Linux Today Feature: SGI's XFS Journaling File System on Track for Mid-Year Release to LinuxJan 31, 2000, 14:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Wolley)
by John Wolley, Linux Today Silicon Valley correspondent
MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, January 31, 2000 - At LinuxWorld Expo today, SGI will announce a new Linux-based product line and extensive Linux technical and professional services support, but perhaps the biggest news for the open source community involves SGI's high end journaling file system, XFS. According to Laura Shepard, product manager in SGI's high-performance networking and clustering group, XFS is right on schedule for a mid-year release to the Linux community, following a beta that is expected to begin in the March/April timeframe.
XFS--an 'OS Crown Jewel' Offered to Linux
Portions of the XFS code were licensed by SGI from third parties, and hence could not be release by SGI. It was feared in some quarters that it could take a long time for SGI engineers, working with open source developers, to recreate those pieces of code. Apparently this work is moving along quite nicely. And according to Hank Shiffman, strategic technologist at SGI (quoted in LinuxWorld 5/99), no changes in the Linux kernel are necessary for it to work with XFS. The modular nature of the Unix architecture allows the kernel to interface easily with different file systems.
Other High-End SGI Code--Coming to a Linux Distribution
A week later (CNET 7/99b), Jan Silverman, SGI VP of marketing for computer systems, indicated just how far SGI intends to push the scalability of Linux, and hence its suitability for enterprise mission-critical tasks: "...SGI hopes to stand out from the crowd by making its Intel servers able to use dozens or even hundreds of processors, and for that, 'you need an operating system where you can actually muck around with the kernel'…" The title of an interview in PC Week/UK (8/99) with Hank Shiffman, SGI's strategic technologist, graphically spelled out SGI's priorities: "Irix takes back seat as SGI goes for Linux".
How soon can we expect to see some of this other high-end SGI code available for Linux? According to Courtney Carr, SGI product manager for Linux servers, SGI's LinuxWorld Expo announcements today will include Pro Pack 1.2 for Linux (formerly called "SGI Linux Environment"), a set of "reliability and performance enhancements" that will initially be available for Red Hat Linux 6.1. This is code that "runs on top of a Linux distribution". SGI plans to make Pro Pack for Linux available on other major Linux distributions. (As of this writing, further details on exactly what capabilities Pro Pack for Linux would offer were not available.)
High-End IBM AIX Code Soon to Follow
While we don't yet have a timeline on the release of the IBM code that is as definite as that for SGI, according to VNUnet (1/00), "Irving Wladowsky-Berger, vice president of technology and head of IBM's Linux initiatives, said he hoped the first pieces of technology would be made available within the next few months."
SGI's Product and Services Announcements
The SGI 1200 is a low-end Linux- and Intel-based server offering that mounts in racks. It's designed for use in server farms and is likely to compete with the Cobalt RAQ 3.
The SGI services to be announced are intended to "make Linux a safe choice" for enterprise customers. SGI will offer "a full range of industry-specific consulting services, including advanced architecture, design and implementation, clustering services, technology porting services, Linux solutions, and best-of-breed consulting engagement methodology". And SGI will offer 23 Linux courses, five of them LPI (Linux Professional Institute) certified, at 29 training centers in locations around the world.
Related stories--other high-end code coming to Linux: