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News Bytes

By Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff

News Bytes


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News in General

lightning boltXen 3.3 Hypervisor Released

The Xen.org community has released the Xen 3.3 engine which includes enhancements in performance, scalablity, and security.

The new engine handles workloads with high degrees of multiplexing and supports optimal power usage per server. In addition, Xen utilizes both hardware and software techniques to enable it to virtualize both current and legacy operating systems.

Xen 3.3 also supports the new Xen Client Initiative (XCI), a Xen.org community effort to accelerate and coordinate the development of fast, free, compatible embedded Xen hypervisors for laptops, PCs and PDAs. The XCI is targeting three use cases: using Xen to run 'embedded IT' VMs that allow remote support, security, and service of PCs through embedded IT applications without any impact on the user's primary desktop OS; 'instant on' applications that can be immediately available as separate VMs from the user's primary desktop OS; and 'application compatibility' VMs, which allow legacy PC applications to run as VMs, alongside the user's primary desktop OS.

Intel has contributed hardware and software virtualization capabilities to ensure that Xen-based solutions take full advantage of next-generation microprocessor technologies. "Xen 3.3 is optimized for Intel's next generation micro-architecture Nehalem features: enhanced power management, performance, I/O and networking features for building flexible resource management solutions in an energy-efficient data center," said Imad Sousou, Director of Intel Open Source Technology Center.

The release is now available for download from the Xen.org community site and is the product of a distributed development effort by senior engineers from more than 50 leading hardware, software, and security vendors. For more information, please visit www.xen.org.

The first Xen Summit of 2009 will occur February 24 - 25 and will be hosted by Oracle in Redwood Shores, CA.

lightning boltVMware vClient Desktops to Follow Users

At VMworld 2008 in September, VMware announced its vClient Initiative. vClient is aimed at delivering universal clients - desktops that follow users to any end point while providing an experience that is secure, cost effective, and easy for IT to manage.

This is more significant because vClient is based on ESX, VMware's bare-metal hypervisor. The underlying technology is a step forward for desktop virtualization. With ESX, there is no other host environment like a Linux OS. This also allows an enterprise to project a single, virtualized desktop image that could run on all user computers, regardless of installed OS. IT administrators will be able to manage, update, and secure all of these desktops centrally.

The first step of the initiative is the roll out of VMware View, a set of products that extend VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to include both server-hosted virtual desktops and client virtual desktops that can run on any laptop or desktop computer. VMware View is actually a portfolio of products that give end users a single view of all their applications and data in a familiar, personalized environment - "myview" - that is available from any device and location.

The vClient Initiative also includes several new desktop virtualization technologies previewed at VMworld which VMware will introduce in 2009. These new technologies include client virtualization, image management (available as VMware View Composer) and an offline desktop. Together, these technologies make desktops, applications and user profiles secure and fully mobile. Partners including Fujitsu Siemens, HP and NEC have embraced and endorsed VMware's universal client and the benefits in extending virtualization from the datacenter to the desktop.

VMware View products encapsulate operating systems, applications, and user data into isolated layers, giving organizations the ability to update and deploy each element independently. Additional technologies that will help simplify desktop management include:

- VMware View Composer, an advanced desktop image management tool that simplifies updating and patching desktop users while retaining individual user data and settings.
- Offline Desktop, which enables users to access their server-hosted desktops offline.

VMworld, now in its fifth year, with more than 14,000 attendees, focuses on products and best practices for virtualizing the enterprise. For more information, visit: http://www.vmware.com/go/vclient

lightning boltLinux Foundation Legal Summit in October

The next Linux Foundation Legal Summit will take place October 14 - 15, 2008 at IBM's Hawthorne, New York facility. This event follows the Legal Summit in April of this year that took place at Motorola Customer Briefing Center in Schaumburg, Ill.

The first LF Legal Summit was held October 25 - 26, 2007 in Boston and focused on effective ways to collaborate in the development of compliance, education programs, and evolving intellectual property rights policies optimized to support open development models.

