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Huawei picks SUSE for assault on UNIX big iron

Kit and code for those days when you need to hot-swap CPU or memory

Huawei's tightened its relationship with SUSE for extremely high reliability computing, while also denting Microsoft's and Red Hat's prospects.

The Chinese company's high-availability offering is its KunLun servers, 16-or-32-socket beasts that can pull off tricks like non-disruptive hot swapping of like CPUs and memory.

Of course hardware can't deliver high availability all by itself so Huawei needs an OS that can help out. And it's now decided that OS should be SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, which has gained the badge of “preferred standard” and therefore been incorporated into the KunLun RAS 2.0 stack.

We're told that “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server runs on the KunLun underlying firmware and perfectly merges the Linux kernel ACPI driver module, memory/CPU hot swap module, and kernel and memory management subsystem.”

Huawei and SUSE have danced together before: the pair teamed on the first KunLun server in 2016. This new collaboration takes things up a level by elevating SUSE to preferred OS status, ahead of Windows Server and Red Hat Linux. Both can still run on KunLun, but Huawei's making it plain that running SUSE is the way to unlock the platform's potential.

The prize here is the chance to convert those running UNIX on the Power, RISC and Itanium systems often used in the most resilience-hungry computing environments. Power remains well-supported and Oracle promises new generations of SPARC, but Itanium only just has a pulse. Huawei knows this and thinks it has a chance to scoop some business. KunLun will also go down well in China, where business will need high availability systems.

Architectural decisions about these kinds of worklaods set an organisation's agendas for years: this move therefore again signals Huawei's long-term ambitions to play in core enterprise technology. ®


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