Novell Ships SLERT Variant of SUSE Linux
Published: October 31, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
As it promised it would back in September, commercial Linux distributor Novell has begun shipping a real-time variant of its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, appropriately called SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time 10, or SLERT for short.
With SLERT 10, Novell is mixing some real-time kernel technologies created by Concurrent Computer, which has been developing real-time operating systems for a long time and which, as it turns out, will also be a distributor of SLERT 10 like Novell and its reseller and OEM partners. SLERT 10 is only available on X86 and X764 architectures, and is not going to be ported to Power or Itanium architectures at this time. (But if IBM and Freescale Semiconductor put up money for a Power port or Intel and Hewlett-Packard do the same for an Itanium port, that could obviously change quickly enough. IBM could also encourage Novell and Concurrent to do a mainframe port as well, but this seems less likely.)
SLERT 10 is different from the standard SLES 10 server operating system in a number of ways aside from the more restricted processor support. The kernel tweaks in SLERT 10 give it a predictable interrupt response time of under 30 microseconds; it also has a high-resolution timer that allows for much more sophisticated kernel scheduling. SLERT also has processor shielding and allows user-level control of simultaneous multithreading on the chips that have them. (Intel's Xeons do, and AMD's Opterons do not.) To make use of processor shielding, a machine has to have at least two physical processors or a single processor with two cores. For a full description of SLERT 10's capabilities and why these real-time extensions matter, see Novell, Concurrent Create Real-Time SUSE Linux Variant from back in September.
What no one knew back in September is what Novell would charge for SLERT 10, and now that it is available, some of this mystery has been cleared up. A subscription to SLERT 10 costs $2,895 per year for the basic 30-day installation and Web-based maintenance and security patch support. If you already have a SLES 10 license on the machine that you want to run SLERT 10 on, you only pay $2,500 for that machine. As is the case with SLES 10, that license covers a machine spanning from one to 32 processor sockets. If you want to upgrade your support to 9x5 business or 24x7 continuous support, presumably you just have to upgrade the SLES 10 license underlying the SLERT 10 license. A standard support license to SLES 10 costs $799, while a priority support license costs $1,499.
Novell, Concurrent Create Real-Time SUSE Linux Variant
Novell Aggressively Launches SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
Novell Touts SUSE Linux 10, Says Desktops and Xen Are Ready