Linux is ready to handle the corporate jewels, according to several high-tech leaders, but one analyst says Unix’s days aren’t over yet.
Veritas Software Corp., in conjunction with partners IBM and Intel Corp., this past Monday announced its intention to bring the open source
operating system to the storage market in the form of its Cluster Server. Just as you can cluster Sun servers, says Veritas CEO Gary Bloom, you can do the same with Linux.
Mark Bregman, executive vice-president, product operations, says this marks the second coming of Linux as it climbs out of “”the nadir of disappointment.”” Linux made a big splash in the late 1990s in terms of headlines, he says, but adoption wasn’t high.
“”The real thrust in the last year or so has been mainstream enterprise data centre customers moving Linux into their database centre. So it’s no longer just Web services and Web-based applications,”” Bregman says.
Fred Dimson, GM of Veritas Canada agrees saying Canadian corporations are more accepting of Linux.
“”We feel it is moving up the ladder in corporation and we are seeing a lot more people take it out of the lab and into production areas,”” he said.
As for Veritas channel partners, Dimson said that some of them are ready for Linux and some aren’t.
“”Those who play in the Unix area are and they have an understanding and technical background for it. It’s a good move to Linux, but those who resell Microsoft or Intel are not as exposed to it,”” he said.
The good news for channel partners is that certification is the same as other OS, Dimson said.
For those partners who are looking to move into this area there is an opportunity to deliver a cost reducing solution to their customers, Dimson said.
Currently, customers are looking at reducing cost in general, Dimson said. He added that Microsoft’s new software strategy and its increased costs are a factor as well as the costs of maintaining Unix.
In Canada, Dimson believes applications such as database and ERP systems can be moved over to Linux creating a big opportunity for Veritas partners.
Linux’s strong suit is its adaptive nature, Veritas executives say. Bregman says it supports different scales, products and platforms while also serving as architecture capable of expanding across the storage marketplace.
Veritas’ involvement with Linux didn’t mushroom overnight. Bregman says it has been making contributions to the kernel for years including memory allocation, and performance and networking enhancements.
“”This is a long term commitment to enhance Linux,”” adds Richard Wirt general manager, Intel software solutions group. “”Intel now treats Linux as a tier one or primary operating system. All of our tools we support on Linux, our solution centre supports Linux, Linux gets tuned right up front for each new processor we bring out.””
Seattle-based Amazon.com moved all of its front and back-end business applications off a proprietary Unix operating system to Linux last year. Walt Nelson, senior manager, corporate systems, says the swap was done in 90 days and averaged 50 to 100 server installations per week. He says it has realized a number of benefits, such as a lower cost commodity server platforms, a reduction in licensing fees, and a reduction in maintenance fees.
IDC Canada analyst Warren Shiau says while Linux does offer some cost advantages, companies are not ditching Unix en masse.
“”If you’re talking about corporations moving over the so-called corporate jewels from a Unix back end over to a Linux back end, then that’s not really happening. If you’re looking at implementations of, lets say, mission-critical Linux implementations, they’re not really prevalent, but it is possible now. Users would consider that,”” Shiau says.
“”Where Linux is making a lot of headway in the market right now — especially in the Canadian market — is in the lower-end to mid-range servers.””