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Red Hat Scales Linux Into Windows Territory

One of the Windows server platform's key differentiators over Linux is disappearing as the open-source platform reaches eight-processor scalability.

Red Hat announced on Tuesday that its Red Hat Linux Advanced Server, which supports up to eight Intel processors, will begin shipping in April. Other enhancements of the upgraded operating system, which starts at $800, include asynchronous I/O, an improved process scheduler and a Java-based Web console for cluster node management.

Red Hat also sells services and support around the new operating system.

Partners at the New York City launch included Intel, Oracle and Veritas. Dell announced Tuesday that it will sell systems running Red Hat Advanced Server.

Industry analysts maintain that most Linux-based server market share growth comes at the expense of Unix systems, not Windows servers. Red Hat focused on cost savings over RISC/Unix systems in its public statements.

"The global enterprise IT market is looking for choice and hard-dollar savings. The low-cost/high value proposition of Red Hat Linux Advanced Server on Intel architecture delivers IT buyers the choice to receive performance without the lock-in and inflated costs of proprietary operating systems," Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering at Red Hat, said in a statement.

Previously, Linux scalability hit the ceiling at four-way systems. Windows has scaled to eight-processor systems since Windows NT 4.0.

Microsoft's commodity server operating systems will retain an eight-processor limit at least through the next version of Windows. Redmond's high-end operating system, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, currently scales to 32 processors, but the vast majority of demand for Windows servers is for systems with eight processors or fewer.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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