Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Containers vs. Xen: Everyone wins!

So containers are starting to get some press now. This seems to be a pretty fair issue. As I mentioned earlier in my blog, there is actually a mailing list where OpenVZ, vserver, and a number of community folks are actively engaged on bringing Containers into mainline Linux. Yes, the performance benefits of lightweight containers are great, the ability to do some resource tracking and throttling of containers will be useful for many end users and No, containers will not replace Xen. Xen provides a strong isolation model at increased overhead. Containers provide a low isolation model at decreased overhead.

Of course, with Containers, you have several options today to choose from, each of which have their drawbacks. vserver provides pretty complete isolation, has a great community supporting it, is available in some of the community supported distros, etc. There is also OpenVZ, supported by the SWsoft guys directly. And there are things like OpenMetaCluster from IBM, which can checkpoint/restart databases on clustered systems, although with a little more limited availability. All of those folks are working to get a common solution into mainline Linux, which should happen in time for the next big cycle of enterprise distros. Of course, in the meantime, the distros have each chosen a champion that they are considering. Since the changes for either solution are fairly invasive, they are outside the normally accepted changes for a service pack or update release. But in the meantime, let the fun continue!


Monday, August 21, 2006

Open Source Goes vertical

Bernard Golden was one of the panel moderators at the LWE Health Care Day. He did a very nice write up of his panel on his blog. In his blog Bernard looks more at the flow of VC capital and start up companies. I think a more reasonable short term model will be to get some support from partnerships of existing large open source players (e.g. the system vendors) and the large health care integrators, hopefully working directly with customers and maybe some new VC companies to help fill out some niches. The real goal here is to build a community which can help address the problems of IT availability in Health Care, not just a few new, smaller companies.


Friday, August 18, 2006

New Health Care open source mailing list

The wide spread interest from OSDL's Health Care Day in building a "community of communities" around Open Source in Health Care has motivated OSDL to set up a new mailing list for all interested parties. If you are interested in Health Care in the Open Source space and cross pollenation between various communities, you may want to join the health care community mailing list.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Overview of the state of Health Care and IT

As part of organizing the OSDL sponsored Health Care I had the privilege of meeting and talking to some very bright folks in the Health Care industry. One of those that summed up the status of IT in Health Care and the potential impacts of poor IT on human life was Dr. Kenneth Kizer, CEO of Medsphere. He previously was involved in the transformation of the Veteran's Administration health care system into the largest and one of the very best health care systems in the United States. His OSDL Health Care Day presentation is very insightful and well worth a read.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Eclipse OHF, Health Care and Open Source

Just in time for Linux World Expo IBM came out with a press release about IBM's involvment in the Open Source - Eclipse open Healthcare Platform (OHF). Thanks to Eishay Smith for the info!

Containers and Virtualization

The sourceforge list for containers (lxc) is being shut down since sourceforge mailing lists are being soooo slow. The list list is at OSDL - containers@lists.osdl.org. People working on openvz and vserver (with the goal of getting a common solution into the mainline linux kernel) will get postings sent to this list as well since the plan is currently to subscribe the existing openvz and vserver mailing lists to this list

To subscribe, please visit:


The end result of this discussion and relevent patches should be a single infrastructure in the mainline kernel that is fast, reasonably complete, and allows any other solutions to be wholly contained within the kernel or enabled through user level applications on top of the base kernel support. Today, all major groups are consolidating here with some healthy debates about the details of implementation. No outlook yet on completion but all groups are motivated to generated patches as fast as possible.


Open Source and Health Care

Another activity I've been involved in lately is looking at Open Source utilization in the Health Care field. I have a lot of reasons why I think this is very interesting, which I'll try to share sometime in the future. However, for those that may be interested, I'm in San Francisco this week at Linux World Expo and participating on a panel at their Health Care Day. I should have lots more information to share about where Open Source and Health Care are headed after that event as well. Feel free to look me up if you are in San Francisco!


Here's one of the more accurate articles I've seen on the current state of Linux and Hypervisors.

I spent some quality time with Simon Crosby (XenSource) and previously with Jack Lo (VMware) as everyone was working to find a good solution to getting Linux to directly run on a virtualized platform. Of all the news articles on this that I've seen so far, this is definitely the most accurate.

On a similar note, whether or not Xen is ready for prime time, we at IBM have done a lot of testing in support of Novell's inclusion of Xen and believe that it is ready for Enterprises to begin testing and evaluating for use in Enterprises. It is still relatively young in capabilities compared to System p and System z virtualization capabilities, but it seems to provide the basic capabilities for IA32/x86-64/EM64T systems quite nicely. This article calls out Novell's position at this point.