For more details on this fall's Legal Summit, please visit: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/events/legal

lightning boltIBM Breaks Performance Records with SSDisk

Engineers and researchers at the IBM's Hursley development lab in England and the Almaden Research Center in California have demonstrated groundbreaking performance results that outperform the world's fastest disk storage solution by over 250%.

The results were achieved using flash solid-state technology coupled with IBM's industry-leading, highly scalable storage virtualization technology. Under the codename "Project Quicksilver," IBM achieved groundbreaking results in transferring data at a sustained rate of over one million Input/Output (I/O) per second -- with a response time of under one millisecond (ms). Compared to the fastest industry benchmarked disk system(1), Quicksilver improved performance by 250% at less than 1/20th the response time, took up 1/5th the floor space and required only 55% of the power and cooling.

Quicksilver is part of IBM's focus on leveraging emerging systems technologies to deliver advanced data center capabilities. Performance improvements of this magnitude can have profound implications for business, allowing 2 to 3 times the work to be completed in a given timeframe for classic workloads and creating opportunity for entirely new information warehouse and analytic solutions.

For more information about IBM and IBM System Storage, visit http://www.ibm.com/storage.

lightning boltHP Breaks the 24-hour Battery Life Barrier

HP reached an unprecedented milestone in mobile computing: up to 24 hours of continuous notebook operation on a single battery charge. As measured by an industry-standard benchmark, the new HP EliteBook 6930p configured with an optional ultra-capacity battery delivered up to 24 hours of battery runtime.

"All-day computing has been the holy grail of notebook computing," said Ted Clark, senior vice president and general manager, Notebook Global Business Unit, HP. "With the HP EliteBook 6930p, customers no longer have to worry about their notebook battery running out before their work day is over."

This achievement required new equipment in a unique configuration: energy dense HP batteries, new Intel solid-state hard drives (SSD), and a new HP mercury-free LED display. For example, the highly efficient HP Illumi-Lite LED display boosts battery run time by up to 4 hours compared to traditional LCD displays, while the Intel SSD provides up to a 7 percent increase in battery life. Special graphics drivers and a special BIOS were also required.

With up to 24 hours of battery life, business travelers can easily use their laptop on the world's longest scheduled commercial airline flight - linking Newark International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport - approximately 18 hours, 40 minutes. This EliteBook configuration will be available starting in October.

In addition to helping achieve outstanding battery life, the new Intel SSDs provide greater reliability as well as faster system responsiveness.

The ENERGY STAR HP EliteBook 6930p configuration starts at only 4.7 pounds (2.1 kg) and features a 14.1-inch diagonal widescreen display; the mercury-free Illumi-Lite LED is optional.

lightning boltSun World Tour of Tech Days Conferences

Sun's developer conference, Tech Days, will travel the globe again to share expertise with the community about the Solaris Operating System, Java technology, JavaFX, MySQL database, NetBeans, GlassFish, OpenSolaris, Sun Studio software, scripting languages, mobile and telecommunications technologies, open source, web application development, and more. Sun posted the details of the Sun Tech Days worldwide developer conferences for 2008-2009 at http://developers.sun.com/events/techdays/index.jsp.

Sun Tech Days is a 13-city world tour showing how developers can leverage Sun technologies to drive industry innovation. Since 2000, Sun Tech Days has seen a six-fold increase in attendance numbers and now reaches over 100,000 developers each year via local events around the world.

Each Tech Days event for 2008-2009 will host Java, MySQL, and OpenSolaris tracks. The Tech Days program will also include:

- Demo Showcase: Six demos highlighting JavaFX, mashups, social computing, OpenSolaris, PHP/NetBeans and cloud computing.
- Lighting Talks: Content organized and delivered by community speakers around the different track topics.

