Enterprise Linux Log

June 19, 2008  2:15 PM

Intel executive asserts commitment to open source

Megan Santosus Profile: Msant

During the partner keynote presentation at the Red Hat Summit today, Boyd Davis, the general manager of server platforms group marketing at Intel Corp., reiterated the hardware company’s commitment to open source.

“Open source software is fundamental to Intel’s business success,” Davis said, who added that Intel is among the top four corporate contributors to open source software.

Davis then outlined the three trends shaping the enterprise computing market, namely optimization – which he defined as the ever-increasing control users want over their environments – virtualization, and energy-efficient performance. For each of these trends, Davis said, Intel, in conjunction with open source software providers, is at work on the underlying silicon components.

Davis also mentioned the LessWatts initiative, Intel’s project to make Linux more energy efficient. The aim of project, said Davis, is to ensure that software can work with Intel’s more energy-efficient hardware components.

Davis concluded his 20-minute presentation with a pledge of commitment to the Linux community. “Our goal is to maintain a close relationship with the community, to ensure[that] the underlying value Intel is building in the silicon is taken advantage of by the end user.”

June 18, 2008  3:51 PM

IBM makes the case for cloud computing at Red Hat Summit

Lauren Horwitz Lauren Horwitz Profile: Lauren Horwitz

This post was written by Bridget Botelho, news writer.
The first hour of keynote addresses at the fourth annual Red Hat Summit at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston wrapped up with Jim Stallings, the general manager of enterprise systems division of IBM.

Stallings talked for about 30 minutes to a packed house about the ways in which data center infrastructure must change over the coming decade to handle increasing power costs, security issues and user demands for information.

“The new enterprise data center is greener, is open and is virtualized. It is much more dynamic and uses shared resources,” Stallings said.

Stallings made many mentions about cloud computing, which IBM refers to as dynamic computing, and said IBM will collaborate with companies to help them adapt their software for use in a managed cloud environment.

“Dynamic computing is the idea of not paying for peak capacity until you are at peak capacity. It is really a utility model, and industries are transitioning to this model today,” he said.
Stallings likened the evolution of the data center to that of businesses like banks, which have shifted from face to face to ATMs and Web-based enterprises. “With banking, you used to have to interact with a human, … then it moved to ATM machines, … and now we can electronically access our assets via the Web, and the software may be run from [some foreign country],” he said. “The physical bank as we used to think about it has changed completely.”

Many data center managers question the stability and security of cloud computing, but companies like Google, HP, Amazon.com and VMware Inc., use and advocate cloud computing environments.

Recently, VMware President and CEO Diane Greene said that VMware’s focus is on cloud computing.
Cloud computing appears to be the destination for enterprise data centers, and many are in the evolutionary stages today, Stallings said. “You don’t buy an enterprise data center, you evolve towards it in stages, starting with consolidation,” Stallings said.

Stallings threw out a lot of factoids and expectations about data center infrastructure but, oddly enough, did not use his pulpit to push IBM products.

Stallings’ only product mention involved a quick case study demonstrating how Volkswagen recently took 76 Unix systems and consolidated them onto six IBM mainframes to decrease its energy footprint.

Given that IBM appeared at Red Hat’s event, Stallings ended his presentation by flattering Linux. He said IBM uses Linux in its data centers, and expects Linux to be the standard operating system in cloud computing, where the OS is heavily used.

June 18, 2008  2:52 PM

Red Hat Summit heats up with fire alarm

Don Rosenburg Profile: Dkr

Fire alarms blared and barely audible announcements urged Red Hat Summit attendees to evacuate the Hynes Convention Center at about 10:15 a.m. but no one heeded the call and left the building. Can’t beat open source for really hot stuff! So far, it’s agenda as scheduled.

June 18, 2008  2:43 PM

Great planning coincides Red Hat Summit, Celtics victory, CEO says

Don Rosenburg Profile: Dkr

Red Hat CEO and President Jim Whitehurst began his opening keynote of Red Hat’s fourth annual Summit today by crediting event organizers for coordinating the Summit event with last night’s Celtics victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

“We got everyone tickets for Game 7,” Whitehurst joked. “I wish we could get the Celtics red hats to wear in the parade.”

