MontaVista Software this week is expected to launch an offering for carriers interested in deploying Linux-based servers and appliances. The vendor's MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) 4.0 is based on the latest Linux 2.6 kernel, and was built to the specifications of the Carrier Grade Linux working group - a multi-vendor effort led by the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), which outlines specifications for high-availability and fault tolerance for Linux-based systems running in telecom environments.
MontaVista is in the business of making hardened Linux platforms. Its real-time Linux operating systems run in devices such as cell phones, industrial control computers and telecom equipment.
The operating system provides several features for non-stop service for makers of carrier-class gear. Hardware hot-swapping is supported, so systems do not have to be brought down to upgrade peripherals or replace bad parts. Device failover is also supported across dedicated Ethernet links, allowing mirrored systems to back each other up. The system software can be patched and upgraded on the fly without taking down the server. In the case of a system error or server crash, network-based kernel dump and crash analysis utilities are available that allow administrators to find out what happened over a remote network connection.
In addition to meeting the specifications of the OSDL's Carrier Grade Linux 2.0 project, MontaVista Linux CGE also complies with the Service Availability Forum (SA Forum), which outlines how telecom equipment should behave in carrier environments, including requirements for availability, uptime and mean time to failure.
While targeted at the makers of telecom gear, enterprise users interested in high-availability, real-time Linux systems might want to put Carrier Grade Linux-based products as a check-list when shopping for data center or communications equipment.