LinuxWorld: Clustering takes centre stage

High-end Linux clustering comes of age this week with the launch of 32- and 64-bit platforms at LinuxWorld in San Francisco.

High-end Linux clustering comes of age this week with the launch of 32- and 64-bit platforms at LinuxWorld in San Francisco.

Although the promise of industrial-strength Linux clustering has been slow to materialise, industry observers believe this week's announcements will lend much-needed corporate credibility to the architecture.

IBM will unveil its 64-bit DB2 Integrated Cluster Environment for Linux, which scales from two nodes to 1,000 nodes and is designed to take advantage of Advanced Micro Devices' 64-bit Opteron processor.

Accompanied by the Opteron-based IBM eServer 325, the software will run both 32- and 64-bit applications to ease the transition to 64-bit computing.

"We are focusing hard on users who want to cluster together hundreds of servers now because increasing numbers of are being driven by the total-cost-of-ownership issue," said Scott Handy, director of the Linux software solutions group at IBM.

Hewlett-Packard will counter IBM by rolling out the first of its turnkey Linux Compute cluster line. Based on a preconfigured design and aimed at commercial users, the Xeon-based clusters will scale to as many as 128 nodes.

"This helps users in that they don't have to redesign everything. We're using our industry-standard ProLiant systems, but we have tweaked them for high-performance applications," said Mike Balma, business strategist at HP.

HP will also roll out software, including ProLiant Essentials Rapid Deployment Pack for Linux, which helps users automate server-software deployment; HP Serviceguard for Linux, management software which supports Red Hat's Enterprise Server and SuSE Enterprise Server 8.0; and HP OpenView GlancePlus for Linux, which improves the uptime of server-based applications.

Veritas is expected to announce the porting of Veritas Cluster Server agents to Linux and of Veritas Foundation Suite to Linux for IBM's zSeries mainframes.

Candle Corp. will also fuel the drive to 64-bit Linux-based platforms with an extension to its management-software line, which supports IBM WebSphere, IBM MQSeries, and 64-bit computing platforms.

"We are witnessing rising demand from new and old customers for Linux tuning, testing, and management as they focus on migrating to a common operating system to reduce costs," said Teri Soken, vice president of Candle's data centre management group.

Meanwhile, BEA Systems is expected to announce expanded Linux partnerships with HP and Red Hat. The joint-support agreement will allow WebLogic users to get the same level of support on United Linux and Red Hat Linux distributions as had been previously available on HP-UX.

BEA will also announce the year-end availability of a product that bundles WebLogic 8.1 with Red Hat Linux. It will also expand its partnership with Red Hat in an effort to optimise Java on Linux.

SuSE Linux, which established a bundling agreement with HP last month, will announce a deal it has signed with Sun Microsystems in which Sun will bundle SuSE's Linux Enterprise Server 8.2 with its Intel-based line of servers.

SuSE is also working on a deal with SGI.

Meanwhile, Penguin Computing will its Tempest 2100 workstation, 1U Altus 1200 and the 3U Altus 3200. All will be available with AMD's Opteron 246 chip. The four-way Altus 4200 will come with Opteron 840-series processors.

One company not attending LinuxWorld is former Linux distributor The SCO Group, which is embroiled in a legal dispute with IBM and is threatening to sue Linux users over alleged intellectual-property violations in the Linux source code.

"I'm not sure what reception we'd get if we went there," said SCO representative Blake Stowell.

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff had a rough idea. "For SCO to show their head at LinuxWorld would only invite hostility, vitriol, and hangings in effigy," he said.

LinuxWorld runs until 7 August.

Ed Scannell and Robert McMillan write for InfoWorld

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