Red Hat enhances scalability of Linux OS

FRAMINGHAM (10/24/2003) - Red Hat Inc. has rolled out a beefed-up version of its Linux operating system with better scalability, improved performance and support for a wider range of hardware platforms.

Enterprise Linux 3, released this week, includes a threading technology called Native Posix Threading Library. The company says the technology will improve the performance of applications such as Java-based software and databases that run multiple tasks concurrently.

The new release also includes support for larger symmetric multiprocessing, memory and I/O configurations, largely in response to customers who might look at Linux for use in server clusters and on bigger servers running ERP, CRM and database applications.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 is based on common code that will let it run on a variety of hardware platforms including Intel Corp. x86 and Itanium, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Opteron and IBM Corp.'s zSeries mainframes, iSeries, pSeries and S/390 servers. In the past, Red Hat added support for new systems incrementally. Common code will let users more easily scale servers, Red Hat says.

Adecco, a staffing and human resources firm that manages more than 500,000 employees annually, used Linux this year for Web and application servers. Updates in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 make it a viable alternative for critical database applications now running on Unix, says Joseph Pagliaccio, IT director for the Melville, N.Y., firm.

"We're very excited about the memory management," he says. "We're hoping (that) with improved memory management we'll have the same success we've seen with application servers and Web servers moving to Linux. (Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3) opens up the possibility of doing this with the database environment."

Bill Claybrook, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc., says the improved performance and scalability, particularly the support for Native Posix Threading Library, will help push Linux deeper into enterprise data centers.

"It's one of those features that's bringing Linux more in line with the functionality that's been provided by Unix," he says. "That's the goal. All of these features that creep into Linux over time that make it look like Unix are a good thing."

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 is priced as annual subscriptions ranging from US$180 for the basic WS desktop version to as much as $18,000 for the enterprise AS version on IBM mainframes with full, premium support. Current Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscribers can upgrade at no charge.

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