Red Hat, the largest US Linux distributor, is about to deliver a line of enterprise products that it claims will offer improved management capabilities along with better performance and scalability.
Advanced Server, due to ship next month, will include a Linux kernel compiled for midrange use that will offer failover, load balancing and clustering features.
The product is based on Red Hat Linux 7.2 and supports the 2.4.9 Linux kernel, but differs from other Linux distributions in its support for asynchronous I/O, SCSI layer optimisation and a new process scheduler.
Advanced Server will initially support the 32-bit Intel architecture and scale up to an eight-way IA-32-bit system.
Red Hat also intends to support Intel's 64-bit architecture as well as that of others, according to a company spokesman.
More than 20 software developers, including Computer Associates, Tivoli Systems, IBM, Novell and SAP, are expected to announce their support, as are hardware manufacturers such as Dell and Compaq.
Giga Information Group analyst Stacey Quandt explained that the segmentation of the Linux market becomes more diverse with the introduction of Advanced Server.
"Unlike prior Red Hat Linux releases which, for the most part, can run on a desktop or server, Advanced Server targets midrange server workloads," she said.
Quandt added that Red Hat's close Independent Software Vendor partnerships, and certification for Oracle, Veritas, Legato, Computer Associates, IBM, Novell, SAP and others, increases the distinction and differences between mainstream and midrange Linux.
"This is significant on two levels: Advanced Server narrows the gap between Unix and Linux midrange workloads, and widens the disparity between Linux providers," she said.
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