Linux servers battle for enterprise recognition
Mandrake, Red Hat, SuSE, and Turbolinux demonstrate Linux advancements
SuSE offers a number of extensions to its Enterprise Server platform, including a collaboration suite, OpenExchange, Lotus Domino server, and a telecom-oriented release. SuSE also provides the widest base of support for systems other than the Intel x86, including Itanium; Opteron; IBM iSeries, pSeries, and zSeries; and IBM S/390. It also supports as many as 32 processors with support for the Unisys 7000 system.
SuSE and Turbolinux both include journaling file systems, POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface for Unix) support, IP load balancing via LVS (Linux Virtual Server), support for Intel Hyper-Threading, MXT (Memory eXpansion Technology) and PCI hot-plug IBM and Compaq controllers. They also have support for asynchronous I/O so that applications don’t need to pause after issuing read I/Os, SMP scheduler enhancements, enhanced support for more than 1GB of memory, and enhancements to improve database performance.
SuSE Linux Enterprise Server is priced at $749 and uses the United Linux code base. Support includes one year of maintenance and updates, around-the-clock
e-mail and phone support with a two-hour turnaround time for premium support, or around-the-clock e-mail and phone support with a four-hour turnaround time for standard support.
TurbolinuxEnterprise Server 8
Turbolinux is a member of the Asia-based United Linux consortium, with offices in Japan, Korea, and China. It offers some specialized language support for those areas. In most other ways, it is very similar to the SuSE Enterprise Server, with the same YaST2 installer, support for the same platforms and most of the same utilities and application versions. One minor ding: The YaST2 installer was not available through the menus after the install; I had to start it from a console window.
The Turbolinux Mongoose installer includes software RAID support via LVM (Linux Virtual Machine) or evms (enterprise volume management system), support of installing on a machine with more than 4GB of memory and a hyper-threading CPU, and TFDisk — a graphical partitioning tool. Turbolinux also includes Webmin, a browser-based remote administration tool.
Like SuSE’s offering, Turbolinux Enterprise Server 8.0 is priced at $749, uses the United Linux code base, and has the same kernel and base OS. SCO Linux, also a United Linux member, is not included because the company recently discontinued its distribution and support for Linux in the wake of its suit against IBM.
Sixty-day, five-incident OS installation support, and a year of updates are included.
All four products offer a stable release, a good set of features and server applications, and extended functionality. Although Mandrake scored highest in our test, any of the products reviewed will offer everything that administrators are looking for. Your decision will likely be based on familiarity or support available in your area.