October 2007


MacGyver knew his stuff when it came to building a flame thrower out of popsicle sticks, chewing gum, dental floss and a styrofoam cup — plus he always had that cool Swiss Army knife. But I bet even he wouldn’t have been able to use eight PlayStation 3’s, Linux and some technical hacker-know-how to do some scientific supercomputing. But someone’s done it!

This interesting blog article from ZDnet talks about how a researcher from University of Massachusetts built a very low cost “supercomputer” capable of about 200 GFlops all running on PS3’s. While the Linux distro used wasn’t SUSE Linux Enterprise (it was Yellow Dog Linux)… and while there are several other considerations which keep the PS3 from being the scientific computing platform of choice, it’s definitely another fine example of how flexible Linux can be compared to other OS’s.

So, if you’re looking for an excuse to get approval for a purchase order of equipment for your gaming– er, “supercomputing lab”… look no further.

From the article:

The emergence of global standards for measuring the energy efficiency of datacentres moved a step closer yesterday with the launch of a raft of new research papers from green IT industry consortium The Green Grid.

The consortium has released an updated version of its Datacentre Energy Efficiency Metrics whitepaper that incorporates infrastructure efficiency into the original metrics.

It also said that it expects its Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Datacentre efficiency metric for assessing the proportion of power going into a datacentre that is used to power the IT kit to be adopted by the industry and used by all datacentres to report their efficiency.

More here.

Interesting:

Virtual Machine Additions for Linux are designed to improve the usability and interoperability of running qualified Linux operating systems as guests or virtual machines of Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1.

Now with support for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
Microsoft is committed to testing and supporting many third-party operating systems for use as guest operating systems on Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 virtual machines. To help make sure that you have a favorable experience when you run third-party guest operating systems in Virtual Server 2005, Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) has created a product support model for these third-party guest operating systems. This support model is consistent with the support model that is used for Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1. Product support for the Virtual Machine Additions will be provided through the normal support channels available for Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1.

More here.

From the article:

CHICAGO — At the Data Center Decisions conference in Chicago on Monday, Oct. 22, controversial comments from Jon Toigo, CEO and managing principal of Dunedin, Fla.-based Toigo Partners International LLC, had attendees shaking their heads in bewilderment.

For one, Toigo advised attendees against using VMware in favor of mainframe systems, calling the virtualization software “shoddy” in comparison. But nearly all conference attendees were assembled to learn about implementing virtualization in their data center.

Toigo is knowledgeable about disaster recovery (DR) planning, which was the topic of his keynote session, but he warned users against ever feeling completely secure with their disaster recovery plans.

More here.

From the article:

Exchanging business cards is a rudimentary form of networking (the people, not the server kind). However, to get the most out of the exchange, you need a card that attracts attention and reflects the image or values you want to project.

Unfortunately, OpenOffice.org Writer’s tool for producing business cards does such a poor job of realizing both these goals that it is better avoided. However, if you know where to look, Writer also includes other tools that make designing business cards as easy as possible.

More here.

RossB

We had a great event at the Casa Larga Vineyard out in the east of Rochester NY, large crowd, lots of great questions, plenty of good food and comments about how helpful this was in helping people understand our offerings.

Our Linux Day events have been very successful in doing several things:

  • Getting the news about new and updated products out to the public
  • Showing the flag for Novell and in particular our Linux products
  • Getting good conversation and feedback on how people are using the products
  • Bringing in new customers and rekindling customer relationships anew

This was our last event for the Novell fiscal year, we on the team have really enjoyed doing our traveling events around the East region this year, many thanks to all who attended them, we’ll see at next year’s events for the latest and greatest!

RossB

Ok, so my title is a little misleading, there’s not any rivalry between the different areas of Novell and SUSE, other than the usual desire to see your business unit succeed just a little more “betterly” than the other units do. It’s all about friendly competition.

What’s Red vs. Green?

What I’m referring to (with Red vs. Green) is the necessary dividing line between the traditional Novell business units like Workgroup (Netware, Open Enterprise Server, Groupwise etc.) which I think of as “Red”, and the newer and Open Source-centric business unit called Open Platform Solutions (SLES, SLED, SLERT, SLEPOS etc.), which I think of as “Green”. (Get it? SUSE Green, like the Gecko?)

I have come up with the analogy and strategy of Red vs. Green as a way of helping partners, customers and the casual passerby understand that depending on which Novell/SUSE products they have, they will likely benefit most from a particular set of products and growth options.

“I See Red”

My experience has been that if a customer is “Red”, they’re almost always firmly ensconced in and using the Novell services throughout the enterprise, with some confusion as to how and why they might make use of Linux. The first order of business is to determine how much they know about Linux in general, and in particular Novell’s use of SUSE Linux Enterprise in it’s product lines. After hundreds of these discussions, we can get everyone on the same page with a little discussion, some Q&A and a handy whiteboard in short order.

How Does This Work?

For example, in a conversation with faux customer Air America, I find they have a long-standing Netware infrastructure for File and Print, do a little clustering for Groupwise and use iPrint for printing with all account management taking place through an Identity management setup and eDirectory. They have Windows workstations that make full use of the Netware Client and it’s services. I’d already lean toward “Red” strategy with them, but they might be toying with the idea of going “over to Linux”, so I go a little further.

The questions I ask them are very simple and straightforward:

  • Do you have any data on NSS volumes?
  • Do you use any of the advanced features of NSS?
  • Do you have Novell Clustering Services or Business Continuity Clustering set up?
  • Do you have a very large number of printers?
  • Do your people have Novell Client software on their computers for access to the network?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions points to the Open Enterprise Server (with Version 2, OES = Linux base, Novell’s standard services converted to run great on Linux layered on top). Novell has spent a lot of time and effort to make it as effortless as possible to have this type of organization migrate up to OES, there is a very complete and clear path for this customer to begin to use Linux-based Novell services with the least disruption possible and often at a considerable cost-savings.

I will try if possible to help them see where “Green” might fit in, either for hosting Groupwise or other services, such as Mono (Dot Net compatible server), Virtualization (Xen) or any of a host of other possibilities. Usually this type of customer will stay “Red” and for good reason.

“It’s Easy Being Green”

On the other side of this equation, I will find customers who don’t have a lick of “Red” in their environment, and these are usually standard UNIX shops on the server side, usually either a Solaris or AIX flavor, some HP-UX, but they’ll be using mostly Windows on the client side. Usually if they say “No” to my “Got any Novell products or Netware around?”, they will go “Green” easily.

The discussion with this client is much easier, they’re a classic “Green” customer, all the services and tools they are used to using have an analog (equivalent) in the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server/Desktop product line. Once I determine they have no Netware products in the organization, we don’t even talk about “Red vs. Green”, it’s not relevant, they can even run eDirectory and Zenworks Linux Management on SLES, no “Red” needed.

I additionally will probe to see if they have any Terminal Server or Citrix/Ericom deployed for application security and updateability, if they do, it makes the Linux Desktop play much more likely, especially if they make use of TS/Citrix as a desktop solution. How compelling is $50 or less a seat for the presentation OS on the desktop versus $239 or so for the oddly-shaped box o’ Vista?

Got any changes or suggestions to this whole Red vs. Green thing? I’m constantly getting feedback and changing it, let me know and I’ll credit you and update it.

Enjoy,

RossB

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