It used to be that real-time application response was a novelty reserved for motion simulators and specialty data acquisition and processing functions. But with financial services and other business elements now operating at breakneck speeds, there is a growing demand for real-time in top-tier enterprises.
And that means the time is ripe for real-time operating systems, and the Linux community is taking the lead with two significant releases in the past month.
Novell has begun shipping SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time 10 (SLERT 10), which emphasizes application reliability and predictability along with the ability to locate and correct system bottlenecks. Key attributes include a workload segmentation function that focuses processor segments for high-priority jobs, plus support for the OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) high-speed interconnect standard.
SLERT 10 enables real-time Java applications using IBM, Sun or BEA Java virtual machines without alteration or recertification, and Novell's own ZenWorks Orchestration Server has been upgraded for real-time operation as well. There are also a number of technologies to prevent applications and processes from interrupting each other on the processor level, one of the more time-consuming practices in traditional operating systems.
Red Hat followed up this week with the beta version of the Enterprise Message, Real Time, Grid (MRG) platform, which the company claims improves data communications 100-fold over traditional systems. Key technologies within MRG include a new real-time Linux kernel and the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) that improves application predictability, as well as grid technology for HPC operations.
Red Hat is looking to combine real-time capabilities with messaging and grid technology as part of an overall automation strategy that also includes virtualization and specialty appliances to reduce overall network latency and improve workload processing.
Real-time performance is still going to be a specialty requirement going forward, but it will likely find an increasingly eager audience in the enterprise as the pace of business continues to quicken.