Mandriva's new server Linux does virtualization treble

Releases an open-source operating system update for corporate servers that offers three prominent virtualization technologies.

Mandriva has released Corporate Server 4.0, a version of Linux aimed at businesses.

The release is part of Mandriva's ongoing push beyond its roots as a provider of Linux for end-users to challenge Red Hat and Novell in the market for Linux for enterprise servers.

Corporate Server 4.0 is the first to offer three of the most prominent virtualization technologies--VMware, Xen and OpenVZ--in its standard version, said Mandriva, formerly known as MandrakeSoft.

The open-source operating system, released last week, is easier to customize than previous versions, Mandriva said. It uses a Web browser-based installation assistant, called "Fibric," to quickly set up specialized servers such as mail, file/print and directory servers.

It works on a wide range of servers and supports enterprise software such as Oracle databases, IBM's WebSphere and DB2, and Arkeia, Mandriva said. Developers have optimized the server to easily connect to widely used directory servers such as Active Directory and LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol).

The inclusion of Xen, OpenVZ and VMware gives users the ability to mix and match different virtualization approaches, each with their own benefits. Mandriva's implementation of Xen, based on an open-source project, supports the hardware-based virtualization built into newer Intel and Advanced Micro Devices chips.

"Mandriva believes that no single (virtualization technology) covers all the needs of our clients," the company said.

Mandriva integrated OpenVZ into its kernel as part of a deal with OpenVZ maker SWsoft, announced in May.

Corporate Server 4.0 uses the 2.6.12 Linux kernel and includes MySQL 5.0, PostgreSQL 8.1, Apache 2.2 and Samba 3.0.22. It also features the newest version of Mandriva Pulse, a provisioning ad configuration management tool that can manage both Linux and Windows systems. It is fully compliant with the Linux Standard Base, meaning it's interoperable with other LSB-compliant operating systems.

Hardware support covers dual-core chips (such as Intel's 5100 series and Xeon 5063), the latest generation of Serial Attached SCSI, booting over SAN on HP machines, blade servers and new Ricoh and Xerox network printers.

Mandriva will give corporate customers support for this server version of Linux for five years, and it is offering annual support deals.

The company said it is also making progress on its next end-user-oriented operating system, Mandriva Linux 2007, which hit a release candidate 2 milestone on Sunday. The final version was planned for Sept. 15, but releases are running a few days behind schedule.

Mandriva has landed significant enterprise accounts in France, and in 2005 acquired Brazilian distributor Conectiva in a bid to expand into Latin America. Among Conectiva's accounts are HSBC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens and the Brazilian Army, Navy and Air Force.

This year, Mandriva announced a deal to distribute HP computers preloaded with its software in 37 Latin American countries. It also acquired Europe's largest Linux support and services company, Edge-IT, in 2004.

Mandriva has continued to struggle financially, however, and ousted co-founder Gael Duval in March of this year following a poor quarter. Besides competition from the likes of Red Hat and Novell's Suse Linux, Mandriva faces increasing competition at the end-user level from distributions such as Ubuntu.