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News Bytes

By Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff

News Bytes


Selected and Edited by Deividson Okopnik

Please submit your News Bytes items in plain text; other formats may be rejected without reading. [You have been warned!] A one- or two-paragraph summary plus a URL has a much higher chance of being published than an entire press release. Submit items to bytes@linuxgazette.net. Deividson can also be reached via twitter.

News in General

lightning boltRed Hat Introduces DeltaCloud Project

Redhat engineers have initiated the DeltaCloud project "To enable an ecosystem of developers, tools, and applications which can interoperate across the public and private clouds".

Currently, each Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud has a unique API that developers and ISVs write to in order to consume the cloud service. The DeltaCloud effort hopes to create a common, REST-based API which developers can write to once and manage anywhere and everywhere. This requires a middleware layer with drivers that map APIs to all public clouds like EC2, and private virtualized clouds based on VMWare and Red Hat Enterprise Linux with integrated KVM. The long term goal is for the middleware API to be test driven with a self-service web console, which will be another part of the DeltaCloud effort.

Among its goals, DeltaCloud aims to give developers:

  • a REST API (with any-platform access);
  • Support for EC2, RHEV-M; VMWare ESX, RackSpace coming soon;
  • Backward compatibility across versions, for long-term use of scripts, tools and applications.

One level up, DeltaCloud Portal will provide a web UI in front of the DeltaCloud API to:

  • View image status and stats across clouds, all in one place;
  • Migrate instances from one cloud to another;
  • Manage images locally and provision them on any cloud.

DeltaCloud API and Portal are free and open source (LGPL, GPL). For more info, see: http://deltacloud.org.

lightning boltRed Hat, JBoss Innovators of the Year Announced

At the co-located Red Hat Summit and JBoss World in Chicago in September, Red Hat gave out their 2009 Innovator of the Year Awards which features major customers and how they put Red Hat and JBoss products and technologies to use.

In its third year, theInnovation Awards highlighted six category finalists for 2009:

  • Management Excellence:
      Red Hat: Whole Foods Market
      JBoss: American Family Insurance
  • Optimized Systems:
      Red Hat: Verizon Communications Inc.
      JBoss: Harvard Business Publishing + Rivet Logic
  • Superior Alternatives:
      Red Hat: Union Bank, N.A.
      JBoss: GEICO
  • Carved Out Costs:
      Red Hat: Discount Tire Company
      JBoss: Allianz Australia Ltd
  • Extensive Ecosystem:
      Red Hat: Hilti Corporation
      JBoss: Optaros + Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
  • Outstanding Open Source Architecture:
      Ecommerce Inc. + Vizuri

Voting was open to the entire open source and Red Hat community to select the two overall Innovation Award winners - one Red Hat and one JBoss winner. This year, Red Hat Innovator of the Year Award went to Whole Foods Market. The company was selected for its use of Red Hat Satellite that resulted in reduced costs, reallocated resources and the ability of the Whole Foods IT department to focus on strategic business initiatives.

The JBoss Innovator of the Year went to Ecommerce + Vizuri for developing Imperia, a data center Web services hosting platform that can reduce operational costs and increase customer reliability using Red Hat, JBoss, Hyperic, and EnterpriseDB solutions.

lightning boltOracle Re-affirms Sun and Solaris Commitment

Oracle tried to reassure its new-found Sun customers by taking out an ad on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in mid-September.

The ad had 4 simple bullet-points addressed to Sun Customers, many of whom are in the financial sector of the economy, and a short quote from Larry Ellison saying he looked forward to competing with IBM. The bullets said the Oracle intends to:

  1. Spend more money developing SPARC than Sun does now;
  2. Spend more money developing Solaris than Sun does now;
  3. Save more than twice as many hardware specialists selling and servicing Sparc/Solaris systems than Sun does now;
  4. Dramatically improve Sun's hardware performance by tightly integrating Oracle software with Sun hardware

Oracle made good on the last point when it announced its improved Exadata V2 DB machine. (See article below.) The ad did not mention Java or the MySQL database, both of which Oracle now owns.

lightning boltOracle Unveils Hefty Exadata Version 2 - on Sun Hardware

The OLTP Database Machine was unveiled in September by Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison and Sun Executive Vice President John Fowler. The Exadata Database Machine Version 2, made by Sun and Oracle, is said to be the world's fastest machine for both data warehousing and online transaction processing (OLTP).

Built using industry standard hardware components plus FlashFire technology from Sun, Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and Oracle Exadata Storage Server Software Release 11.2, the Sun Oracle Database Machine V2 is twice as fast as Version 1 for data warehousing. The Sun Oracle Database Machine goes beyond data warehousing applications with the addition of the huge Exadata Smart Flash Cache based on Sun FlashFire technology to deliver extreme performance and scalability for OLTP.

