Motorola Claims ‘Five Nines' for Linux Servers

FRAMINGHAM (03/10/2000) - Motorola Inc. this week said it could obtain 99.999% uptime for Linux-based servers. But according to analysts, this doesn't mean Linux is ready to tread in Unix's footsteps as a server for mission-critical applications.

Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola said its new CPX8000 servers, aimed at the telecommunications industry, will be able to obtain "five nines" availability (five minutes of downtime per year) when running its own tailored version of Linux, called High Availability Linux, or HA Linux, and specially adapted applications. However, the company said it won't actually guarantee customers such uptime.

The servers have hot-standby backup CPUs, and Motorola has ported some of its high availability software from AIX, IBM's version of Unix, to Linux. The company has also modified the Linux kernel to support hot-swap Peripheral Component Interconnect and intends to offer these modifications to the open-source community.

Motorola said it will continue to offer AIX on other servers and "will let the market decide" between the two operating systems.

"It's fairly brave to claim five nines for Linux," said Tony Iams, a senior analyst at D.H. Brown Associates Inc. in Port Chester, N.Y. But Iams also said five-nines claims have often been poorly backed up and are sometimes little more than marketing ploys.

Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 product manager, Chris Ray, said Motorola's numbers refer to "small, special-purpose servers based on proprietary hardware" and thus can't be compared with Windows 2000 uptime numbers.

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