Intel sees opportunity for Linux in enterprise server market

Intel's VP says the opportunity to deploy the Linux operating system (OS) on critical enterprise servers that run e-Business data centers is the next major economic frontier for software technology.

In the LinuxWorld keynote, Intel Corporation Vice President Will Swope said that the opportunity to deploy the Linux* operating system (OS) on critical enterprise servers that run e-Business data centers is the next major economic frontier for the software technology.

Linux is typically found on “front end” servers, smaller one-to-two processor systems that handle Internet and e-mail traffic in the data centers that power today’s businesses. However, Linux is typically not found on the larger, mission critical “mid-tier” and “back-end” multi-processor servers that serve as the backbone of these computing centers, and that poses an economic opportunity for the Linux and open source development community.

Swope outlined a series of steps that are necessary to move Linux into the mid-tier of data centers, including the establishment of industry-wide development projects that will ultimately enhance the OS with enterprise features. He cited the project to enhance the Linux OS to support 16 64-bit processors with near-linear performance improvement as one such project. The multi-company effort is currently underway in the industry’s new, non-profit $24 million Open Source Development Lab, which opened last week.

“Linux is a core technology in the Internet economy, with 38 percent of new Internet servers containing Linux**,” he said. “But unless the industry comes together to produce more complex business-oriented solutions, Linux won’t move to the next step within businesses.”

Demonstrating the types of solutions necessary to move Linux into data centers, Swope showed a pair of clustered Itanium™-based servers sending streaming video to Pentium® 4 processor-based systems. The configuration was running Mission Critical Linux’s Convolo cluster software, a Linux-based product that reliability and stability for complex business-related applications.

Swope and National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) director Dan Reed also demonstrated a four-way Itanium™-based Linux cluster powering a simulation of a mach-10 shock wave colliding with a gas bubble. According to the NCSA, Itanium-based systems are the fastest systems for numerically intensive applications, allowing scientists to accurately study the effects of these types of phenomena in nature.

New Linux Products and Services

Today at LinuxWorld, Intel also announced new Linux-based products and services, including:

  • Intel® Advanced Network Services for Linux, the industry’s first software providing load-balancing, fail-over technology and other advanced services for network connections used in Linux-based servers. This software helps alleviate server bottlenecks, improve server uptime and obtain greater value out of networks.
  • The Intel® Early Access Service, a new service for Linux developers available online through Intel® Developer Services. The secure and maintenance-free service enables Linux developers to test, optimize and debug their Itanium processor applications, allowing them to quickly move their technologies into the marketplace.

Read more about Servers R Us.