Red Hat will today unveil its first product in the Linux Automation strategy for enterprise, with standards-based transaction messaging, a real-time kernel, and a grid computing capability.
The Raleigh, North Carolina-based Linux distribution company last month announced Linux Automation. Scott Crenshaw, VP of the Enterprise Linux line of business, said it is a framework designed to enable an app developer writing to Red Hat Enterprise Linux to certify their product and run it across any server and use case, be it virtual, on an appliance or in a cloud.
It will today announce MRG (pronounced merge), the first product to underpin Linux Automation. Standing for Messaging, Real-Time, and Grid, MRG will be a separately licensed product. It is available now for beta testing, and with general availability set for the first half of next year, when pricing will also be announced.
Crenshaw said the messaging capability is the first commercial implementation of the AMQP standard for transaction messaging between applications. Red Hat is claiming up to a 100-fold speed improvement over proprietary messaging offerings from the likes of IBM and Tibco, and as a standard, AMQP also promises interoperability between different vendors’ brokers and apps.
AMQP is the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol, the result of an initiative by JPMorgan and its suppliers (not IBM or Tibco) that was announced when they formed a Working Group to drive the standard in June last year. Designed to enable interoperability, however, it is unusual that Red Hat should also boast such a significant performance benefits vis-a -vis the proprietary competition.
Crenshaw clarified that Red Hat continues to support the proprietary messaging capability in its own JBoss app server. He said the AMQP-based alternative within MRG is a heterogeneous complement rather than a competitor.
On the real-time question, Crenshaw said Red Hat’s approach has been to integrate such capabilities upstream, in the actual kernel. This means there’s no difference in things like support, because it’s not a specialized offering, he said. There’s no app porting to a different fork of the kernel. Real-time has been of interest only for embedded apps, but now customers are seeking predictability from the infrastructure, for instance for the times of trades in the financial sector. He said the decision to add the capability at the kernel level means the technology is deployable anywhere and there are no issues of app compatibility.
He contrasted this with the situation at Novell, which last week said it was swapping out the guts of SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time, moving from the Concurrent Computer RTOS to technology developed by various members of the Linux and RTOS communities, including Red Hat, called CONFIG_PREEMPT_RT. This leaves companies running its previous real-time compilers orphaned, he said.
On the grid aspect of the new product, Red Hat is using technology developed by the University of Wisconsin as part of its Condor project. These capabilities provide customers with a practical means of using their total compute capacity with maximum efficiency and flexibility, while improving the speed and availability of any application, said Red Hat in the announcement of MRG.
Where grid computing has been all about high-performance computing in academia and sectors such as oil and gas, Red Hat has come up with the marketing term of high-throughput computing, or HTC, to describe the more mainstream market it seeks to address with the grid part of the MRG product. It said it will enable any app to go on any infrastructure, with full orchestration for capacity on the fly, including spinning instances on AOL’s EC2 capacity-in the-cloud offering or other external grids.
Not that Red Hat is advocating third-party infrastructure for grids, said Crenshaw. We just provide the tooling for whichever economic model you choose, with the service levels you specify, he said.
Red Hat has stated publicly that it wants 50% market share in the server OS market by 2015, an aggressive target that it will have its work cut out to achieve. Still, the MRG offering, provided it is priced right, should help toward this ambitious goal.