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Mission Critical Linux trimming down

The company has secured new funding but is paring down its business to focus on its core product as it faces increasing competition from Red Hat.

Mission Critical Linux has secured new funding but is paring down its business to focus on its core product, the company said Friday.

Mission Critical Linux will continue to sell its flagship product, Convolo, "failover" software that lets one Linux server take over from a crashed server in the same group. Clustering--as this sort of backup technique is called--though expensive and complex to install, provides companies with better assurance that their computer system will keep working despite hardware or software failures.

Mission Critical Linux will cease its support for more general versions of Linux and will eliminate its professional-services work. The company already went through layoffs last August, a time when sources said Linux rival Red Hat was interested in acquiring the smaller company.

Lowell, Mass.-based Mission Critical Linux didn't disclose the amount or source of funding but said it "will continue to do business as Mission Critical Linux."

Linux, invented by Linus Torvalds and developed by a large group of programmers, blossomed in the late 1990s into a viable operating system for servers and became the heart of numerous start-ups. But with the end of the Internet hype and the economic pullback, many of those companies struggled for survival.

Mission Critical Linux faces increasing competition from Red Hat, which is working on a high-end version of Linux that has some similarities to Convolo. Red Hat said in January that it had hired Brian Stevens, the former chief technology officer of Mission Critical Linux.

Mission Critical Linux will work on trying to decrease the failover times in the Convolo NetGuard product, continue development of its Convolo DataGuard product to make the Network File System (NFS) software more robust, and perform some custom programming work for select customers.