In addition, some of the Sun Tech Days events will have an extra day of deep dive content where attendees can choose from either a dedicated advanced training session on the NetBeans IDE, highlighting new features and solutions; or a targeted event for students illuminating challenges and opportunities with next generation technology innovation.

Sun Tech Days Worldwide Developer Conference schedule:
* Sao Paulo, Brazil: September 29-October 1, 2008
* Seoul, South Korea: October 15-17, 2008
* Taipei, Taiwan: November 17, 2008
* Guangzhou, China: November 19, 2008
* Beijing, China: November 21-23, 2008
* Tokyo, Japan: December 2-4, 2008
* Singapore, Singapore: January 20-22, 2009
* New York, United States: February 6-7, 2009
* Hyderabad, India: February 18-20, 2009
* London, United Kingdom: March 25-27, 2009
* Madrid, Spain: March 31-April 2, 2009
* St. Petersburg, Russia: April 8-10, 2009
* Tel Aviv, Israel: May 5-7, 2009

Conferences and Events

Vision 2008 Embedded Linux Conference
October 1-3, San Francisco, CA
Semantic Web Strategies Fall 2008
October 5-7, Marriott Hotel, San Jose, CA
Mobile Content Strategies 2008
October 6-7, Marriott Hotel, San Jose, CA
Optical Expo 2008
October 6-7, Westin Galleria, Dallas, TX
SANS Summit in Forensics and Incident Response
October 10-20, Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV
Linux End User Collaboration Summit
October 13-14, Tutu Center, New York City
LinkedData Planet Fall 2008
October 16-17, Hyatt, Santa Clara, CA
Scrum Gathering 2008
October 20-22, Stockholm, Sweden
EclipseWorld 2008
October 28-30, Reston, VA
Storage Decisions 2008
November 4-6, San Francisco, CA
System-on-Chip (SoC) Conference 2008
November 5-6, Radisson Hotel, Newport Beach, CA
OpenOffice.org Conference - OOoCon 2008
November 5-7, Beijing, China
Usenix LISA 2008
November 9-14, San Diego, CA
Agile Development Practices 2008
November 10-13, Orlando, FL
ISPcon Fall 2008
November 11-13, San Jose, CA
QCon-SF 2008
Nov. 17-21, Westin Hotel, San Francisco, CA
SANS 9th Annual Security Conference
November 19-21, Washington, DC
SpringOne Americas
December 1-4, Hollywood, FL
USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI '08)
December 8-10, San Diego, CA

Join us at the Paradise Point Resort for this symposium covering the most innovative systems research, including over 20 high-quality papers in areas including OS architecture, cloud computing, and monitoring, as well as a poster session. Don't miss the opportunity to gather with researchers from across the systems community in what has become a premier forum for discussing the design, implementation, and implications of systems software.

OSDI '08

Register by November 17 and save $150!

Gartner Mobile & Wireless Summit 2009
February 23-25, 2009, Chicago, IL

Distro News

lightning boltEnd of Service Life for Solaris 7 and 8 OS

On August 15, 2008, Solaris 7 exited EOSL Phase 2. Except through custom support agreements, all support for Solaris 7 is now terminated.

On April 1, 2009, Solaris 8 enters EOSL Phase 2. Vintage patch entitlement (for patches developed on or after April 1, 2009) requires purchase of the Solaris 8 Vintage Patch Service.

lightning boltHPC ClusterTools now Open Source and support Linux

Sun announced the release of Sun HPC ClusterTools 8.0, expanding the scope of its HPC software solutions. Sun HPC ClusterTools 8.0 is a production quality MPI (Message Passing Interface) implementation based on the Open MPI 1.3 open source project. In addition to Intel x86, AMD x86, and Sun UltraSPARC-based servers, Sun now offers complete software stack for both Linux and Solaris OSs, with all the innovations of OpenSolaris now available to the HPC community.