Bottom line: with the Sun Oracle Database Machine, customers can store more than 10x the amount of data and search data more than 10x faster without any changes to applications.

"Exadata Version 1 was the world's fastest machine for data warehousing applications," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, with characteristically limited modesty. "Exadata Version 2 is twice as fast as Exadata V1 for data warehousing, and it's the only database machine that runs OLTP applications. Exadata V2 runs virtually all database applications much faster and less expensively than any other computer in the world." Ellison compared ExaData 2 to Teradata systems and high-end IBM 595 Power RISC machines. "IBM has nothing like this," Ellison said after noting that only IBM mirrors disks while Exadata 2 is fully fault tolerant with redundant hardware.

Ellison also noted the modular ExaData 2 can be installed and ready in a single day. "It will be working by evening ... just load and run," Ellison said.

Better Hardware Specs from Sun:

  • Sun' FlashFire memory cards enable high performance OLTP;
  • 80% Faster CPUs -Intel Xeon 5500 Nehalem processors;
  • 50% Faster Disks -600 GB SAS Disks at 6 Gigabits/second;
  • 200% Faster Memory -DDR3 memory;
  • 25% More Memory -72 Gigabytes per database server;
  • 100% Faster Networking -40 Gigabits/second on InfiniBand;
  • Raw disk capacity of 100 TB (SAS) or 336 TB (SATA) per rack;

Software Optimization from Oracle:

  • Hybrid columnar compression for 10-50 times data compression;
  • Scans on compressed data for even faster query execution;
  • Storage Indexes to further reduce disk I/Os;
  • Offloading of query processing to storage controllers using Smart Scans;
  • Applications running on the Sun Oracle Database Machine achieve up to 1 Million I/O operations per second with Flash Storage.

Exadata Version 2 is available in four models: full rack (8 database servers and 14 storage servers), half-rack (4 database servers and 7 storage servers), quarter-rack (2 database servers and 3 storage servers) and a basic system (1 database server and 1 storage server). All four Exadata configurations are available immediately.

lightning boltARM Announces 2GHz Cortex-A9 Dual Core Processor Designs

Gunning to displace Intel's netbook-dominant "Atom" processor, ARM announced development of dual Cortex-A9 MPCore hard macro implementations for the 40nm-G process developed with its partner, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.). Silicon manufacturers now have a rapid route to silicon for high-performance, low-power Cortex-A9 processor-based devices. The speed-optimized hard macro implementation will enable devices to operate at frequencies greater than 2GHz with a power efficiency up to 8x greater than Intel's current Atom offerings.

The dual core hard macro implementations use advanced techniques to increase performance while lowering overall power consumption. Running at 2-GHz, the Cortex-A9 delivers about 10,000 MIPS with a power demand of about 2 watts. The low power design runs at 800 Mhz, consumes a half watt of power and delivers 4000 MIPS. In many thermally-constrained applications such as set-top boxes, DTVs, printers and netbooks, energy efficiency is of paramount importance. The Cortex-A9 can deliver a peak performance of 4000 DMIPS while consuming less than 250mW per CPU core. ARM announced it was developing quad-core and eight-core Cortex-A9 processor designs. In separate news, ARM also joined the Linux Foundation in September. The Cortex-A9 speed-optimized and power-optimized implementations are available for license now with delivery in the fourth quarter of 2009. ARM' 40G physical IP platform is also available at http://designstart.arm.com.

More information on ARM is available at http://www.arm.com.

Conferences and Events

Open World Forum 2009
October 1 - 2, Paris, France
Silicon Valley CodeCamp 09 - Free
October 3 - 5, Foothill College, Los Altos, CA
Adobe MAX 2009
October 4, Los Angeles, CA
TV 3.0 Summit & Expo
October 6 - 7, Four Seasons, Los Angeles, CA
Interop Mumbai
October 7 - 9, Bombay Exhibit Center, Mumbai, India
RHCE Day - New York City
October 8, 9am - 1pm, Rubin Museum, New York, NY
Oracle OpenWorld 2009
October 11 - 15, San Francisco, CA
Agile Open California
October 15 - 16, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA
Germany Scrum Gathering 2009
October 19 - 21, Hilton Munich City, Munich, Germany
Web 2.0 Summit 2009
October 20 - 22, San Francisco, CA
7th SGI User Group (SGIUG) Conference
October 21 - 23, San Antonio, TX
1st Annual Japan Linux Symposium
October 21 - 23, Tokyo, Japan
CSI 2009
October 24 - 30, Washington, DC
eComm Fall 2009 Europe
October 28 - 30, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Seattle Secure World 2009
October 28 - 29, Meydenbauer Convention Center, Seattle, WA
LISA '09 - 23rd Large Installation System Administration Conference
November 1 - 6, Marriott Waterfront Hotel, Baltimore, MD
Cloud Computing & Virtualization 2009
November 2 - 4, Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA
iPhone Developer Summit
November 2 - 4, Santa Clara, CA
VoiceCon-SF 2009
November 2 - 5, San Francisco, CA
2nd Annual Linux Foundation End User Summit
November 9 - 10, Jersey City, NJ
Interop New York
November 16 - 20, New York, NY
Web 2.0 Expo New York
November 16 - 19, New York, NY
QCon Conference 2009
November 18 - 20, Westin Hotel, San Francisco, CA
10th ACM/USENIX International Middleware Conference
November 30 - December 4, Urbana Champaign, IL
Gartner Data Center Conference 2009
December 1 - 4, Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV

