SAP HANA instantly analyzes large volumes of transactional data from multiple data source in real time. The partnership allows for tight integration of products and services as well as operating system service and support options.
The workload-optimized, preloaded, preconfigured IBM x3690 X5 for use with SAP HANA is also available, and includes SLES for SAP Applications preloaded. It lets business users instantly access, model and analyze all transactional and analytical data from virtually any data source in real time, without impacting existing applications or systems.
Visit SearchSAP.com for more coverage of SAP TechEd 2011.
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The Crowbar software framework manages the OpenStack deployment from the initial server boot to the configuration of the primary OpenStack components, allowing users to complete bare-metal deployment of multi-node OpenStack clouds in a matter of hours. Once the initial deployment is complete, Crowbar can be used to maintain, expand, and architect the complete solution, including BIOS configuration, network discovery, status monitoring, performance data gathering, and alerting. Crowbar has been released to the community as open source code and Dell is working with the community to submit Crowbar as a core project in the OpenStack initiative.
“In order to efficiently serve over 300,000 customers, DreamHost has built intelligent service automation into all our Web hosting solutions,” said Simon Anderson, CEO of DreamHost. His company has used Dell’s OpenStack Cloud solution in their expansion of cloud solutions based on Ceph, an open source distributed storage system. They are also contributing to the OpenStack project.
Check out more Linux news and tips on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com.]]>
And after all the kerfuffle following Oracle’s purchase of Sun and MySQL, advances in the open source database sector are welcome.
With a nice price (starting at $3,995 per year), and “rid yourself of Oracle,” marketing push, EnterpriseDB may be attractive to many shops looking for a compatible database. But Oracle isn’t the only target. The xDB Replication Server can pull data from Microsoft SQL servers as well.
Have you been affected by the dropped Itanium support? Have you used Postgres? Does EnterpriseDB have a chance (they’ve hit 1,000 customers, but will there be more)?]]>
The “donation” of the code to ASF was met coolly by The Document Foundation (TDF), the organization of developers that spun off LibreOffice in September 2010 from OpenOffice in response to Oracle’s handling of the project, including the decision to charge for the previously free Open Document Format plugin that allowed interoperability between OpenOffice and Microsoft Office suite. TDF lists its supporters, which include most of the big names in Linux: Red Hat, Canonical, Novell, Google and more.
TDF issued a statement, explaining that this move was not all they had hoped for:
The Document Foundation would welcome the reuniting of the OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects into a single community of equals in the wake of the departure of Oracle. The step Oracle has taken today was no doubt taken in good faith, but does not appear to directly achieve this goal. The Apache community, which we respect enormously, has very different expectations and norms – licensing, membership and more – to the existing OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects. We regret the missed opportunity but are committed to working with all active community members to devise the best possible future for LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org.
This move by Oracle doesn’t seem to be as “open” claim in its press materials on the matter, and TDF’s grumblings won’t go unnoticed by the open source community. One of the key hang-ups is the change of software licensing under Apache. Previously, OpenOffice code was licensed under the GPL, LGPLv3 and MPL. Under Apache’s license, modifications to the code do not need to be given back, which contrasts with the previous licensing versions.
Notably, IBM is supporting the move, and Bob Sutor has issued his own analysis and reaction on his blog.
More on OpenOffice and ASF
Oracle watchers speculate on future of OpenOffice
ASF Incubator: What does that mean?]]>
IBM’s Watson supercomputer is gearing up for a big Jeopardy! match next week, and the system will be dueling it out with the aid of a SUSE Linux backbone.
IBM’s DeepQA software powers the technology that allows contestants to participate in Jeopardy!, and runs on SUSE Enterprise Linux Server 11 and 10 racks of IBM Power 750 servers. According to Novell, SUSE Linux is the fastest operating system available for Power7 based on SPEC benchmarks, and would be ideal in handling the high-capacity computing demands put upon Watson, its software and its servers during competition. Watson has 200 million-plus digital pages of information, and with SUSE, operates at a speed of over 80 teraflops to interpret questions and give answers.
You can see Watson in action against human competition — former Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter — beginning next Monday, Feb. 14 through Feb. 16. You can also check out the full release of Novell’s announcement.
