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Linux: The Operating System of the Cloud

May 07, 2009, 13:01 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Amanda McPherson)

Besides its advantages in licensing, Linux is a more cost effective platform for providers to deploy and customers to target. Partially because of its usage in small, power sensitive devices, Linux has been the beneficiary of a great deal of research in lowering total power consumption. Heavy attention has been paid, for example, to making Linux more power efficient relative to competitors, via projects like the tickless kernel. Combined with the power saving efforts within cloud data centers, Linux is helping to lower the total solution cost for cloud customers.

"Manageability & Staffing
For enterprises and governments alike, questions of resourcing and personnel are an important factor in technology deployment and purchase. In addition to evaluating the merits of a given product or project, organizations must consider how their existing skillsets map to the technologies in question, and further, the ability to hire those skills from the general market in the future. Fortunately, because managing and developing for Linux are common skills, the ubiquity of Linux within cloud platforms means that customers deploying to the cloud can avoid costly re-training for system administrators and developers. In addition to re-purposing existing personnel, deployed IT management systems that already target Linux can be better leveraged with regard to Linux-based cloud nodes.

One of the most common concerns that analysts and other advisers have for potential cloud customers is the lack of standards, and the resulting potential for lock-in. For all of the advantages in deployment speed and flexibility, the nascent stage of many cloud offerings and the absence of common, agreed upon formats for packaging, runtimes, and virtual images introduces risk. Fortunately, customers can leverage Linux as a hedge against this possibility. The differences between Linux instances, hosted in cloud environments and those hosted locally or at a data center, after all, are generally less technical than geographical. By standardizing on Linux workloads, customers will have the flexibility to deploy locally or remotely as the economics and circumstances dictate."

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