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TechRepublic: Don't look now, but Linux 2.4 is enterprise-ready; IBM poised to push Linux in

Feb 07, 2001, 20:45 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Hiner)

"The 2.4 kernel systematically addresses and remedies the main weakness that has kept Linux from winning more servers in the enterprise: scalability. ...Linux 2.2 was not optimized for SMP, a necessity for enterprise environments. The 2.4 kernel has effectively removed this obstacle. Linux 2.4 is well optimized and tested on SMP machines with up to eight processors. There have even been reports of development and deployment teams using the kernel on SMP machines with anywhere from 32 to 64 processors."

"Another SMP-related Linux 2.4 improvement is support for multiple Advanced Programming Interrupt Controllers (APICs). These I/O controllers are used in SMP to spread the load for processing interrupt requests among the various CPUs, thus allowing for faster and better use of multiprocessing. Memory support had been another Linux drawback. Enterprise servers, especially database servers, require very large amounts of RAM, and Linux 2.2 was limited to 2 gigabytes. With the 2.4 kernel, Linux now supports up to 64 gigabytes."

"When it comes down to it, Linux's best chance of making serious headway in the enterprise may rest with Big Blue. IBM has been investing heavily in Linux in recent years, and they have well-established relationships with many large organizations. Enterprises like to buy hardware and software in a package deal from one vendor, especially when they are buying a UNIX OS. HP, Sun, and IBM have been very successful in marketing their hardware/software packages to enterprise customers. With the arrival of the 2.4 kernel, watch for IBM to leverage its Linux investments to make a strong play for new enterprise contracts with robust and well-priced enterprise servers based on Linux. Other companies, such as HP and Compaq, may follow suit."

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