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Carrier Grade Linux Bulking Up

Few industries have the same demands for high availability and scalable services as telecommunications providers, which helps define the term "carrier grade" in the industry.

Now, the Open Source Development Labs' (OSDL) Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) working group which counts 22 member companies, is flagging its effort to bring Linux into that elite designation.

Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) is an effort led by the OSDL to help create a Linux standard that meets the needs of network carriers. The CGL working group is intended to help foster specifications and development requirements that facilitate the adoption of Linux in carrier infrastructure.

Carrier Grade Linux, and all that it entails, is also slated to be the topic of a panel discussion by industry leaders at the upcoming Supercomm show in Chicago on Thursday.

Panel moderator Stacey Quandt of Quandt Analytics said she believes that CGL is relevant beyond the telecommunications industry.

"Reduced latency and five 9's availability for mission critical workloads and customer facing applications is pertinent to financial services and other vertical market segments," Quandt told internetnews.com. "CGL is a technology that is blurring the lines between enterprise infrastructure and networking systems. CGL is a new technology with the potential to be a new design center, not only for the telco sector but for other markets as well."

The Supercomm CGL panel will include speakers from IBM, Nokia, Sprint, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent, and Monta Vista.

OSDL said since 2001, the Carrier Grade Linux working group has been working closely with network operators, telecommunications equipment manufacturers and network equipment manufacturers to define requirements that would help Linux become the preferred operating system for network equipment in the communications industry.

Last October, the group unveiled the CGL OSDL Carrier Grade Linux Requirements Definition version 2.0 (CGL 2.0) which is a reference blueprint with the aim of helping to standardize the telecommunications industry's needs when it comes to Linux.

"CGL is a reality and there are systems shipping which leverage the OSDL CGL workgroup specification. IBM's Carrier Grade Open Framework, NEC's 3G Wireless platform, and telecommunications manufacturers such as Lucent, Alcatel, Cisco, Ericsson, NEC, Nokia all support CGL," Quandt added.

Japan's NTT announced its support for CGL in February when it join the OSDL's working group. In the embedded space, rivals Wind River and Monta Vista are also both involved in the CGL working group activities.

The OSDL isn't the only group pushing CGL. The International Telecommunications Union created the Open Communications Architecture Forum (OCAF) Focus Group in May.

Its working group, Carrier Grade Open Environment (CGOE), makes use of the OSDL's CGL specification, Quandt added. "CGL is open source software. The implication is that telecommunications equipment manufacturers, carriers, systems vendors and developers can create extensions and pick and choose the CGL capabilities they want to support," Quandt explained. "In this respect the CGL ecosystem is broader than the current 22 members of the OSDL CGL workgroup."