure, it will get to sell more hardware, but these days the competition and falling profit margins on x86 kit makes this less of a win than it used to be.

For more, head over to my colleague Mark Fontecchio’s post on this over at the SearchDataCenter.com blog. He covers Sun a lot deeper than we do at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, so hopefully he has it all figured out.

Interesting side note: I had the pleasure of attending James Gosling’s Sun Tech Days keynote yesterday. The man is an IT/technology rockstar. He also discussed how open sourcing Java (and by correlation Solaris) is actually making Sun revenue, not taking it away. Some might say that’s “fuzzy math” but Gosling had a formula — a formula! — via his presentation that seemed to make sense. Plus, he was throwing free t-shirts into the audience. Did I say rockstar yet?!


September 12, 2007  10:38 AM

Axfood is hungry for Red Hat

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Axfood goes with Red HatIt’s a Wednesday, so that must mean yet another new customer for the folks at Red Hat. Today, it’s Axfood, one of the largest food retailers in Scandinavia.

According to a nice, flowery press release from Red Hat, Axfood decided to ax everything and standardize its IT infrastructure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Axfood will use Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a platform for its SAP environment and will also use the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform in its core production environment. Axfood is also going to deploy Red Hat Satellite Server and Red Hat Global File System.

On the JBoss side of things, Axfood has also implemented JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, used in the company’s core production environment. JBoss Enterprise Application Platform is built on open source Java standards and is compatible with most operating systems. Axfood has signed a subscription agreement with Red Hat which provides service, support and updates for both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.

Delicious.


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