FRAMINGHAM (01/28/2000) - Linux is moving up into mission-critical enterprise applications and down into Internet appliances. Both trends will be on display at LinuxWorld, which opens in New York on Feb. 2.
Systems management tools, considered key enablers for enterprise use of Linux, are starting to appear. For example, this week's deal between Computer Associates International Inc. in Islandia, N.Y., and Red Hat Inc. in Research Triangle Park, N.C., to bundle the operating system with some of CA's systems management tools will be touted at the show.
That's a big deal for Linux and Windows NT user Pascal Wattiaux, senior vice president of technologies at San Francisco-based Quokka Sports Inc., which currently has more than 100 NT servers running its Web site and other key applications. All of those servers are managed through CA's Unicenter TNG. "We need to know, 24 by 7, which machine is in what state," said Wattiaux. Having Unicenter TNG on Linux may allow the company to replace NT servers with Linux, which, according to Quokka's testing, will perform better on the existing servers.
Another big player, Mountain View, Calif.-based Veritas Software Corp., announced the porting of its tools and will be showcasing early versions. And analysts are calling newcomer Mission Critical Linux LLC in Lowell, Mass., a future key player in Linux systems management, with software that allows a Linux server to be monitored remotely - and securely - by a service provider.
The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (SCO), widely seen as the Unix vendor most threatened by Linux, will announce Linux versions of some of its products, expected to include its Tarantella server software, which allows Unix and Windows applications to be run from a thin client.
"If Tarantella came on Linux, I'd be very interested," said Tom Pratt, information systems manager at Seattle-based shipping company Coastal Transportation Inc., which runs its core applications on a Linux server with an Informix database. "I don't need the full power of a PC sitting on everyone's desk," said Pratt.
Bill Claybrook, a research director at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston, said systems management and clustering are two key components in moving Linux into mission-critical applications. Clustering products will abound at LinuxWorld (see story at left).
"I think that the fact of corporations like SCO, [Silicon Graphics Inc.], Veritas and CA making significant announcements [about Linux support] will make a lot of people who have been wondering about Linux start thinking more seriously about it," Claybrook said. "And people who are already using it might move it up a notch to mission-critical applications."
Linux is also making its way into embedded applications. Lindon, Utah-based Lineo Inc. will showcase its embedded-Linux software, called Embedix, which, combined with an additional software layer due early next year, will be able to run applications developed for Windows CE.
Red Hat is expected to announce a set of development tools for embedded systems just before the show. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Transmeta Corp. won't be at LinuxWorld, but at least one vendor is expected to demonstrate prototype systems based on the company's Crusoe processor and its Mobile Linux embedded operating system.