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SuSE Releases Carrier-grade Linux Platform

Linux is reaching new heights in scale as SuSE Linux Tuesday has created a Linux software server geared to power the voice, data and wireless applications offered by telecommunications carriers.

The Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) edition of the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server is tailored for real-time systems to back-end processing on Intel-based hardware. CGL will aim to handle operating and business support systems, gateway, signaling and management servers, as well as advanced voice, data and wireless software.

CGL is supported by industry stalwarts as well, as it relies on technologies defined by the Open Source Development Labs Carrier Grade Linux Working Group, whose members include HP, IBM, Intel and telecom and network equipment providers.

Richard Seibt, Chief Executive Officer at SuSE Linux, predicts success for the new platform edition, which in addition to targeting market share of proprietary systems from Microsoft, is aimed at undercutting server offerings from rival Red Hat.

"This is a breakthrough product that we expect will quickly become the preferred platform of many customers," said Seibt. "Given the current high cost structures and harsh market conditions, customers demand an adaptable solution that offers cost-efficiency, standardization and reusability.

Seibt's argument echoes that of many Linux supporters and industry analysts who believe many companies are looking for lower cost alternatives in a time when the economy is weak. And, while the CGL is geared specifically for telecoms, Seibt claims its is attracting interest from financial and retail markets as well.

Research firms such as IDC see the potential for Linux growth, too.

"Future wide-scale implementations of Linux-based, mission-critical business applications may get less press, but they will continue to happen at all of the largest global financial institutions," said IDC Financial Services analyst Damon Kovelsky. "Critical to this migration will be the ongoing support of the large hardware vendors, especially their ability to provide support tools and services for porting and new development. We believe that within the next 18-24 months, installing a Linux-based software package will become as normal as installing a Windows or Sun Solaris system."

In fact, Linux has become such a hot buzzword among the financial community that IBM has just christened a new Linux center in London to ease the transition of financial services and banking firms to Linux. The Linux Centre for Financial Services in London was created so software engineers can test Linux hardware, software and services.

Specific features of SuSE Linux' CGL include high availability features for error detection and rapid failover; system memory dumping, system probes and tracing; support for IPv6 for delivering next-generation network support, including a wider address space, better auto detection and auto configuration of networks, hosts and services and more efficient routing and broadcasting; and mobile IPv6 RFCs compliance, which allows each mobile node to be identified by its home address regardless of its current point of attachment.

CGL is being offered as a free add-on service pack for existing SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 customers.