For more on how Watson works, read this story from National Public Radio (NPR).
UPDATE: MIT crowd gathers to watch Watson. See how the supercomputer fared the first night in competition.
Linux Foundation President Jim Zemlin, kicked off Wednesday’s keynotes with an optimistic view of Linux’s role in the current operating system market. He compared the competing demands of “free and open” with “fabulous” – specifically calling out Steve Jobs’ pitch of the iPad in a humorous clipped video that isolated the adjectives used to describe the new gadget. Zemlin said that Linux can be both free and fabulous, and because of that, will be well-suited to compete in this economy.
To summarize everything that occurred would take too long, but I’d like to highlight three keynote talks that were of particular interest to me.
IBM says get involved in Linux: early
Dan Frye, IBM’s Vice President of Open Systems Development, shared the 10+ years of IBM’s history and experience with Linux. He dished out advice to other companies that might be curious or worried about how they should or could contribute to Linux.
One piece of advice Frye gave was that the Linux developers from your company need to be from, or know how to work within the Linux community. Using contractors to do this work is not advised, said Frye, as the relationship with the Linux community over time is valuable to your company in terms of getting development projects through the process.
“You need to manage your open source developers, but you can’t manage their maintainers,” said Frye. “You have to understand open source and the communities the developers work in. The only thing that matters is the results. The thing you want is ‘influence.’ You can’t have control.”
As for those projects, it’s OK to scratch your own itch, says Frye. If you’re unsure about how to contribute to the kernel, get your developers to work on things that are of interest to your company.
“Initiate early – don’t spends months behind closed doors – approach the community,” said Frye. “If you’re going to make large contributions in an area, you can’t throw code and run.”
Frye also shared that Linux is now just as predictable to IBM as any other operating system, noting the maturity of the OS.
Open source = open cloud?
The cloud buzzword made it to the Collaboration Summit, with a blue-ribbon panel of clouderati including James Urquhart, product marketing manager for Cloud Computing and Virtualized Data Centers at Cisco, David Lutterkort, software engineer and Deltacloud Architect at Red Hat, Sam Ramji, vice president of Strategy at Sonoa and President of the CodePlex Foundation, and Doug Tidwell, IBM evangelist for Cloud Computing and SCA.
The panel examined the potential for cloud computing in the open source model. While open source is the technology behind a lot of cloud enablement (Linux is the operating system on servers running Amazon EC2 instances, etc.) because of the cost structure, having open source infrastructure beneath platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings may be impossible.
“The situation we’re in right now is that the market has to determine if having infrastructure openness is an important thing,” said Urquhart. Eucalyptus is the closest effort in this vein, but no major cloud providers are yet using Eucalyptus, keeping the open source community from tweaking the cloud systems to suit their needs.
The conversation further delved into data openness and the constraints placed on that by laws and regulations.
“I think in the next one to three years we’ll see a meaningful standard for data ownership,” said Ramji. “It will become accepted and normalized.”
As with any new technology, the panel discussion concluded without any real resolution, but there will be plenty more discussion on the respective panel members’ blogs and Twitter feeds if you want to keep up with it.
Your life may depend on Linux
Yes. Linux can be that serious.
In a real sign of the maturity of Linux, the head of the DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (German Air Navigation Services) data center, Alexander Schanz, gave a presentation on how the agency is transitioning their entire data center from Unix to Linux. Still a work in progress (very methodical progress), the agency plans to port 1,500 systems from Unix to Linux. They are on their way to migrate primary systems to Linux, and all new ATC systems will be on Linux (both SUSE and Red Hat).
“With the appropriate skills and planning, Linux is stable enough to use in air traffic control,” said Schanz.
To deal with the learning curve of their administrators and operators, the agency has developed a special training program for their staff to learn Linux.
“Linux is not free,” said Schanz. “We have to employ people who know Linux, and they are not cheap.”
But still the agency is finding that it can save quite a bit of money with the platform that it makes all these investments worthwhile. I plan to follow up with Schanz and share more of the DFS story here in a future article. If you have any questions you would like me to ask Schanz, leave your comments here.