Whitehurst said that open source really is a business model where everyone wins by sharing innovation, which spreads the benefits of innovation and spares originators the cost of maintaining proprietary technology. He cited several examples where companies contributed innovations to the open source community that have led to major improvements. For example, a Canadian insurance company contributed what became JBoss’ Enterprise Service Bus and the U.S. government shared the development of what is now known as SELinux, he said. In addition, an innovative messaging protocol developed by JPMorgan is being tested now as part of Red Hat’s MRG [Messaging Real-time Grid] product, he said.

Contributions of innovations is a win-win proposition; the whole open source community benefits by incorporating and building on the improvements. But the contributors benefit too from lower support costs, he said.

The problem is that these are only a few examples; the vast majority of private development enterprise software is wasted, Whitehurst said, in urging attendees to promote open source and participating in community development.

Red Hat will launch more new products than ever this year, ensuring that its software and support will be better than ever, Whitehurst added.

“We are the leader in open source,” he said. “It’s who we are and what we do.”

However, leadership involves not just good software but also behind-the-scenes work to improve open source interoperability, like a recent lawsuit settlement that Red Hat negotiated to protect not only Red Hat but past and future users from litigation.

In his travels around the globe, Whitehurst said the most frequent customer complaint is that Red Hat isn’t always easy to work with when it comes to communications and recordkeeping. And Red Hat will be addressing that issue in the weeks and months ahead, he said.

So after a perfect Boston day of sunny skies and refreshingly cool temperatures, Red Hat attendees will be celebrating their adoption of open source software at a party in Fenway Park. Go Sox!

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June 17, 2008  7:44 PM

Zenoss debuts network monitoring tool at Red Hat Summit

Lauren Horwitz Lauren Horwitz Profile: Lauren Horwitz

Zenoss Inc., an Annapolis., Md.-based software company, has launched a new version of its open source networking monitoring and management tool at the fourth annual Red Hat Summit.

According to Zenoss, CEO Bill Karpovich, Zenoss Enterprise 2.2 is an open source cross-platform monitoring tool for networks, servers and applications. The 3-year-old company introduced its first free version in 2006, followed by an enterprise version with support and certification in 2007. The basic application performs configuration modeling, performance management and event management, including alerts and reporting.

With more than 4,000 users, he said, Zenoss is currently the most downloaded open source product and is created by SourceForge.

The new Zenoss Enterprise 2.2 version has a distributed architecture, making it much faster to deploy remotely over large networks. Previously, administrators had to configure the application manually on each remote collector that in turn controls many servers or network devices. Now, however, Zenoss Enterprise can be delivered to controllers automatically, Karpovich said.

In addition, Enterprise 2.2 includes an application program interface called WMI or Windows Management Instrumentation that enables Zenoss to monitor Windows servers as well as Linux machines, he said.

The new version also offers high availability and includes a series of new reports for turnkey monitoring, he said.

Zenoss Enterprise’s competitive differentiator is its power, affordable price, easy deployment and flexibility, Karpovich said. It runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise, Ubuntu and as a virtual appliance inside VMware.

To date, Zenoss Enterprise has more than 100 paying subscribers. The cost for support ranges from $100 to $140 per managed resource per year, depending on the service level.

June 17, 2008  7:00 PM

SEP adds online backup for VMware

Don Rosenburg Profile: Dkr

SEP Software LLC, a German-based company with U.S. headquarters in Boulder, Colo., has introduced SEP Sesam 3.4 backup and recovery software with additional support for VMware this week at the fourth annual Red Hat Summit. Known primarily in Europe, the company has expanded its U.S. presence for about 18 months.

According to SEP Software President Tim Wagner, the new version runs on Red Hat, Novell SUSE, Debian, Ubuntu and other open source operating systems and is very easy to use in a cross-platform environment. Unlike its competitors, SEP Sesam 3.4 enables users to back up and recover virtualized data online.

SEP already supports all major hardware, operating systems and databases, but it has now extended to virtualized data and can be installed as a guest for concurrent backups if the user already has another backup product, Wagner said. SEP provides snapshot backups for VMware, requiring only one installation per VMware host. Installation and subsequent backup and recovery operations are quick and easy to do. Backups also can be performed within a storage area network.

In addition, SEP enables users to migrate data from disk to disk to tape and transfer data securely over the network via AES 256 encryption and decryption. An administrative application program interface provides access to all servers and their data.

