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LinuxWorld: Real-world projects show Linux at work

LinuxWorld Conference & Expo attendees saw plenty of real-life examples of Linux at work in the enterprise.

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the recent past, IT pros came to LinuxWorld Conference and Expo to hear if Linux worked in the enterprise. At this week's show, they're hearing about enterprise Linux at work. From keynotes to the exhibit floor, true tales of enterprise Linux implementations abound.

Enterprise users detail Linux projects
Finding actual enterprise Linux users among LinuxWorld Conference and Expo attendees used to be a needle-in-the-haystack search. This year the haystack was filled with needles.

An hour's walk around the exhibit hall yielded a dozen business users of Linux. Among the enterprise Linux users interviewed during the show by were Mark Rosenberg, Computing Infrastructure Technology Group leader for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Anthony Hill, CTO of Golden Gate University; and Alexandra Andrews, webmaster for Berkeley, Calif.-based non-profit organizations CancerLynx and its parent organization Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency.

BOSS and CancerLynx are in the process of migrating applications to Linux. "We're moving everything to Linux because it's stable, secure, and I never see the blue screen of death," said Andrews.

BOSS and CancerLynx, one of the world's largest and most-used cancer information resources, have been using SuSE Linux as a Web platform. (The CancerLynx sites serve 300,000 users each month.) Next on Andrews' Linux migration agenda is the database. She's evaluating IBM DB2. She came to LinuxWorld, however, to check out open source databases.

Currently, "I've found SuSE Linux to be unbreakable," said Andrews.

LBNL has more than 500 Linux systems and uses them for computational and administration applications. Recently, LBNL has moved production services like distributed printing into Linux.

The abundance of enterprise Linux projects announced at LinuxWorld is good news, Rosenberg said. "Having acceptance in the industry is an important thing," he noted. At LBNL, however, most of our move to Linux was driven by the physics community. "As the researchers decide which platform they're going to use, it's typical for them all to move in that direction," he said. "That was more of a driver for us than what other businesses are doing."

With the goal of becoming an e-business, Golden Gate University is undergoing an enterprise IT transformation, said Hill. Eventually, Hill plans to put all of GGU's applications on Linux. That's a big challenge because GGU runs almost every client-server operating system imaginable.

"Two years ago for every core application we had, we ran a different operating system, database and hardware platform," Hill said. Step-by-step, he plans to transform the technology architecture in order to operate as an e-business running on the Linux platform and Oracle 11i database.

Prior to LinuxWorld, LinuxCare CEO Avery Lyford said: "2003 is the year of Linux deployments." LinuxWorld keynote speaker Peter Blackmore agreed, noting that Linux has proven itself under fire in production environments around the world. Blackmore -- executive vice president, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Enterprise Systems Group -- called Linux a mainstream enterprise platform that is "delivering fantastic performance to its users."

Here's a sampling of the projects announced this week:

  • "Shrek," the popular Dreamworks animated feature, was largely created on HP Linux workstations and servers. Dreamworks' animation staff is using Linux on 1,000 HP workstations and 2,000 render servers today.
  • The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will bring 1,450 Dell PowerEdge servers running Red Hat Linux into its data center. Platform Computing software will provide central management of the computing resources for the clustered Dell servers, and Dell OpenManage software will handle maintenance and utilization management functions.
  • Unilever, a global consumer products company is running mySAP applications on HP-Linux ProLiant servers worldwide.
  • IBM announced that Netflix, Inc., the No. 1 online movie rental service in the U.S., has migrated from Sun to Sun to IBM hardware and software running Red Hat Linux. Netfix, which serves more than one million customers each month, is reducing costs and increasing Web performance using Linux on several dozen IBM eServer xSeries servers.
  • America West Airlines has implemented Computer Associates' CleverPath Portal on Linux. to design COMPASS, its strategic business-to-employee information portal. AWA employees will use COMPASS to navigate through the company's information resources. Via the Internet, COMPASS makes decision-support information and functionality available to employees on and off the job.
  • Bank of America will use HP ProLiant servers to support the deployment of Reuters Market Data Systems (RDMS) on Linux in its new London trading room in London.
  • Computer Associates announced that SUPERVALU, the 11th largest food retailer and the nation's leading food distributor, has implemented CA's eTrust Access Control on Linux.
  • Softbank Uway, a Seoul, Korea-based online university and employment application service is replacing 45 database and web servers from HP and Sun with IBM's eServer z990 running SuSE Linux. Softbank Uway switched to the IBM eServer z990 from its current HP and Sun servers to get more stable environment and reduce costs by consolidating database and web server systems to one server, IBM said.
  • AutoTradeCenter (ATC), a large Internet-based automotive remarketing firm, chose HP ProLiant servers running Linux to bring stability to its e-commerce infrastructure.
  • Financial services firm, NYFIX Inc., will be migrating from Sun and HP Unix servers to IBM eServer BladeCenter running on Red Hat Linux to better support its online electronic-trading systems network, IBM announced.
  • In a postscript to IBM's NYFIX announcement, Computer Associates added that the trading company has implemented CA Unicenter ServicePlus Service Desk and Unicenter Software Delivery on Linux.
  • Sandia Labs is using an HP-Linux ProLiant clustering solution to gain greater computational capacity at sites in New Mexico and California.
  • Marinalife has been using a hosted, a KeyLink Systems reservation application suite running on IBM Linux solution to handle reservation, marina and user records. The application is supported by IBM DB2 Universal Database and IBM eServer xSeries servers running Linux.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: coverage of LinuxWorld Ask the Experts

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