Red Hat to use Oracle's cluster software

Red Hat is making sure Linux grows up.

The Linux vendor Monday announced it will include Oracle's Cluster File System (OCFS) in future releases of Red Hat Advanced Server. Adding this technology, which can make numerous servers run as one, could give Red Hat a boost in data centers and attract new types of customers, said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering at Red Hat. In addition, the technology may pave the way for some new high-end features in Red Hat's OS.

"This is a proof point of Linux and Red Hat's ability to drive Linux into the enterprise," Cormier said.

Linux backers are working to strengthen the OS and bring it closer to competing with the proprietary versions of Unix that currently dominate the data center. Adding a clustered file system into Red Hat Linux is another step toward this larger goal.

By early 2003 when OCFS is integrated into Red Hat Advanced Server, users will be able to run a database across a number of servers but have the software appear as if it is running on a single system. This allows users to buy relatively low-cost servers, link then together and have the "virtual computer" act like a more expensive SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) system, Cormier said.

However, at this time there are still limitations as to how Linux and OCFS scale across a number of servers.

"Initially, we will probably be running (the software) on around four to eight servers," Cormier said. "But that is just the beginning for us. We can push well beyond that in a short period of time."

Companies such as PolyServe Inc. have been building clustered file systems for Linux for some time, but Cormier claimed that open source technology such as OCFS will enjoy more success among the Linux community.

Red Hat is also developing its own "generic" clustered file system that could appear next year. This will be part of a larger campaign at the company to create more management software for large-scale networks.

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