Linux has enjoyed great popularity, specifically with low-end and midrange systems. In fact, Linux is well regarded as a stable, highly-reliable operating system to use for Web servers for these machines. However, high-end, enterprise level systems have access to gigabytes, petabytes, and exabytes of data. These systems require a different set of applications and solutions with high memory and bandwidth requirements, in addition to larger numbers of processors (see Resources for the developerWorks article, "Open source in the biosciences", which discusses this type of application).
This type of system application introduces a unique set of issues that may be orders of magnitude more complex than those present in smaller installations. In order for Linux to be competitive for the enterprise market, its performance and scalability must improve.
Our experience thus far indicates that the performance of the Linux kernel can be improved significantly. We are proud to contribute to this goal by working within the open source community to quantify Linux kernel performance, and to develop patches to address degradation issues to make Linux better, and to make it enterprise ready.
We would like to thank Kaivalya Dixit, Dustin Fredrickson, Partha Narayanan, Troy Wilson, Peter Wong, and the LTC Linux kernel development team for their input in preparing this article.