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Linux seller turns to Itanium

SuSE unveils a version of the open-source operating system tailored for the Intel chip and says the software will power parts of the TeraGrid computer network.

German Linux seller SuSE has unveiled a version of the open-source operating system tailored for Intel's Itanium chip.

The SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 for the Itanium processor family was developed in collaboration with Intel, SuSe said Wednesday.

To showcase the prowess of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, the company also announced that the software has been tapped to power parts of the Distributed Terascale Facility, or TeraGrid, a network of computers dedicated to crunching scientific data as a single large computing resource.

SuSE will work with IBM Global Services, which is using clusters of SuSE Linux systems at the TeraGrid sites. The deal brings SuSE an "estimated several hundred thousand" dollars, the company said.

IBM, which is already a major SuSE partner, is a strong proponent of Linux. SuSE, meanwhile, has embraced IBM's broad span of servers more aggressively than rival Linux seller Red Hat.

But Red Hat is also pushing deeper into the server market. Last week, Red Hat and Hewlett-Packard formed a closer alliance, hoping that together they can boost sales of servers running the Linux operating system. Red Hat is the dominant seller of Linux, while HP holds the top spot in the market for Intel-based servers.

The servers at the TeraGrid facilities will be based on current and future Intel Itanium 2 processors, while IBM supercomputing software will handle cluster and file-management tasks.

SuSE said the system will have a storage capacity of more than 600 terabytes of data, or the equivalent of 146 million full-length novels.

TeraGrid is funded by the National Science Foundation and is a joint project of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the San Diego Supercomputing Center, Argonne National Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology.