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IBM makes NUMA Linux-friendly

And not the other way around

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IBM blew some dry ice over its Unix roadmap this week, which we're only too happy to blow away again. Big Blue announced NUMA-Q E-410 servers earlier this week, updating the range it acquired along with Sequent. But that wasn't really the problem. No, it's the Linux spin which IBM feels obliged to sprinkle on all its announcements these days that's the problem.

According to Big Blue's spin paramedics, IBM will add APIs to its Sequent Unix to allow Linux to "take advantage of such features as workload management and workload balance". Juxtaposed alongside the NUMA-Q servers, it looked to all the world like IBM was putting NUMA support into the Linux kernel, so NUMA-Q machines would become gigantic Linux boxes.

That isn't the case, though. Sequent sees its expensive NUMA-Qs as part of the server consolidation business, hence the ability to run Windows and Unix at the same time in its NUMACenters. In this context Linux can already be hosted as just another OS in a mixed mode configuration on these monsters.

For the record, the only people who seem interested in putting NUMA support in the Linux kernel are SGI. Which is fair enough, as you could argue that SGI are the only people who've really made NUMA work - or at least, work to the performance levels the NUMA muhajadin promised a few years ago. The most basic NUMA patches from SGI trickled into the kernel before Xmas, and there they stay.

But we can't be too surprised by the inkies' bafflement at IBM's spin, though. To InfoWorld Sequent's Unix is "Dynex", and to CRN it's "DYNIX/pyx". Funny, we always thought it's DYNIX/ptx. ®

Register Fact No.858 Numa also happens to be the record label of the plane flying, Tory-voting synth-pop icon Gary Numan. Releases include the failover classic 'My Dying Machine', an opus about cluster recovery, 'Me I Disconnect From You' and his paean to switched fabric interconnects, 'I Dream of Wires'.

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