Prices start at $377 per server and $214 per client. Online groupware and database modules start at $845 to $3,845, depending on operating system and hardware manufacturer.

June 17, 2008  5:35 PM

Xandros Bridgeways for Red Hat debuts at Summit

Lauren Horwitz Lauren Horwitz Profile: Lauren Horwitz

This week, New York-based Xandros Inc., which specializes in cross-platform systems management tools, will debut Bridgeways for Red Hat at the fourth annual Red Hat Summit.

The new server is a dual-purpose management console that enables administrators to monitor Red Hat and Windows machines from a single server running either OS. And since the server has a Windows interface, no Linux experience is required.

Adapted to Red Hat Enterprise Linux from the Xandros Server, Bridgeways for Red Hat configures the servers, establishes the workflow and helps prevent problems, according to CEO Andreas Typaldos. It works with physical or virtual servers and can be managed remotely from any Red Hat server or Windows desktop running XP or Vista.

Known for its interoperability tools, Xandros was recently tapped to create management packs to enable open source applications like Apache Web server and MySQL database to work with Microsoft’s System Center.

Both projects are based on filling the same skill gap by enabling Windows administrators to work with Linux machines without additional training, Typaldos said.

The first three Bridgeways Packs for Red Hat are free; the cost for each additional pack is $449, with annual renewals of an additional 20% of the initial purchase price.

A Bridgeways for Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux is planned in the future, he said.

Bridgeways for Red Hat will be available in July or August.

June 16, 2008  1:52 PM

Partnering up for a showdown? Red Hat Summit 2008

Suzanne Wheeler Suzanne Wheeler Profile: Suzanne Wheeler

This post was contributed jointly by SearchEnterpriseLinux editors Lauren S. Horwitz and Caroline Hunter

As the VAR Guy noted in a recent blog post on the upcoming Red Hat Summit, Red Hat has some gumption. The Raleigh, N.C.-based company has crossed the Mason-Dixon line to hold its annual event in Boston, the territory of its rival, Waltham, Mass-based Novell: What chutzpah!

Not to be outshined, Novell has made its presence known, posting some conspicuous advertising in the Hynes Convention Center, the location for this year’s Red Hat Summit, the VAR Guy reported.

But whether Red Hat’s choice of venue is a real shot across the bow or not, there’s little doubt that that over the past several years, the Red Hat/Novell rivalry has gotten pretty heated. One could date the boiling tensions to 2006, when Novell signed an agreement with Microsoft to share product patents. In 2007, the two companies agreed to work toward interoperability and have even dedicated a lab to that purpose.

By joining forces, Microsoft and Novell aim to gain an even stronger foothold in the open source market, though some data indicates that both the Red Hat and Ubuntu distributions have made strides against Novell SUSE. A new survey on open source adoption may support these findings.

The VAR Guy also noted Cisco’s expected prominence at the Summit and wondered whether it might signal an upcoming Cisco/Red Hat partnership, much like Microsoft’s with Novell. Or maybe Cisco’s “cozying up,” as the VAR Guy characterized it, is more a case of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Consider this user comment in response to the Var Guy’s musings:

“Cisco now views Microsoft as its #1 threat in unified communications and other areas,” the user wrote. “I think they are just solidly placing themselves on the other side to be honest. They see a cost/competitive advantage and want to help set the ‘other’ standard.”

Stay tuned from the frontlines for more Red Hat Summit coverage.

June 13, 2008  3:26 PM

Animating Red Hat Summit

Suzanne Wheeler Suzanne Wheeler Profile: Suzanne Wheeler

Among those tapped to deliver keynotes at this year’s fourth annual Red Hat Summit are some traditional choices, those who will likely tout the business benefits of using open source technologies, speakers like John Halamka, the CIO of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Center, and Jim Whitehurst, the president and CEO of Red Hat Inc.

But also included are some colorful choices, like keynote speaker Joel Cohen, a writer and the associate producer of The Simpsons, who will discuss how the business values of open source have fueled creativity and innovation for the series, now in its seemingly unstoppable 20th season. In a recent interview, Cohen admitted that he knows little about open source technology — let alone Red Hat — but according to the PR firm the Lavin agency, his speech really addresses how to stay innovative in pressure cooker-type competitive business environments. The title of Cohen’s address is “The Business Tao of Homer: Lessons in Creativity and Innovation from The Simpsons.”