Distro News

lightning boltLinpus' Launches Linpus Linux Lite 1.2 at OSIM World

At OSIM World in mid-September, Linpus Technologies, Inc. released its new version of Linpus Linux Lite, its flagship netbook and nettop product aimed to improve a user' online experience.

This new version of Linpus Linux Lite, through its LiveDesktop application, improves the user experience by gathering important information in one place. LiveDesktop has six modules with thumbnail and text summaries, and an option for large previews. The social networking module allows access into Twitter, Flickr, Myspace and LastFM accounts. There are two modules for email - one for desktop mail and one that delivers mail from Web mail accounts. Additionally, there are modules for most recent websites and opened files -and a module for favorite programs or shortcuts.

LiveDesktop has also been designed so that each module has an extra 3 or 4 objects, found by tapping the arrow at the side, meaning you can for example, actually quickly see six recent Web sites rather than just three.

Linpus Linux Lite also has a number of key improvements:

  • Clutter graphic technology is used throughout to improve look and feel;
  • A network manager with support for 3G, WLAN, and LAN connectivity;
  • A power manager with auto-suspend support;
  • Dual booting enhancements and decreased boot-time to 3 seconds.

Software and Product News

lightning boltOracle Enhances VM Template Builder, Oracle Enterprise Linux JeOS

In August, Oracle announced Oracle VM Template Builder, an open source graphical utility that makes it easy to use Oracle Enterprise Linux "Just enough OS" (JeOS) and scripts for developing pre-packaged virtual machines for Oracle VM.

Oracle VM Template Builder uses "JeOS" to facilitate building an operating system instance with only the absolute minimum packages needed for an Oracle VM Template, helping to reduce the disk footprint by up to 2GB per guest virtual machine and to improve security and reliability.

Oracle Enterprise Linux JeOS is backed by 24x7, enterprise-class support and has been tailored specifically to facilitate the creation of Oracle VM Templates for production enterprise use.

Oracle VM Templates are virtual machines with pre-installed and pre-configured enterprise software that can be used by ISVs or end-users to package and distribute their applications. Oracle VM Templates simplify application deployments, reduce end-user costs and can make ISV software distribution more profitable.

This also allows end-users and ISVs the option to develop their Oracle VM Templates by using JeOS-based scripts directly or via the graphical Oracle VM Template Builder.

The graphical Oracle VM Template Builder utility is based on the core technology of Oracle's small footprint Oracle Enterprise Linux JeOS operating system image that is designed specifically for Oracle VM Template creation and build-process integration. Oracle offers this combination of enterprise class operating system and virtualization software for free download and free distribution. (O-VM is based on Xen virtualization technology.)

Oracle VM supports both Oracle and non-Oracle applications. Oracle VM Templates are available today for Oracle' Siebel CRM, Oracle Database, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Fusion Middleware, and more. See a complete list of templates at: .

Oracle VM Template Builder is distributed as software packages via the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and Oracle Technology Network.

More informaton on Oracle virtualization offerings are available here: http://www.oracle.com/virtualization.
More info on Oracle's JEOS Linux is available here: http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/virtualization/vm_jeos.html.

lightning boltToshiba Links vPRO Technology With TCG Self-Encrypting Drives

Toshiba's Storage Device Division (SDD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., showcased its Trusted Computing Group (TCG) Opal-compliant Self Encrypting Drives (SEDs) in a demonstration of secure access using the Intel's vPro technology during the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco during September. As corporate governance requirements, government regulations and other industry mandates for stronger data protection increase, TCG Opal-compliant SEDs will become an increasingly important component in the data protection equation. Unlike earlier SED offerings, TCG Opal-compliant SEDs provide standards-based protocols to facilitate widespread adoption by disk drive vendors, security management software providers, system integrators and security-conscious end users.

The IDF demonstration was the first time SEDs were paired with Intel vPro technology to securely deliver down-the-wire access authentication. Management console applications can use Intel vPro technology to securely authenticate and access TCG Opal-compliant SEDs on remote PCs, even if the computer is powered off. This capability allows remote perform software updates, security audits and maintenance tasks in an enterprise domain.

