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Gartner Group: Is Marriage to Unix the Answer to Enterprise Linux?

Oct 15, 2000, 14:08 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by G. Weiss)

"Some in the Linux community resent being closely allied to Unix, claiming Linux can hold its own. However, many key Unix vendors are beginning to declare a future in which Unix and Linux coexist. By running Linux application binaries on Unix as the host OS, vendors want to extend the life of Unix as an enterprise mission-critical environment while capitalizing on the increasing momentum of Linux applications development. We believe that users should seriously consider the "hybrid" Unix/Linux deployment model but exercise caution on how and when it makes sense (see Note 1). The other alternative is to limit Linux only to front-end Web-serving applications and run the mission-critical database and transaction processing on back-end servers on Unix or other more scalable OSs."

"Many users, especially high-level managers, are still skeptical of deploying Linux in mission-critical applications. The current Linux kernel version does not scale well. High availability is still in the early stages of development. Enterprise applications are scarce, and backup and recovery solutions are beckoning. The decision to substitute Linux for legacy environments will require re-evaluation of skills, development projects, service contracts, service-level agreements, internal help desk operations and partnering. To avoid or ease such a transition, a Linux-Unix affinity strategy may be advisable. The objective is to develop on inexpensive and assorted Linux platforms, and deploy to enterprise-robust Unix. Leading Unix vendors, such as Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, see this as a win-win approach for themselves at the high and low ends of the market (see Note 2). As they rush to support native Linux on Intel servers in a high-volume play, they can also extend the interest in high-end Unix by supporting runtime Linux on Unix back ends. Thus, should Linux scale to encroach on midrange and high-end Unix, vendors can be in a position to offer both a native Linux implementation (such as McKinley generation IA-64 systems) and continued support for their Unix servers (on RISC or IA-64)."

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