Sun HPC ClusterTools 8 software is an integrated toolkit that allows developers to create and tune Message-passing Interface (MPI) applications that run on high performance clusters and SMPs. Sun HPC ClusterTools software offers a comprehensive set of capabilities for parallel computing.

For more information,visit Sun's On the Record blog: http://blogs.sun.com/ontherecord/entry/get_your_free_unrestricted_copy and Kuldip Oberoi's blog: http://koberoi.com/2008/09/04/sun-hpc-clustertools-80-now-available-for-solaris-linux/

lightning boltFedora 10 Beta release

The beta release for the next version of Fedora occured at the end of September.

The final GA release is scheduled for mid-November. Local Fedora 10 Release Parties & InstallFests are tentatively scheduled for November 15th. Check here for updates: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FedoraEvents

Software and Product News

lightning boltAmazon to sell XO laptops for G1,G1 2008

One Laptop per Child will be selling its XO Laptop on Amazon.com in late 2008 as part of a renewed global "Give One, Get One" (G1,G1) program. Although the One Laptop per Child views the first iteration of the G1,G1 program as extremely successful (it sold more than 185,000 laptops), the delivery of the laptops in the USA did not run smoothly last year and its fulfillment agent suffered processing and shipping problems. Some buyers did not receive their XOs until March.

This year, they will be selling their neo-laptops on Amazon.com. Perhaps size matters for some things. OLTP has a staff of 2 dozen. They expect to do better with Amazon, which has the resources to process and ship the laptops globally.

In addition, and contrary to some media reports, the Xmas XO will be an only Linux-based laptop and not a dual-boot machine running both a pre-shrunk Windows and Linux.

In conjunction with the Xmas sales plan, Sugar Labs is currently working to get the 8.2 software release finished so it can be loaded onto the Xmas XOs. In addition to interface and preformance improvements, the coming release of Sugar will allow the WiFi interface to be turned off when using the XO as a book reader. This and a Deep suspend mode which consumes only 0.5W will allow battery life to stretch up to 40 hours.

lightning boltGoogle's Tenth Anniversary Celebration: Project 10100

Google is celebrating its tenth birthday/anniversary with a new project to promote positive change in the world. From their Web site: "Project 10^100 (pronounced "Project 10 to the 100th") is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible."

More excerpts:
"10100 is another way of expressing the number "googol," a one followed by one hundred zeroes. Our company's very name expresses our goal of achieving great results through smart technology that starts small and scales dramatically over time to have a tremendous long-term impact. Project 10100 is a similar attempt to produce those kinds of scalable results by harnessing our users' insights and creativity. We don't know what ideas would help the most people. This project's premise is that maybe you do."

Entries must be submitted by October 20, 2008. A youtube video is an optional part of the entry.

The categories for submissions are:
Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?
Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?
Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don't fit into any category at all.

Google has committed $10 million to fund up to five ideas selected by an advisory board. A selection of Google employees will review all the ideas submitted and select 100 for public consideration. The 100 top ideas will be announced on January 27, 2009, at which point Google will invite the public to select twenty semi-finalists. An advisory board will then choose up to five final ideas for funding and implementation. The following five criteria will be considered by the advisory panel in evaluating and selecting the winning ideas:
Reach: How many people would this idea affect?
Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?
Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?
Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?
Longevity: How long will the idea's impact last?

More information at: http://www.project10tothe100.com

lightning boltVirtualization Wrapup

Citrix Unveils XenServer 5 for Cloud Computing with usage-based pricing

Citrix Systems has announced Citrix Cloud Center (C3) for service providers. The earlier Citrix Delivery Center product enabled enterprise customers to transform their datacenters into delivery centers, delivering apps and desktops as a "cloud-like" service to their end users. The new C3 product family extends these same benefits to Internet-based cloud providers, providing them with a complete set of service delivery infrastructure building blocks for cloud computing.

