PolyServe Inc., a provider of shared data clustering software for Linux-based data centers, this week announced Oracle 9i Real Application Clusters (RAC) test results that one industry analyst says represent a milestone for the open source operating system.
Beaverton, Ore.-based PolyServe, which sells software that enables customers to use Intel server farms to run enterprise applications, successfully demonstrated 16 Intel-based clustered Linux servers running three Oracle databases and several database application workloads.
PolyServe says the test results validate its new deployment practice, called Flexible Database Clusters (FDCs). FDCs enable up to 16 low-cost Intel-based servers to be used for a single database cluster running multiple Oracle application workloads.
Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of systems software research at Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp., called the test a milestone in the evolution of Linux. While Linux is used today mostly to run infrastructure services, such as file services and Web servers, the test indicates that Linux will soon be running more critical workloads, he said.
"This is an important step along the way for Linux being able to handle workloads that only Unix or mainframes could handle before," he said.
Aside from PolyServe, Kusnetzky said, some smaller software vendors, including Palo Alto, Calif.-based Qulsters Inc. and Mountain View, Calif.-based Veritas Software, have conducted tests demonstrating that Linux can handle larger workloads.
Using its shared data clustering software, PolyServe used 16 IBM eServer x345 nodes, Oracle 9i RAC Release 2 version 188.8.131.52, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, two IBM Fast-T700 storage servers, and 15 IBM EXP700 storage expansion units with 206 36.4 GB hard drives. The test, sponsored by IBM, was conducted at one of its research centers in North Carolina.
The tests included simulated node failures in the 16-server cluster while it was running three database application workloads: online transaction processing (OLTP), decision support system (DSS), and development. The OLTP database application included 3,600 simulated users across 12 nodes. Simulated failures of the OLTP nodes resulted in no total outage, and no major intervention by administrative or operational staff, according to PolyServe.
Kusnetzky cautioned that Linux has to become more mature before it can meet the scalability, reliability and performance of Unix.
"Right now, it does not scale as large, and its cluster system is nowhere [near] as big as it is in the Unix world, but it's well on its way," he said.
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