EOF - Data Center Linux at OSDL

If you want to get Linux into big enterprise customers' data centers, you need a working group that speaks their language. Here's how OSDL is matching data center needs to development work.

A lot is happening at the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL). The Carrier Grade Linux initiative helps Linux gain new grounds in the telecom world, and the Data Center Linux (DCL) initiative is working to accelerate the adoption of Linux in enterprise data centers. The Desktop Linux initiative aims to accelerate the adoption of Linux desktops. Plus a lot of activities, such as the higher educational forum, kernel testing, the legal defense fund, Linux advocacy to the world and much more are keeping OSDL busy. In this short article, I introduce the Data Center Linux initiative and report on its goals and ongoing work.

The DCL community is made up of vendors, users and open-source developers that interact and define a Linux road map for data centers. It's a place where people's interests meet and create a collective will to help advance Linux in this sector.

The goal is to accelerate Linux adoption in enterprise-class data centers. DCL functions as a center of gravity for developers, users, vendors and the Open Source community to work together toward a common goal: improve Linux capabilities and feature requirements to accelerate the development and adoption of Linux in the data center.

The working group has many responsibilities. It captures, discusses, publishes, develops, validates and monitors Linux capabilities needed for its adoption in enterprise data centers. The DCL Technical Capabilities v1.0 document is the work of current OSDL members. As for technical contributions, for the hackers among us, DCL has been working to identify existing open-source projects that meet the requirements identified in the technical capabilities document and contribute or initiate open-source projects to meet the identified needs.

The working group follows open working methods collaborating with industry companies and end users to identify a list of the capabilities needed in Linux and prioritize them, very similar to the goals of other OSDL working groups. This list, then, is used as guidance for member companies and the Open Source community to help them start or refocus development efforts centered around data center capabilities to Linux.

The Technical Capabilities v1.0 document describes many capabilities categories, such as scalability, RAS (reliability, availability and serviceability), performance, manageability, clustering, standards, security and usability. Some of these categories are common to other OSDL initiatives. For this reason, OSDL has identified those common areas among its working groups and created Special Interest Groups (SIGs) where these issues are discussed independently of a specific initiative. Current SIGs include the Storage Networking SIG, which covers direct-attached storage; the Security SIG covers aspects of security; the Clustering SIG examines clustering capabilities; and the Hot Plug SIG focuses on CPU, memory, I/O bus and node hot-plug capabilities.

Several recent contributions have been made available from the DCL working group, for example, the work on hardening crash dump utilities that enable first-time failure data capture and analysis. Another example is that of persistent device naming, in particular persistent storage device naming. These contributions are significant—especially when systems (or nodes) grow and scale and interconnect in large networked environments, such capability becomes essential.

Based on the goal of the DCL initiative, the success of DCL can be realized when there is an increase in Linux deployment in the data center. At this point, the work is going at full speed. Only time will tell what the future holds for DCL.

Participation is open to anyone who wants to contribute to the DCL initiative. For more information, please visit www.osdl.org/lab_activities/data_center_linux. You will find a lot of information in addition to various documents that are available for download.

Ibrahim Haddad, contributing editor to LJ, is a Researcher at the Ericsson Research & Innovation Department in Montréal, Canada.