Citrix earlier this year introduced per-server pricing for XenServer 5, allowing customers to take full advantage of rapidly increasing CPU and memory capacity of modern servers without paying per CPU core. XenServer 5 also features new XenConvert P2V and V2V conversion tools. Citrix is now introducing consumption-based pricing for C3, to meet the needs of service providers that charge their customers based on their metered resource use. Single developer copies of XenServer are free, but cost $900 each for multi-server licensing and up to $3000 for the Enterprise Edition with support for clustering and XenMotion. It is based on the earlier 3.2 version of the Xen engine.

With C3 comes the new XenServer Cloud Edition, a virtual infrastructure solution optimized for service provider environments and available as a stand-alone virtual infrastructure platform or as an upgrade pack to open source Xen implementations. Other Citrix Delivery products that comprise C3 are NetScaler for optimization of application performance in the cloud, WANScaler to bridge the enterprise to the cloud and Workflow Studio to provide a rich orchestration capability. Workflow Studio also makes it easy for customers to integrate Citrix solutions with third-party products to automate end-to-end application delivery processes.

Citrix Cloud Center (C3) is available immediately and includes XenServer Cloud Edition, Citrix NetScaler and Workflow Studio Tech Preview.

A summary of new features for XenServer 5 is available here:

Sun Expands Virtualization Portfolio with xVM products

In September, Sun Microsystems announced Sun xVM Server and Sun xVM Ops Center 2.0, key components in its comprehensive virtualization strategy. Additionally, Sun launched xVMserver.org, a new open source community, where developers can download the first source code bundle for Sun xVM Server software and contribute to the direction and development of the product at http://www.xvmserver.org. Additional pieces of the Sun xVM virtualization portfolio, including Sun xVM VirtualBox software and Sun xVM Ops Center, are open source and freely available for immediate download at http://www.openxvm.org.

With the release of Sun xVM Ops Center 2.0, Sun provides integrated management of virtual and physical environments. The new release adds virtual guest management to its existing ability to manage physical infrastructures, making it easier for users to manage thousands of geographically distributed systems simultaneously. Sun xVM Ops Center simplifies the discovery, provisioning, updating, monitoring, and reporting of physical and virtual assets, as well as compliance reporting via one unified browser-based interface.

With the new Sun xVM Server software, Sun delivers an easy-to-use, open source, datacenter-grade server virtualization solution to virtualize and manage heterogeneous workloads, including Windows, Red Hat and SUSE Linux, Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems, on Sun x86 platforms and SPARC-based servers. Sun xVM Server software provides built-in management through a browser, enterprise-class scalability, reliability, and security. Sun xVM Server software is designed to inter-operate with VMware and uses the same virtual hard disk and virtual appliance formats, enabling customers to easily move workloads between VMware ESX and Sun xVM Server software.

Sun xVM Server is open source software but support subscriptions can be purchased in 4 socket increments at $500/yr. Sun xVM Infrastructure Enterprise costs $2000 in 4 socket increments for unlimited users.

xVM Ops Center can be integrated with system management tools from Dell, HP, and other system vendors and can manage over 50 K CPU cores.

Sun estimates that customers running Sun xVM Server software can expect up to 50% savings in their virtualization infrastructure costs when compared to offerings from leading competitors.

Sun Microsystems Unveils xVM VirtualBox 2.0

Sun Microsystems released a new version of Sun xVM VirtualBox, its high performance, free and open source desktop virtualization software, as well as Sun xVM VirtualBox Software Enterprise Subscription, a new offering for 24/7 premium support for enterprise users. xVM VirtualBox software is the first major open source hypervisor to support the most popular host operating systems, including Mac OS X, Linux, Windows, Solaris and OpenSolaris. To download the software and sign up for an enterprise support subscription, visit http://www.sun.com/software/products/virtualbox/get.jsp

