Private clouds driving up Linux uptake in Australia: IDC

How to Put the E in Enterprise LinuxAs enterprises move to adopt private clouds in the backend, Linux will increasingly become the operating system of choice for server infrastructures in Australia, according to IDC research director Matthew Oostveen.

In financial year 2012, AU$235.35 million was spent on Linux servers, and in the same year, one in four servers shipped in the Australian market was Linux-based. Approximately 29 percent of all the money spent on server infrastructure in Australia went towards Linux servers.

Based on those figures, IDC believes Linux is now running more enterprise mission and business critical workloads than other OSes such as Windows Server.

As CIOs and IT managers grapple with shrinking IT budgets, many are realising just how inefficiently they have been running their server environment, Oostveen said.

“The cost of infrastructure is cheap — what’s expensive is actually running it, managing it, and administrating it,” Oostveen said. This is mainly due to the advent of virtualisation, according to the analyst, and the cost is driven up because archaic ways of managing old server environments — the one server, one OS, one application approach — is still being used today.

“We are throwing too many people at a problem, and the people costs are getting out of control,” he said.

Many IT managers have cottoned on to this issue, which has lead to huge amounts of server migration, a large portion of which are moving off-premise, according to IDC. This includes moving assets into the cloud, co-location, and managed services.

But what is left behind in on-premise datacentres will go through large transformations, Oostveen said. For Australia, 2013 will be the year of the converged infrastructure, with IDC predicting 66 per cent of servers shipped this year will be some kind of converged system, be it a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) or a VCE Vblock.

The reason behind the uptake is the increasing demand for private cloud and these converged systems ease the adoption process, Oostveen said.

“The dirty little secret of the IT industry is that private clouds are really hard to build,” he said. “CIOs tear their hair out with these types of deployment, and if there is a way to buy infrastructure that enables them to just drop it into their datacentres, they will.

“This allows CIOs and organisations to divert innovation away from infrastructure, where they probably won’t get the same return on investment than if they were to direct innovation towards services and software.”

When these converged systems are used within a datacentre, there is a high probability the OS of choice for the servers will be Linux, according to Oostveen.

“We are going to see a lot of Linux acceleration, and that number is coming up this year,” he said.

While Windows-based servers still dominate the market, that number is shrinking, according to IDC figures, and Linux is the only OS that has experienced growth in recent times.

As the server industry continues to evolve, the favoured x86 architecture, which is great for private cloud and on-premise systems, “skinless” servers running mobile CPUs will become more popular, IDC claims.

“They will be skinny servers, run by skinny OSes,” Oostveen said. “At IDC, we believe Linux is going to be the OS of choice when you start building out these new infrastructures.”

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Red Hat ships Enterprise Linux 6.4, opens up Hadoop plug in for big data

icon-redhatlinuxRed Hat continues to advance its enterprise Linux distribution for the cloud, big data and scale out environments.

On Thursday, the Raleigh, NC Linux company announced the release of Enterprise Linux 6.4, said to be the first OS to support a pNFS (Network File System) client along with significant performance, availability and virtualization gains, especially in adding more support for VMware and Microsoft

Version 6 was first released in November of 2010. This is the fourth minor release since that platform debuted three years ago.

“Red Hat has collaborated with its partners and the upstream community on the parallel Network File System (pNFS) industry standard. This helps to solve the problems associated with NFS sprawl, characterized by the explosive growth of data and the increased burden of managing file system complexity,” Red Hat wrote in a release issued today. “Capabilities have also been added that result in performance gains for I/O intensive workloads like database access. Using the first-to-market, fully supported pNFS client — delivered in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 — customers can begin to plan and design next-generation, scalable file system solutions based on pNFS.

Version 6.4 also offers advanced support for security and identity management. ”

“This release also provides easier interoperability in heterogeneous environments, whether identities are Linux- based or managed by Microsoft Active Directory,” Red Hat announced.

