Robin: This is Jason Perlow, who has written for Linux Magazine and now ZDNet and has worked for IBM and for Unisys, all pretty much on Linux, and before that he was a big UNIX guy. So, tell me what does Linux need to do now to become even more accepted in the enterprise?
Jason: So, Linux has really evolved over the last 10 to 15 years. It’s gone from like a science project of one particular guy living in Finland to one of the most scalable enterprise offering systems in the world. It’s gone from a hobbyist operating system with no commercial support to an operating system that’s been embraced by the largest enterprise systems vendors in the word including IBM, HP, Oracle, Dell, you name it.
So, in terms of being able to handle workloads, we now have an operating system that could handle large of amount of codes and processors on a monolithic system, on clusters, huge memory configurations, enterprise storage, all those things are part of the operating system today. Where Linux lags behind some of the more other commercial enterprise products includes commercial [UNIX systems] as well as Windows-based enterprise environments, and the mainframe is really in management.
The reason why management has become so important this year and it will be over the coming years, is that more and more enterprises are going to be divorcing themselves from owning their own infrastructure and that’s just because you have a crappy economy, people don’t want to have computer assets anymore, they want to buy it as a service, essentially infrastructure-as-a-service from hosting and cloud providers. Or, if they want to have their own infrastructure, they need to be able to provision it very quickly.
So, you don’t want to have a situation where you bring a virtual server up or any kind of server up, and it take hours or days or weeks to get it configured and ready for production. You want to be able to spin it up within minutes. And not just one server, you want to be able to spin up a whole group of servers that are part of an application architecture pretty quickly. So, typically in a 3-tier architecture, you might have a web server, you might have a middleware server and a database server, that’s one simple configuration.
Well, each of those servers may have pieces and components on them that are fairly complex. You want to be able to template an application architecture like that and spin it out within minutes just by clicking a button. So, that’s something that Linux needs to have in order to become successful if you are going to have something which is called multi-tenant cloud tenancy. You want to be able to have these cloud providers which can sell Linux as an infrastructure to customers, essentially like you would buy electricity or water from your local utility company.
Robin: Yeah, are you sure? IBM, HP, these guys have been trying to do that for years. I’ve gotten press release after press release and I’ve always asked, well where are the customers and they never were able to sell the service. So are people buying it now?
Jason: People are definitely buying it now and you’re seeing it happen at Amazon, you’re seeing it happen at Rackspace, you’re seeing it happen at also companies – Amazon, and also Microsoft with their Azure service as well. So that’s just a couple of them. There are 4,000 service providers in the United States which are offering Linux virtualized to customers. Now all of them have different abilities to provision in terms of the speed at which they can provision a system and what they cost and what the complexity of their offerings are, but these are real companies that are selling to your customers.