But all these great, inspiring, informative talks aside, the highlight of the event for many attendees may have been the best schwag giveaway ever: a new Nexus One phone (full disclosure: I didn’t take one). To get a visual of the event, some great photos were captured by Kenny Moy.]]>
I descended into the basement of the Eugene City Brewery (where else would IT geeks meet?), ordered my pint of Rogue Chocolate Stout and joined a smattering of local IT pros who had gathered to have a good brew and talk geek with their peers. It was in this darkened room, with large brew kettles visible through the glass windows behind the projector screen that I was introduced to Lofstrom’s vision of a data center in space.
Location is important in this story – the location of the data center, location of the presentation, and the location of the engineer. Lofstrom lives in Portland, Oregon, a city that has the slogan “It’s not easy being green,” within in a state that has put considerable effort behind attracting green industry. His silvery white hair is neatly pulled back into a low stub ponytail, perfect for fitting under his bicycle helmet as he commutes around the city. His attire is casual, with little frameless glasses that, along with the hair combined to evoke historic images of Benjamin Franklin. It’s clear he’s a thinker, a dreamer even, and he’s passionate about this idea.
Loftstrom explained that it all began when he heard a presentation about data center energy use, and the fact that as we all watch more videos, post more photos, and use the internet, the demand for energy from data centers will only increase. Much has been written about this problem and possible solutions so I won’t bore you with details. But to illustrate, Lofstrom shared the August 9, 2009, Dilbert comic:
Pretty gloomy, but the facts behind this image can be motivational to an engineer like Lofstrom.
He passed around a small device with a flash drive and a couple Ethernet ports that he uses as a firewall for his computer system. This device, he explained, inspired him to think about small physical computing devices that could be solar powered, and Server Sky was born. We all looked at the eight-and-a-half by eleven sheet of paper that he had prepared. On it was a diagram of the Server-sat.
Then Lofstrom explained that the diagram we saw was to scale.
Immediately, audience members had questions. Lofstrom explained that he would get to most of them through the course of the presentation. Incidentally, the presentation was given via a presentation software application he had developed that he hoped to get some more collaboration on because, he said, “If nothing else comes from this, I’d like to get this presentation software improved and kill PowerPoint.”
Lofstrom spent the next hour plus going over orbital physics, Moore’s Law, Newton, light pressure, satellite technology, space junk, and biology. He’s really been doing a lot of thinking on this, but admits he wants and needs more minds focused on it. With a background in open source software, Lofstrom is hoping to keep the project open to contribution from others for as long as possible, “before the investors come in and lock everything up.”
If you’re interested in finding out more information, you can view a recorded video of his presentation from Linux Fest Northwest 2009.]]>
Linux from the kernel to the big picture
Highlights so far have included a kernel maintainer panel discussion featuring Linux kernel founder Linus Torvalds, Jon Corbet of LWN.net, Chris Wright from Red Hat, IBM’s Ted Ts’o, Novell’s Greg Kroah-Hartmann and moderator James Bottomley. While many positive things were said about the panel discussion, one sentence uttered by Torvalds got the most attention.
“We’re getting bloated and huge, and yes it’s a problem,” said Torvalds in reference to the size of the kernel. “I would love to say that we had a plan. Our icache footprint is scary.”
Yes, the neat tight kernel that Torvalds envisioned and worked to build when he founded Linux is now much larger, with mutiple releases and thousands of lines of code added each year. But as Matt Asay, vice president of business development at Alfresco and blogger at CNET pointed out, this bloat may not be a serious cause for concern as Linux moves into more technologies like mobile devices — instead, perhaps we should celebrate the massive community involvement and progress.
Speaking of Asay, he was the winner of the “Fake Linus Torvalds” competition that the Linux Foundation launched in the weeks leading up to the conference. Each of the competitors used the Linux Foundation’s Twitter account to post missives as if they were the real Torvalds.
