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Enterprise Applications

By this point, you might be thinking that your company could feasibly run on Linux and open source. The infrastructure, networking services, and application services to support even the largest implementations are available and certainly there are web services components to create your own applications. But what if you want to go with established application ISVs? Are the leading enterprise applications available on Linux? Absolutely!

This section looks briefly at what enterprise applications are already available on Linux, and at some of the open source integration solutions that these vendors provide. Many of them deploy their historically successful applications using the enterprise-class data center solutions discussed in a previous section. In many cases, enterprise applications from ISVs such as Oracle have been able to deliver their solutions with superior performance on Linux.

The advantages for enterprise ISVs porting or developing to Linux are manifold. First, the overall cost of a solution for customers goes down due to reduced operating license fees, lower hardware costs, and simplified management. Second, ISVs can leverage their existing product lines and expertise to new markets, which might be more price sensitive, more security conscious, or are in the process of Linux migration or consolidation efforts. ISVs can simplify development efforts with the capability to create solutions using a single code base that scales all the way from a simple x86 processor to an IBM mainframe. Other advantages include the capability to capitalize on open source components such as web servers, application servers, messaging services, storage, and high-performance or high-availability architectures.

The following sections list the leading enterprise application software vendors and what they have done with Linux so far. Some of these have standardized initially on Red Hat's distribution and some on SUSE, but they all are looking at Linux as a serious piece of their product strategy going forward.

Oracle

Oracle has been serious about Linux since its arrival. As mentioned, with the release of Oracle 10g, Linux is the internal development platform for all Oracle development. Oracle claims the first commercial database available on Linux, and since that time has cultivated enough expertise and confidence in Linux to provide Oracle customers with seamless and complete technical support for the Linux operating system in addition to support for the Oracle stack. All key Oracle products, including Oracle Database 10g with Real Application Clusters, Oracle Application Server 10g, Oracle Collaboration Suite, Oracle Developer Suite 10g, and Oracle E-Business Suite, are available for Linux.

Oracle works with key Linux distributors to test and optimize the operating system to effectively handle mission-critical applications. Oracle collaborated with Novell SUSE to create a core set of enhancements in the areas of performance, reliability, clustering, and manageability to support Oracle customers' enterprise-class deployments. Oracle is also actively supporting the open source community by contributing source code for products such as Oracle Cluster File System. By mid-2004, more than 1.4 million copies of Oracle products for Linux have been downloaded from the Oracle Technology Network.

Like Novell, Oracle has deployed Linux internally in various ways to make its infrastructure more efficient and less expensive. Oracle's internal IT organization found through analysis that Linux-based systems are one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce costs for its IT infrastructure.

IBM

As previously mentioned, IBM has a total hardware commitment to Linux, with every hardware platform it sells able to run Linux. This extends to IBM's extensive software product line as well. Table 3.6 offers a short summary of IBM software solutions for enterprise businesses in multiple industries that are available on Linux as well as IBM's hardware.

Table 3.6 IBM Solutions

Solution

Description

WebSphere

Commercial web application server with enterprise-class application, portal, and commerce capabilities

DB2

Relational database and enterprise synchronization architecture

Tivoli

Comprehensive IT security manager for data, services, applications, operating systems, hardware, and more

Finance Foundation

Real-time securities and risk analysis for financial or capital markets

Multimedia Kiosk

Kiosk solutions for retail, travel, transportation, manufacturing, finance, and government

Domino

Web access for Lotus Notes users


In addition, IBM supports a host of partner ISV solutions on IBM hardware and Linux. Solutions include a wide assortment of applications, including engineering and analysis, payment card authorization, point of sale, ERP, accounting, supply chain, and distribution management.

SAP

SAP was one of the first software vendors to supply critical business applications on the Linux platform. SAP's entire product line is extensive, providing solutions based on best business practices that enable employees, customers, and business partners to work together anywhere at any time. mySAP Technology is a standards-based architecture that permits enterprises to integrate a wide variety of IT systems. MySAP.com, forerunner of mySAP Technology, was developed from the ground up using Linux.

Current Linux-based products include mySAP All-in-One, a solution for small and midsize businesses with complex business processes and IT configuration and functionality requirements. mySAP All-in-One is preconfigured and available for more than 80 industries providing basic ERP functionality, such as general ledger, sales, purchasing, inventory, costing, and CRM. All-in-One also includes microvertical components, country specifics, as well as interfaces and technical infrastructures based on customer requirements.

Standard enterprise applications available from SAP on IBM and Linux include solutions for the following disciplines and industries: accounting, banking, automotive, customer relationship management, engineering and construction, enterprise resource planning, finance, health care, education, human resources, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, retail, supply chain management, telecommunications, utilities, and many more.

Siebel

Siebel Systems is another enterprise application vendor that specializes in CRM solutions. Seibel supplies over 20 different industry-specific versions of its software for sales, marketing, and customer service. Specific Siebel applications include sales force automation, call/contact center, marketing automation, business integration, business intelligence, employee relationship management, partner relationship management, and customer order management.

In 2004, Siebel and IBM joined together to announce that the Siebel CRM applications are enabled on IBM's DB2 Universal Database running on Linux. Again, the motivations for enterprise applications on Linux are lower total cost of ownership, ease of integration, scalability, and security.

PeopleSoft

Also in 2004, PeopleSoft announced support for Linux stating security, stability, open source flexibility, and demand by customers as major reasons. Linux will support the PeopleSoft Enterprise One suite with solutions for human capital management, supply chain management, supplier relationship management, financial management, asset lifecycle management, and project management applications.

Other

The preceding enterprise applications are just a sample from the industry leaders. Thousands more applications, general business and vertical solutions alike, are available from other ISVs. For an ongoing list of Linux-supported applications and services, check out Linux Knowledgestorm at http://linux.knowledgestorm.com or the Linux Links site at http://www.linuxlinks.com/Software/. As of October 2004, more than 16,000 software applications for Linux were listed on this site.

The process of implementing enterprise applications within your organization can vary from a simple package install to months of integration. Novell provides a number of solutions that can simplify the process. Other valuable services for implementing and managing enterprise applications include software distribution, system health monitoring and control, storage management, workstation management, and much more.

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