Given the focus of some of the later sessions — from tracks on middleware and beyond the operating system to granular sessions on decoding code and open source in virtual environments — this keynote may set the tone and give some perspective on why attendees use open source in the first place: Flexibility, openness, and fresh ideas are always the building blocks of business.

June 3, 2008  9:46 AM

Ubuntu Server receives positive reviews

Suzanne Wheeler Suzanne Wheeler Profile: Suzanne Wheeler

Ubuntu isn’t just for desktops. Behind the scenes, corporate IT managers have put Ubuntu to work on servers. Don’t believe me? Well, I can name names. I can also tell you up front that Ubuntu Server gets high marks for its corporate support; easy backups, installs and upgrades; documentation, and more. 

So I set out to find some IT pros who could talk about Ubuntu Server, which wasn’t hard. I just asked, “Who’s using Ubuntu?”  in a SearchEnterpriseLinux.com newsletter. Here are some respondents’ views of Ubuntu Server, both positive and not-so-positive.

In the past, Linux has gotten dinged for poor corporate-level support; but Canonical Ltd. — Ubuntu’s corporate parent — got support right with Ubuntu’s Long Term Support (LTS), according to Jim Read, an IT administrator for a financial institution.  “We have stuck with 6.06 LTS, and it has worked well,” Read said. If he changed support providers, he’d have to do major system reconstruction, but LTS 6.06 hasn’t given him a reason to consider a change.

Another common point in Ubuntu’s favor is its ease of use, particularly with upgrades and backups.

 “Backups are so very simple, there is lots of advice about what to back up other than data so that server recovery is reasonably straightforward,” said Iain McKeand, IT systems administrator at Oxford Policy Management.

One admin has had such a smooth Ubuntu upgrading experience that he will upgrade even though he doesn’t have to. His Ubuntu servers “just sit there cranking” and don’t have to have “the latest stuff,” but he’s found that the Ubuntu upgrade process is painless and easy.  “We’re going to upgrade the 6.06 machines within the next few months as time allows,” he said.

Ubuntu Server gets mixed reviews for ease of use in other categories.

Sometimes the need for manual system configuration outweigh the cost savings of using a Linux server, some IT pros say. You’ve got to know Linux pretty well to get the most out of Ubuntu.

Read has encountered problems with dependencies: “The largest issue I had was when I had to install an application from source to make sure I had all the dependencies that were needed to compile the source effectively.”

Linux-savvy admins can get around such problems, Read added. He recommends source applications on Ubuntu over graphical user interface-based ones.  Though they take a long time to mount, source applications allow for more administrator control.

Some users have found Active Directory particularly easy to integrate with Ubuntu, but some have encountered problems. Those in the latter category  say that previous releases of Ubuntu haven’t been easy to use with Microsoft Active Directory, particularly in authentication. They think the new Hardy Heron release should solve that.

On the positive side, Dan Smart, an IT admin at a Fortune 500 mining company, reported, “The new Active Directory integration is excellent. The application they use, Likewise Open, is so much easier than using the PAM Kerberos method or PAM WinBind method of authentication. Works seamlessly.”  

McKeand also found that integration of Ubuntu and Active Directory was fairly straightforward and “has surely been easier year on year.”

Even Windows-friendly administrators have turned to Ubuntu. Ubuntu’s performance marks are very strong, said several of our respondents who have benchmarked it themselves against Windows servers. Some also said that their shops that run mostly Windows servers use Ubuntu for applications Windows does not support.

When compared with Windows, Ubuntu’s support and product pricing has attracted corporate IT managers.  Jim Mirick of Automated Member Services Inc., said: “Our business would be quite different without Ubuntu, because we would have had to spend a lot of time and energy trying to mash more stuff onto one Windows box [due to budget limitations].”

Ubuntu Server has served some companies so well that they don’t want their competitors to know they use it.  “We do both Linux and Windows, [as] I didn’t want to limit my opportunities,” explained an IT pro and respondent, who wished to remain anonymous. He stopped publicizing his decision to use Ubuntu as a core server technology because “I felt this was a competitive advantage.”

If you don’t have to keep your Ubuntu Server a secret, then write to us. Chime in with your Ubuntu Server stories in the comments section below or by emailing me at chunter@techtarget.com.

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