On Tuesday OpenSUSE community manager Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier started the day off with a presentation in which he used music as an analogy for Linux. Some highlights were his comparison of Duran Duran with Ubuntu for its “insane” popularity, and The Velvet Underground with Debian, because almost everyone that hears The Velvet Underground wants to go out and start their own band just like almost everyone that uses Debian decides they want to build their own distribution. But, said Brockmeier, Linux should strive to be more like The Beatles. He presented some of the trouble spots that are preventing Linux’s overwhelming popularity (referring to the platform as a “one hit wonder” — on the server) including a glaring lack of marketing and a dearth of functional applications that allow people to do the things they want to do — especially music and video projects.
System adminstrator and developer sessions
Beyond the keynotes, Monday and Tuesday each offered attendees four opportunities to sit down and learn about specific technologies. These sessions were divided into tracks focused on developers, operations, and business interests. I stuck to the operations tracks and found a mixed bag of discussion, product overview, and technical details.
By far the best session I attended was given by Kir Kolyshkin of the OpenVZ project. Kolyshkin presented the product with the right amount of background information and definitions of terms and specifications, and then moved on to the technical details of how and where it could be implemented and gave specifics of what the system needs and what would need to be done from a sys admin perspective.
But sadly, some of the other sessions felt more like an extended sales pitch or didn’t really seem to match with their advertised descriptions. From the feedback I heard from other attendees, the developer sessions were a lot more useful in general.
I give kudos to the organizers for branching out beyond the developer community and involving operations staff in the conference, but there is some room for improvement next year.
With that, I’m off to the final day of LinuxCon!]]>
A May 5 story on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com about the decline of Sun Microsystems and its recent purchase by Oracle Corp. drew some thoughtful, diverse views from readers. The article concluded that Linux didn’t cause Sun’s downfall, fiscally speaking, but provided a low-cost x86-based OS that offered companies a cheaper hardware/software alternative, indirectly undermining Sun’s overall business.
David Marsh, an IT architect with a custom chip company, said his firm is planning to replace its outdated Solaris systems with cheaper, more powerful x86-based hardware, a decision that has nothing to do with the pending Oracle/Sun merger. Marsh expects to migrate its Oracle e-Business suite from Solaris to Linux at the next upgrade, probably virtualizing some portions of the application, and potentially all of it, on VMware.
Marsh’s firm also uses Sun Solaris instead of Windows to run Citrix XenApp, which functions as the front-end for its designers, who use many Linux-based tools. Marsh would prefer to migrate them from Solaris to Linux because the licensing for the Windows version of XenApp is “triple” the cost on Solaris. However, a Citrix spokeswoman said Citrix currently has “no plans” to add a XenApp version for the Linux platform.
Marsh was dismayed with Citrix’ response and predicted that “quite a few high-end customers will switch to other products,” like X-Windows display software for Windows or free, open source Xming software.
But Rich Rutkowski, whose small firm makes point-of-sale systems for retail outlets, hopes that Oracle will leverage Solaris and Java at Linux’s expense. Rutkowski’s firm was using Linux for development but was disappointed with Red Hat and Novell’s SUSE open source OSes. Red Hat doesn’t support Sun’s application server directly but, instead, refers users to Sun forums, he complained. And SUSE has a complex install process for nVidia drivers and, worse, a SUSE desktop upgrade caused a kernel panic, he said.
“After experimenting with OpenSolaris and the full production Solaris, we realized that everything we added to Linux (Postgres, Java Application Server and Java) came packaged with a full install of Solaris,” Rutkowski said. “Buying from Sun makes sense and the costs were actually cheaper. We will stay with Sun hardware and software and observe Oracle’s actions. There is no reason to go to Linux if Oracle keeps Solaris open.”
Oracle’s $7.4 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems is expected to be finalized this summer.]]>
On the exhibit hall floor, Anirban Chatterjee, IBM IT Specialist in the Executive Briefing Centers Systems and Technology Group, demonstrated how the tool works along with the PowerVM Live Partitioning Mobility feature.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/-QwgBRCOtDM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Jarman also touched on the fact that IBM offers full support for SUSE 11, a move we have reported previously, with a focus on the cloud computing emphasis.
I’ll be keeping my eye on the Linux on Power activities at IBM throughout the show, and we’ll be following up with some end users who are willing to share their experiences. If you have any questions you want to ask IBM about Linux on POWER, leave a note in the comments below and I’ll work on getting you an answer.]]>