On the virtualization front, Red Hat’s latest enterprise Linux advanced in its support for VMware and Microsoft and “now includes the Microsoft Hyper-V Linux drivers, improving the overall performance of the operating system when running as a guest on Microsoft Hyper-V,” Red Hat also announced via its statement released today. “The latest release also offers installation support for the VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V para-virtualized drivers, improving the deployment experience for users working in these environments.

The upgrade also offers enhanced management, moniutoring and productivity imporvements, including better support for conbtrolling groups, Intel-based monitoring tools and enhanced integration with Microsoft Exchange and Evolution, Red Hat said.

Earlier this week, Red Hat announced its strategy to build up its support for big data and cloud environments by opening up its storage software plug in to the Hadoop community and continuing its support for OpenStack.

Namely, Red Hat will contribute its storage Hadoop plug-in to the Apache Hadoop open source community.

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Hands-on with the Ubuntu Touch Linux smartphone

UbuntuTouch-HPThe early and surprisingly nice version bodes well for Canonical’s Linux smartphone — but you may not want to install it yourself

Developers got their first hands-on peek yesterday of Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch OS for mobile phones, with the release of the first developer beta. So did I.

The good news: Ubuntu Touch is a more compelling mobile environment, even in the first developer version, than I expected. It borrows heavily from other mobile UIs, including BlackBerry 10, the iPad, Android, WebOS, and Windows Phone, yet manages to feel like its own OS. It’s much too soon to rate, but the OS is promising, for reasons I explain shortly.

The bad news for eager users: This is a “don’t try this at home” release, which the formal instructions do not strongly clue you in on. And you can install it on only a handful of Google devices, including the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, Nexus 4 smartphone, and Nexus 7 tablet, and doing so wipes out the Android OS on them. You need to first unlock the bootloader on the Android device (easily done), run the installer from an Ubuntu Linux PC or a VM running that OS, then go to the Terminal and issue the various Linux commands to download and install the system image. That’s not so hard, but you need to make sure the Android device doesn’t fall asleep during the install — the install aborts if it does.

After the install is done, you get an opening screen that shows you how many tweets or other social media updates you got. You’ll be tempted to tap that indicator to open the relevant app, but nothing happens if you do. No amount of swiping on the main screen does anything, either. The trick — and it’s not intuitive — is to swipe from the left edge of the screen to open a scrolling list of app icons. Tap one to jump to it. Now you’re in.

Once you have an app running, you can navigate the device by swiping iPad- or WebOS- or BlackBerry-style horizontally to page through the open apps. A tray of icons appears briefly at the bottom of the screen as well, with icons for the Apps screen, the Home screen, the Music app, the People app (very much like Windows Phone’s same-named app, which lets you see the latest posts from all your contacts), and the Video app. That tray disappears too quickly, and the only way to get it back is to swipe horizontally on the screen as if you were paging to the next app.

A few icons reside at the top of the screen for search, email, sound, Wi-Fi, device (battery status and screen brightness), and date/time. As with Android, you swipe down from them to open a tray with relevant options, such as a list of available Wi-Fi networks to connect to. The icons are small and closely spaced, so it’s easy to open a different tray than expected. The Search feature didn’t seem to be working yet — I couldn’t open it, anyhow. And the network connection came and went.

If you tap the toolbar, rather than drag down from an icon, you get the Devices tray that has a bunch of settings such as Airplane Mode and volume control as well as quick access to the other trays.

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Linux Foundation Welcomes Members From Android, Embedded and Cloud Communities

Six New Members to Contribute to Advancement of Linux

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwire – Feb 19, 2013) – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that BORQS, Denx, Gazzang, Genymobile, Mandriva and Seneca College are joining the organization.

Linux and collaborative development have become pervasive in the mobile and enterprise computing markets. There are more than 1.3 million Linux-based Android devices activated every day, and a global ecosystem of companies is investing more than ever in Linux and embedded Linux to support the growth of Android. Many of The Linux Foundation members focused in this area will attend and participate this week at the Android Builders Summit (http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/android-builders-summit) and Embedded Linux Conference (http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/embedded-linux-conference) in San Francisco.

