Outsider No More: Linux Critical In Many Data Centers

Linux disaster recovery

That's a marked change from the past when a new Linux-related product was measured more by its "cool factor" than its utility.

Just how data center-centric Linux has become was evident in keynote speeches Tuesday by Jeffrey Birnbaum, chief technology architect at financial services company Merrill Lynch, and Randall Spratt, CIO at medical products distributor McKesson.

Birnbaum said his company is steadily increasing the number of Linux-based technologies and other open-source products it is using for serious computing tasks. And Spratt said McKesson made a strategic decision eight years ago to deploy 800 applications on Linux.

The evolution of Linux and other open-source technologies was evident on the LinuxWorld show floor as well. "I'm seeing more enterprise data center people here," said Stacey Schneider, senior marketing director at Hyperic, a developer of open-source Web infrastructure tools.

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Hyperic debuted Hyperic HQ for XenServer, a new open-source product the company called the first enterprise-class tool for monitoring and managing the Citrix XenServer virtualization software and the applications running within its virtualized environment.

As Linux becomes more prevalent in the data center, IT infrastructure based on multiple operating systems is becoming more complex. And that's increasing the demand for tools to manage that complexity, said C.C. Fridlin, product management vice president at Avocent, a LinuxWorld exhibitor whose products do just that.

InMage exhibited its flagship DR-Scout disaster-recovery and business-continuity software, including new support for the latest distribution versions of Red Hat, SUSE, Debian and Oracle Unbreakable Linux. The software also supports the open-source Xen virtualization software.

While Hewlett-Packard was not an exhibitor at the show, the vendor this week announced that its HP Serviceguard for Linux, a high-availability clustering and disaster-recovery software portfolio, now supports Novell SUSE and Red Hat Xen virtual machine guests. That means businesses can get the same level of data protection for virtual machines in a Linux environment as they do with their physical machines.

Trusted Computer Solutions, a developer of Linux-based security applications, unveiled new compliance features for its Security Blanket system lockdown and security management software that helps IT administrators configure and enhance Linux system security levels.

Talend showed its recently debuted Talend Open Profiler open-source data profiling software which helps companies evaluate the quality of their stored data and take corrective action where needed.

With Linux increasingly part of the mainstream, it also raises the question about the future of a Linux-specific show such as LinuxWorld. A number of vendors and attendees at this week's show in San Francisco say attendance appears to be off this year compared to the past.

While show organizers insisted the attendance is roughly the same as last year's 10,000, even they seem to think things are changing given that LinuxWorld is paired with the Next Generation Data Center show and the dividing line between the two was often hard to discern.