Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Jyoti Bansal

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

The Holy Grail of Networking

End-to-end infrastructure with a single OS

Recent studies show Linux taking a large and growing share of the global data center market, as well as making incipient gains on the desktop. Traditional IT deployment, however, doesn't tell the whole Linux story - this open source OS is also making impressive inroads in less-visible embedded applications. On this front Linux has come to dominate design-wins in communications, consumer electronics, and other ubiquitous applications, going from upstart to leader in less than four years.

Linux's success in telecommunications and networking infrastructure includes hundreds of shipping systems that do routing, switching, security, wireless and broadband access, billing, and many other data- and voice-centric functions. Emblematic is the success of Carrier Grade Linux (CGL), the specification recommendations created by OSDL members to support the needs of communications carriers and operators. When the CGL specification was first introduced four years ago, it was deemed too "exotic" and specialized; today, CGL capabilities for availability, fault management, performance, and other areas are mainstream in the Linux kernel and software stack. Now in its third revision, the CGL requirements specification informs Linux platform offerings from eight distribution suppliers, powers the product offerings of several dozen networking equipment providers, and underlies voice and data networks around the world. For example, the wireless phone networks of greater Tokyo, much of the United Kingdom, and all of Belgium rely on CGL.

In the last two years, Linux has also enjoyed substantial gains on the "other end of the wire" - garnering impressive design-wins on home networking equipment, digital video set-top boxes, and HDTV sets, and most tantalizingly, on wireless mobile phones. Manufacturers in this 300 million-unit-a-year marketplace are looking to Linux for reasons that mirror Linux's success in the infrastructure: its robustness, performance, security, scalability, and "gold standard" IP networking. Indeed, where mobile OEMs once regarded their wares as hardware-centric, mono-function devices, they today see them as "little servers" - software-dominated platforms for differentiated service delivery.

Analysts estimate that last year between 10 million and 15 million Linux-powered phones entered the marketplace, principally from Matsushita and NEC selling into Japan's NTT DoCoMo advanced wireless network, and also in China from mobile giant Motorola and local suppliers like Datang, Huawei, and ZTE. To augment this organic trend, by further lowering technical and economic barriers to building Linux-based phones, OSDL recently began the Mobile Linux Initiative (MLI). MLI brings together representatives from the whole mobile ecosystem - Linux platform providers and other ISVs, chipset suppliers, handset makers, carriers, and operators - with the goal of accelerating Linux adoption by bridging performance and functional gaps in the Linux kernel and software stack.

Together, CGL and MLI strive to create an unprecedented "end-to-end" deployment of a common platform spanning the gamut of server to client, fixed to mobile, wireline to wireless, and back again. "End-to-end" is appealing in its symmetry and scope, but does such sweeping deployment really confer benefits to networks and their end users? As long as the nodes on a network implement the correct protocols, should we really care about the particulars of the network infrastructure or its clients? Certainly in data infrastructure Linux, legacy Unix and versions of Windows certainly enjoyed and continue to participate in co-deployment on a range of networks, thanks to strong standardization and the overarching need for interoperability. However, designers of embedded software and hardware for client devices face a bewildering array of processor types and embedded RTOSes, competing standards-based implementations, and incompatible middleware. The appeal of an end-to-end, "strategic" platform reflects the needs of OEMs and their customers, the carriers and operators. OEMs see diminishing returns on building and maintaining sui generis proprietary platforms, and equally bad ROI from acquiring, learning, integrating, and maintaining the multiple competing commercial proprietary operating systems that replaced their last-generation in-house creations. Small OEMs lack the resources to build and/or integrate and maintain the millions of lines of code in modern wireless applications. Large OEMs can't afford the overhead of internal fragmentation and seek to leverage the same economies of scale in engineering that they enjoy in manufacturing and distribution. The desire for a unifying strategic platform is especially strong with OEMs whose offerings scale from clients to servers and points in between, like Cisco, Huawei, Motorola, NEC, Siemens, and CE OEMs like Panasonic (Matsushita), Philips, Samsung and Sony.

Carriers and operators (like most end users) strive for "indifference" to the underlying implementation of the devices that support and use their networks. The COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) value proposition dictates that as long as those systems conform to base industry standards and correctly implement key protocols, customers can treat all such equipment as black boxes. However, just as OEMs seek to simplify training, integration, and maintenance, carriers and operators want to unify the management of their network assets. So, while in theory the network is a chain of COTS black boxes, a unifying and open platform represents the infrastructure Holy Grail - a tonic for lagging profits and an elixir to lengthen the life of aging networks and business models.

And Linux, as it turns out, is that Holy Grail OS.

To learn more about how OSDL initiatives are helping to enable global end-to-end infrastructure, visit www.osdl.org.

More Stories By Stuart Cohen

Stuart F. Cohen - Chief Executive Officer. Stuart Cohen is a seasoned technology industry executive who consistently focuses on sustainable, profitable growth and market leadership. With over 22 years of international sales and marketing experience, Stuart most recently served as vice president and corporate officer at RadiSys Corporation where his responsibilities included strategic partnership development with other industry leaders including IBM, HP and Dell.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Ed 02/23/06 01:16:13 PM EST

Interesting point about the #1 image with this article. Three gears, meshed in the manner shown, will not EVER turn, no matter how much lubricant is applied. The third gear (smallest, to the right) will be trying to turn both directions at once, as each of the other gears is moving in opposite directions.

Sounds like this might be a metaphor for your column?

SYS-CON India News Desk 02/19/06 04:27:40 PM EST

Recent studies show Linux taking a large and growing share of the global data center market, as well as making incipient gains on the desktop. Traditional IT deployment, however, doesn't tell the whole Linux story - this open source OS is also making impressive inroads in less-visible embedded applications. On this front Linux has come to dominate design-wins in communications, consumer electronics, and other ubiquitous applications, going from upstart to leader in less than four years.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that A&I Solutions named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded over 15 years ago in 1999, A&I Solutions continues to provide companies with premier integrated enterprise solutions. By partnering with the trusted and proven solutions of leading technology companies, our customers are assured high performance levels across all IT environments including:...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive ad...
The hot topics in the industry today seem to center around Digital Transformation and Mobile Apps. While a digital transformation strategy is crucial to keep up with the chaos in your industry, customer demands, and other disruptions, the need to create mobile apps to remain relevant in your market and to your customers is equally a no-brainer. Regardless of the approach, the next question always seems to pop up: What architecture should I chose? Native? Hybrid? Managed? Hosted?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and...