SEDs greatly enhance the data security on any PC, especially laptops, which are at greater risk of being lost or stolen. The TCG Opal-specification provides a framework for delivering centrally managed encryption solutions. TCG Opal-compliant SEDS offer the benefits of stronger security through industry standardization of security protocols on the hard drive, providing easier use and lower cost of ownership with decreased management complexity. Should a PC be lost or stolen, an IT administrator can take action to remotely disable the PC and instantly erase the encrypted data and applications on the SED, through Intel Anti-Theft Technology, which is available on some Intel vPro technology-enabled notebooks. Intel vPro technology enhances the manageability of PCs equipped with Opal-compliant SEDs by providing the mechanism through which IT administrators can authenticate and remotely access the unattended PC.

Software updates and other administrative tasks can then be performed from virtually anywhere in the world, using a secure out-of-band communications channel to access and manage PCs that incorporate TCG Opal-compliant SEDs.

Toshiba plans to commercially introduce TCG Opal-compliant SEDs in 2010. For more information on Toshiba' line of mobile HDDs, please visit http://www.toshibastorage.com.

lightning boltDanube Releases ScrumWorks Pro 4, Enterprise-ready Scrum Tool

Danube Technologies, a leader in project management tools and training for the Scrum methodology, announced in September that ScrumWorks Pro 4, the latest release of the only enterprise-capable tool designed exclusively to reinforce the principles of the Scrum framework, was now available for purchase and upgrade. New features added to this release were driven by customer feedback and address the growing demands of enterprise customers. With release 4, large groups organized to meet complex development needs now have a flexible system to model features and milestones across multiple development groups.

"As the popularity of Scrum continues to grow, so has the demand for a project management tool that is sophisticated enough to scale for the largest, most complex Scrum development environments," said Victor Szalvay, Danube CTO and the Product Owner of ScrumWorks Pro. "This latest release gives users a powerful combination of functionality and flexibility to effectively model features and milestones across multiple related development groups."

New to ScrumWorks Pro 4:

  • Program Management. Coordinate multiple related development groups with cross-cutting releases and feature goals. Track through to completion with high-level roll-ups of progress in a single cohesive interface.
  • High-level Feature Decomposition with Epics.
    Epics are the stated high-level features or goals associated with any milestone. Define Epics and track progress at the project or program level.
  • Release Planning View.
    The release planner view provides a focused, high-level perspective of a release milestone. User stories are grouped by Epics and progress is front-and-center with embedded roll-up reports.
  • Flexible Modeling of Development Organizations.
    New Program capabilities in release 4 are flexible enough to accommodate and model complex structures such as shared component projects, where a single project group supplies core components to multiple end-products.
  • Enterprise Reporting.
    Track feature and release milestone progress across multiple products. Forecast completion and compare progress of contributing products in a Program release. Monitor the scope of features at the program level along with progress breakdown.

"ScrumWorks Pro has always been driven by customer feedback," said Szalvay. "For large-scale Scrum deployments, release 4 will help coordinate multiple related product backlogs, all of which can work toward common release dates and feature goals."

ScrumWorks Pro 4 is currently available and can be purchased directly from Danube. Pricing is offered through an on-site, per-seat subscription license that starts at $289 per-user, per-year, or less than $25 per-user, per-month, as well as an on-site, per-seat fully paid license for $500. For more information on ScrumWorks Pro, visit http://www.danube.com/scrumworks/pro.

lightning boltVMware vCenter 4 Drives Business Agility

At VMworld 2009, VMware unveiled a new management model for IT, with the introduction of the VMware vCenter Product Family, a set of solutions for policy-based, service-driven management and business agility. VMware vCenter Product Family builds on the capabilities of VMware vSphere 4 to simplify management, reduce operating costs, and deliver flexible IT services.

Features of vCenter include:

    Infrastructure Management:
    • VMware vCenter AppSpeed provides service level reporting and proactive performance management for multi-tier applications, including virtualized and physical elements;
    • VMware vCenter CapacityIQ enables adequate capacity to be available to virtual machines, resource pools, and entire datacenters by modeling the effect of capacity changes;
    • VMware vCenter ConfigControl will enable compliance of configuration state in a virtual environment;
    • VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager automates the recovery process and simplifies management of disaster recovery plans by making disaster recovery an integrated element of virtual datacenters.
    Service Delivery Management:
    • VMware vCenter Lifecycle Manager manages the lifecycle of virtual machines;
    • VMware vCenter Chargeback enables accountability across the business by reporting on costs;
    • VMware vCenter Lab Manager simplifies development and QA environments by giving end users on-demand access to common system configurations while administrators maintain control over policies.

For more information about virtualization management solutions from VMware and the VMware vCenter Product Family, http://www.vmware.com/products/vcenter/.

Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

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 © 2009, 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 167 of Linux Gazette, October 2009