Intel Demonstrates Next Generation E-Commerce Servers for Linux

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) senior vice president Sean Maloney, in a keynote address at LinuxWorld in San Jose, demonstrated how Intel’s advanced Merced processor — otherwise known as the IA-64 — would work running on Linux in order to advance cost-effective and powerful solutions available to companies engaged in e-commerce.

“We are working hard with the IA-64 — we think of it as the future engine for e-commerce,” said Maloney, who was joined on stage by Intel chairman Andrew Grove. The Linux-based IA-64 simulator used for the demo — which utilized an Apache Web server — was jointly developed by The Trillian Project, a consortium composed of Cygnus, HP, IBM, Intel, SGI and VA Linux Systems.

According to Intel, these companies are working together to develop a Linux port to IA-64 so that it can be made available to the open-source software community. “Intel expects the IA-64 port to be available when the first Merced servers and workstations begin shipping in the second half of 2000.”

To help advance the development of Linux software environments for IA-64, which is based on the EPIC design philosophy, Maloney disclosed that Merced-based servers can be accessed via Intel’s developer.intel.com Web site. Intel will provide servers based on Merced to select Linux solution providers for Internet based software development.

Linux and the Future of E-Commerce

“More and more of the general public have the want and the need to transact (using) e-commerce, and they are not willing to fork out the thousands of dollars for Solaris, or full BSD,” stated Hal Halvorson, a Linux user, in a Wired report. “their first choice is Linux.” Halvorson has been running an e-commerce server, according to Wired, for three years without a crash.

The Linux operating system (OS) has been moving into the server market, where an increasing number of online firms — including e-commerce operations — are recognizing the benefit of open-source over the proprietary code of Microsoft’s Windows.

Results from performance tests earlier this year — conducted by Silicon Valley-based Mindcraft — showed that Windows NT outperformed Linux. According to Sam Ockman, President of Penguin Computing, however, “Linux is far superior to Windows NT in four very important categories that were not considered in the tests: reliability, stability, security and expandability. These are some of the most important factors for any IT manager in making a purchasing decision.”

The numbers indicate that an increasing number of companies are hearing Ockman’s argument. According to International Data Corp. (IDC), Linux shipments encompassed 17.2 percent of all new server license shipments in 1998, growing 212.5 percent from 1997 figures. Intel reports that the majority of Linux bundled servers are currently running on its IA-32 architecture.

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