Being a Linux geek working in a software services organisation called Emerging Technology Services and with my contacts I like to think I was the natural choice for the pitch titled "Emerging Linux Technologies". I only had a short amount of time to present a vast field of topics so I narrowed it down to just five topics compelling for business and talked about the following:
OK, not strictly an emerging technology as many businesses have already adopted it. But, it was a good opener setting the scene for some of my other topics and allowed the opportunity for me to briefly run through a few virtualisation technologies for Linux.
- Cloud Computing
An exciting name and concept for what is essentially some very well thought out system administration. This technology has always been feasible but it's being made possible now with commodity hardware capable of remote management and some neat software ideas holding it all together. The really novel thing is the way applications can be deployed to run in the cloud environment and the fact we can actually package this up as a solution now. It's the realisation of "On Demand" computing.
- Project Big Green
Green computing is becoming much more of a concern as business starts to run out of room in data centers, power requirements head skywards and running costs steadily increase. Last year IBM announced a re-investment of $1 billion into research towards green computing which gives business the opportunity to cut running costs and jump on the green band wagon at the same time. Green computing is essentially about consolidation of services, allowing spare compute power to be utilised elsewhere, and making sure equipment is environmentally produced and disposed of. It's those three words we hear in all good green campaigns, reduce-reuse-recycle, do it!
- Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux)
One of my specialisms and a topic I could ramble on about for a long time, I'll try to keep it brief. In this short pitch I indicated security is still an issue in 2008 and it can cost you big time if your security is breached. Enter SELinux, an overview of what SELinux is and where it comes from and a comparison with other technologies such as AppArmour is a good start. To get to the crunch of SELinux though, I explain the differences between Discretionary Access Control (DAC) and Mandatory Access Control (MAC) and the ultimate advantages SELinux brings for security.
- Real Time Linux
Real time really is an emerging area with both of IBMs current Linux partners, Red Hat and SUSE, bringing out offerings recently. Real time is built from the hardware up through the OS and in the case of hard real time into the applications too. IBM have certified some particular System X hardware to be real time capable and provide firmware and support for this now. Next comes the Linux piece where some of the firmware functionality removed from hardware must now be implemented in the kernel, there's loads of ways of doing this but to get support for it SUSE and Red Hat take care of that. IBM have also built some enhancements to Java, by introducing a modified garbage collector (Metronome) and providing ahead of time (AOT) compilation while complying with RTSJ, all of which add up to the ability to write real time Java apps - interesting! Now we can offer a full real time system on non-specialised hardware, using a commercially available operating system and a language loads of people can program, backed by IBM through Websphere Real Time. Boy that sounds like an advert, sorry about that, but it is a great idea, very cool!
This is all very much in brief, if you want to know more then get in touch or leave a comment.