Linux moves into the storage mainstream

During the last few years we have watched Linux move steadily, if slowly, into the enterprise. The open source operating system, a long-time favorite among hobbyists and engineers, has been making forays into the corporate world. It has perhaps been most popular with xSPs, but is now appearing with increased frequency on machines found at the "edge" of traditional corporate infrastructures. Even Sun has announced its willingness to support Linux in addition to its own Solaris. And vents of the last few months indicate that Linux is also moving into mainstream commercial storage too.

In a sense, the operating system was declared "ready for prime time" hen IBM announced in the spring of 2001 that Linux would appear on a umber of its mainframes. Almost everyone seems to have been surprised, except for the legions of users who were already relying on Linux.

So far, the role of Linux in enterprise storage has been somewhat imited but recent events indicate that the operating system should now e viewed as a viable alternative to support the most demanding, data-intensive applications. It is clear that Linux is capable of keeping data continuously available and safe, and that the operating system is quickly turning into a strategic enterprise platform for storage.

If you are still skeptical, look at what some of the larger vendors are doing:

* Computer Associates (http://www.computerassociates.com/). The company's BrightStor ARCserve provides Linux backup and recovery software.

* EMC (http://www.emc.com/). EMC supports Linux through its Symmetrix storage systems and its Control Center suite.

* IBM (http://www.ibm.com/). The Linux version of IBM's Global Array Manager provides:

- software for installing, configuring, monitoring and managing direct-attach disk arrays.

- Big Blue also supports Linux drivers for its tape drives and libraries. Its Tivoli Storage Manager and SANergy products are enabled for Linux on Intel-based platforms.

* Veritas (http://www.veritas.com/). This company has announced extensive support for Linux through its Foundation Suite for Linux, which extends Veritas's volume management, file system and flashsnap components.

On April 9, Veritas announced that NetBackup and backup Exec, Global Cluster Manager, SANPoint Control have joined the Linux lineup, with most of the rest of Veritas's software due out on Linux by year-end. This gives Linux near-parity with the rest of the operating environments in Veritas's product line.

Add to this a constellation of products from smaller vendors and we should all start to get the picture: for Linux storage, it appears the stars are now all in alignment.

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