Red Hat users to get better storage capability

Red Hat is adding some enterprise storage capabilities to its Linux. With Novell buying SuSE AG, enterprise Linux looks set to become a stronger offering.

Sistina Software supplies logical volume management and file storage clustering software for Linux servers. It has agreed to be acquired by Red Hat in a move that will strengthen the storage capabilities in Linux.

SAP AG invested in Sistina in November. SuSE agreed to use Sistina products in its Linux distribution in September. Because of these kind of events Sistina has been described as being in the vanguard of the Linux storage movement.

Sistina's logical volume manager (LVM) adds the grouping of physical disks into virtual disk volumes to Linux. It is a similar capability to the one that, for example, Veritas supplies to Unix servers. John S. Webster wrote in a Data Mobility Group research brief, "Adoption of its LVM by the Gods of the Linux movement puts Sistina on track to be the Veritas of the Linux world."

Sistina contributed the original logical volume manager to the Linux kernel. Version 1 of LVM included software RAID, disk mirroring and volume-level snapshot copy. Version 2 adds cluster-ready features and these are in the recently released Linux 2.6 kernel.

Sistina also supplies GFS, a global file system, enabling clusters of Linux servers to share a single file system. There is a specific version of this for the Oracle 9i RAC database. (RAC stands for real application clusters.)

All Sistina technologies will be made open source and available as part of a subscription in the first half of 2004.

Paul Cormier, executive VP of engineering at Red Hat, said the acquisition, "will greatly accelerate the availability and advancement of open source storage solutions for the enterprise."

Linux is one of the two standard NAS operating systems, the other is a storage version of Windows. Linux clusters are being promoted by the Linux vendors. As a next step we might expect Linux to become more SAN-aware.

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