Users of xVM VirtualBox 2.0 software will now benefit from new support for 64-bit versions of operating systems like Windows Vista and RedHat Enterprise Linux, in addition to all other major host operating systems. The software also offers a new user interface for the Mac platform, improved networking for the Mac OS X and Solaris OS, as well as improved performance, especially on AMD chips. Additionally, customers who purchase an enterprise subscription will also receive a Right-to-Use License, allowing them to deploy the xVM VirtualBox platform using their own software deployment tools. Subscriptions start at $30 (USD) per user per year, which includes 24/7 support, and discounts are available based on volume.

xVM VirtualBox software lets users create "virtual machines" into which they can install their operating system of choice, so developers can easily build, test and run cross-platform, multi-tier applications on a single laptop or desktop computer. Only a 20 megabyte download, xVM VirtualBox software installs in less than five minutes.

Sun's xVM VirtualBox software has received awards and positive reviews from top industry experts. Most recently, the software won InfoWorld's 2008 Bossies (Best of Open Source Software) Awards in the "Best of open source platforms and middleware: Desktop virtualization" category.

HP Announces New Virtualization Offerings for VMware Environments

HP has new products and solutions to help customers simplify their virtualized environments. Announced at VMworld 2008, HP's new offerings provide support for VMware technologies in four key areas: management software, virtualization services, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and server and storage infrastructures.

HP Data Protector software simplifies and centralizes automated data protection and recovery operations. This includes increased availability of critical applications with Zero Downtime Backup and Instant Recovery capabilities. HP Data Protector Zero Downtime Backup and Instant Recovery tightly integrate with HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays, giving customers zero-impact backup of mission-critical application data residing on virtual machines. This integration also provides the recovery of both the virtual machine and critical data in minutes instead of hours.

HP Insight Dynamics - VSE is an integrated solution to visualize, plan and change physical and virtual resources in the same way improving data center efficiency . Combined with VMware VirtualCenter, the solution provides for high-availability and simplified provisioning of resources across the data center. HP Insight Dynamics - VSE with VMware VirtualCenter can pre-emptively move virtual machines to a different hardware platform before any downtime occurs.

New HP VDI Services is a desktop replacement solution that provides security for data and applications on a desktop and lowers the cost of desktop life cycle management, while providing users with the experience of a standard desktop.

HP's thin client portfolio has been certified for VMware Virtual Desktop Manager, VMware's connection broker. This certification ensures HP customers of easy deployment of VMware VDI with any HP thin client.

HP is offering a product for automated disaster recovery for virtualized environments. HP and VMware have worked together to develop an integrated, simple and automated disaster recovery solution for virtual environments. This offering combines VMware Site Recovery Manager, HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVA) and HP Continuous Access Replication EVA Software.

HP's support for VMware Site Recovery Manager provides customers of all sizes with reliable disaster recovery technology to protect their business-critical applications. The HP EVA's dual-redundant hardware architecture eliminates single points of failure.

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Deividson Luiz Okopnik


Deividson was born in União da Vitória, PR, Brazil, on 14/04/1984. He became interested in computing when he was still a kid, and started to code when he was 12 years old. He is a graduate in Information Systems and is finishing his specialization in Networks and Web Development. He codes in several languages, including C/C++/C#, PHP, Visual Basic, Object Pascal and others.

Deividson works in Porto União's Town Hall as a Computer Technician, and specializes in Web and Desktop system development, and Database/Network Maintenance.

Howard Dyckoff

Bio picture

Howard Dyckoff is a long term IT professional with primary experience at Fortune 100 and 200 firms. Before his IT career, he worked for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and before that used to edit SkyCom, a newsletter for astronomers and rocketeers. He hails from the Republic of Brooklyn [and Polytechnic Institute] and now, after several trips to Himalayan mountain tops, resides in the SF Bay Area with a large book collection and several pet rocks.

Howard maintains the Technology-Events blog at blogspot.com from which he contributes the Events listing for Linux Gazette. Visit the blog to preview some of the next month's NewsBytes Events.

Copyright © 2008, Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 155 of Linux Gazette, October 2008