Linux is also providing both the foundation for the cloud and a blueprint for collaborative development that will enable an open cloud. In a recent survey conducted by IDC, 94 percent of IT users said that collaboration and a vibrant open source ecosystem are important for cloud adoption. Two of today’s new members — Gazzang and Mandriva — are joining The Linux Foundation to maximize their investments and contributions in this area.

Seneca College also joins today as an education affiliate.

More information about today’s newest Linux Foundation members:

BORQS is a leader in Android-based services and software and is one of the early members of Open Handset Alliance (OHA). It works with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to provide a complete platform solution that can be launched across Global Carrier networks, with chipset providers to build a reference platform and with carriers to create custom, Android-based solutions supported by BORQS powered cloud-based back-end platform. BORQS has offices in Beijing, Bangalore, Wuhan and Shenzhen. It will participate in the Code Aurora Forum, among other activities at The Linux Foundation.

“The Linux Foundation hosts important collaboration in the Android and embedded development space, and we’re interested in being a part of that work,” said Hareesh Ramanna, VP Engineering, BORQS. “We’re looking forward to working with other Code Aurora Forum members and increasing innovation in the area of Android development.”

Denx is a software engineering firm specializing in the area of embedded and real-time systems built with Linux and open source software. The company offers a powerful Embedded Linux Development Kit including seamless integration of the Xenomai real-time framework capable of emulating proprietary RTOS. Its co-founder, Wolfgang Denk, is a long-time contributor to the Linux and open source communities and one of the creators of U-Boot.

“Linux is driving innovation in the industrial and embedded development space, and efforts like Yocto Project are helping to share the tedious common tasks and free resources for the exciting and differentiating parts in a product,” said Detlev Zundel, Managing Director, Denx. “We know that by joining The Linux Foundation, we’re maximizing our investments in Linux and open source development for our business and that can benefit the community and our customers.”

Gazzang provides Linux data security solutions and operational diagnostics that help enterprises protect sensitive information and maintain performance in big data and cloud environments. The company’s solutions secure big data on any application or database that runs on Linux and provides high-performance monitoring, alerting and analysis of cloud environments.

“Linux supports the biggest enterprise environments with the most advanced technical requirements. Our focus is on helping these enterprises achieve regulatory compliance and protect sensitive customer information by encrypting and securing their sensitive data. A secure Linux environment is vital to enterprise adoption of big data and the cloud,” said Dustin Kirkland, chief technology officer at Gazzang.

Genymobile is the world-leading company behind professional solutions such as custom Android distributions and Android virtualization and provisioning tools. Founded in 2011 and headquartered in France, it also develops and maintains applications for Android-based systems.

“The Linux Foundation offers a variety of collaboration opportunities that will help us advance our work on Android,” said Cedric Ravalec, CEO, Genymobile. “We are looking forward to attending Android Builders Summit as silver partner and contributing to workgroups such as Code Aurora Forum.”

Mandriva is a Linux distribution originally launched in 1998. Today it offers a variety of products ranging from Mandriva Business Server to Pulse2 and CloudPulse. With a renewed focus on the enterprise user, Mandriva is poised to address new requirements for cloud and big data.

“The Linux Foundation works with the world’s largest enterprise Linux users to understand their technical requirements, and we’re looking forward to participating in those discussions and contributing to the community,” said Charles-H. Schulz, open source relations manager & marketing director, Mandriva S.A.

Seneca College is joining as The Linux Foundation’s fourth educational affiliate and first Canadian postsecondary institution. Based in Toronto, Canada, Seneca College is a world leader in open source software education and applied research.

“Linux is at the heart of several applied research projects in our Centre for Development of Open Technology, including our work on Linux on ARM computers,” said Chris Tyler, Industrial Research Chair, Open Source Technology for Emerging Platforms at Seneca College. “Our affiliation with The Linux Foundation reinforces our commitment to the advancement of this technology and to keeping our students at the forefront of software development.”

“We are inspired by these new commitments to Linux and The Linux Foundation,” said Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer services at The Linux Foundation. “It is the ongoing support of our members that helps to advance, promote and protect Linux and support collaborative development.”

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