Guest blog by CBR Deputy Editor Matthew Aslett
Linux distributor Red Hat has outlined its development focus for the next two years,
including the addition of the Xen virtual machine monitor and stateless Linux
functionality to its Enterprise Linux operating system, and has called for a new focus on
management to help enable them.
The announcement of the company’s development intentions for 2006 and 2007 is somewhat
odd given that users are able to get an idea of forthcoming Enterprise Linux developments
from its community-led Fedora project, but Red Hat’s VP of global marketing, Tim Yeaton,
said the company wanted to formally announce its direction to the industry to encourage
more high-level understanding.
While the news that Xen and stateless Linux functionality will be released in Red Hat
Enterprise Linux 5 in the second half of 2006 will grab the headlines, this is not really
major news. Red Hat has been talking about both technologies for some time (see previous
href=”https://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=5F760468-7288-48C3-AB6B-592B99A41CBA”>stateless Linux href=”https://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=8802A300-3BBF-416D-869B-A71E5A4750E8″>Xen
The interesting thing is the call from Brian Stevens, Red Hat’s recently appointed
chief technology officer and vice president of engineering, for the open source community
to take a fresh look at systems management.
"We think it’s time that the open source community looked at a ubiquitous
management platform," he said. "We want to create a new effort around SLA
management for Linux infrastructure that ends up getting enough involvement from the
community of users."
Stevens said Red Hat is looking at developing a new management platform for Linux
focused on automated management to meet service level agreements. This again is not
something all that new – the likes of HP and BMC have been focused on service level-based
systems management for some time.
What is new is the approach Red Hat wants to take to solve the problem. By announcing
now its intention to define a new management platform over the next two years, the company
is hoping to involve both its user base and the wider open source community in its
"We’re going to try to get an understanding of the vision, validate with clients,
and then create something external as a community," said Stevens. "We’re looking
at getting participation before we’ve even finished thinking about how we solve the
Details are naturally scarce at this stage, but Red Hat feels that the new approach is
needed to cope with the explosion in logical Linux images that is likely to be prompted by
increased use of virtualization technologies, as well as the increased focused on
centralized management required for stateless Linux.
A long-term Red Hat project, stateless Linux is designed to enable network-based
diskless deployment of the Linux operating system, enabling Linux-based thin client
architectures, as well as centralized management of cloned servers.
Evenwithout the SLA-focused management platform, Red Hat is expecting rapid take-up for
the stateless Linux functionality. Stevens revealed that Barclays Bank is being
particularly aggressive in its stateless Linux deployment plans. "Now that we’ve
started the project we’re seeing people trying to get it into production," he said.