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Carrier Grade Linux 5.0 released with improved streaming media support

Apr 6, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

The Linux Foundation announced the availability of the Carrier Grade Linux Version 5.0 specification, featuring new streaming media, security, diagnostics, debugging, tuning, and High Availability (HA) file system support. The non-profit foundation also announced a new HA Working Group that will help define an open source HA spec.

Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) 5.0 defines new requirements to address the growing complexity and diversity of content types that telecom carriers must support. These are said to include streaming video, audio, and packet traffic, which must be delivered without service interruptions.

Meanwhile, the spec has been simplified by dropping a number of requirements that are no longer needed in the high-end networking and telecom spec "due to the mass adoption and ubiquity of CGL and its inclusion in the mainline Linux kernel," says the Linux Foundation (LF).

The spec, adopted by embedded Linux distros like MontaVista and Wind River Linux, has defined the use of Linux in network equipment, especially in products based on the Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA) standard.

New CGL 5.0 requirements are said to include:

  • increased focus on highly reliable, highly available file systems, including data protection, data portability, and backup and redundancy
  • carrier and data-center security gaps, including Role-based Access Control, and data access auditing and tracing
  • expanded diagnostics and debugging support including per-thread identifiers for debugging, and a system black box
  • online system tuning features, allowing applications to determine and optimize themselves for specific system architectures

Registration for the new CGL 5.0 begins today, says the Linux Foundation, whose CGL workgroup has been collaborating on CGL gaps and requirements since 2002. The previous CGL 4.0 defined about 250 individual requirements divided into seven categories that are maintained in CGL 5.0: availability, clustering, serviceability, performance, standards, hardware, and security.

According to the LF, a number of the workgroup members have "open sourced" their own proprietary technology for the CGL spec to help minimize gaps in Linux for demanding telecom requirements.

CGL club very small indeed

CGL 5.0 was expected to arrive by the end of 2010, according to Cavium Networks-owned MontaVista Software, which announced preliminary support for the spec with its MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) 6.0 last October. Wind River Linux 4.0, which shipped around the same time from Intel subsidiary Wind River, was also said to offer preemptive support for the standard.

CGL 4.0 was released in Feb. 2007, but it wasn't until a year later that Wind River announced it was the first commercial embedded Linux distribution vendor to meet CGL 4.0 requirements. Performance Technologies (NexusWare) and MontaVista registered soon thereafter, and since then Novell has joined the list with SUSE Enterprise Server 11. NexusWare has earned a subsequent asterisk, however, due to not implementing all mandatory requirements.

Stated Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, "CGL today is a recognized industry standard on which the world's leading telecom companies rely to build their networks."

Stated Holger Dyroff, vice president, Business Development, Open Platform Solutions at Novell, "The widespread adoption of Carrier Grade Linux reflects the ability of Linux to deliver on reliability, high-availability and security for telecom customers."

Stated Glenn Seiler, senior director of Linux Product Management at Wind River, "This latest version of the CGL specification encompasses input from all over the industry including the SCOPE Alliance, network equipment providers and platform providers."

Stated Dan Cauchy, VP of marketing and business development at MontaVista Software, "The CGL specification is a shining example of a highly successful standard in Linux and open source which has resulted in many carrier class features becoming a standard part of upstream Linux-based projects."

Additional testimonials were available from Huawei, NTT, and ZTE.

LF launches HA Working Group.

In a related announcement, the Linux Foundation launched a new High Availability (HA) Working Group with a charter to define the open source HA software stack for mission-critical workloads running on Linux. The group will prioritize features based on input from developers, vendors, and customers, says the LF.

HA technology is primarily used by the telecommunications and high-end industrial automation industries. It is often used in conjunction with CGL-ready Linux distros as these industries increasingly turn to cheaper, more flexible, off-the-shelf COTS equipment running Linux.

The goal of HA technology is to reduce computer and networking system downtime, which cumulatively costs the IT industry well over $1 million an hour, according to the LF. Achieving HA with cluster computing, cloud computing, and virtualization, among other strategies, can be maximized with Linux, says the foundation.

The HA Working Group is effectively a meta-project built upon the work of many other projects working in the HA space. These participants are said to include Corosync, DRBD, GFS2, Hawk, Linux-HA, Linux Virtual Server, Luci, OCFS2 (Oracle), Open Clustering Framework, and Pacemaker. In addition, "leading enterprise Linux distributions, as well as Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu, are already incorporating this technology and will contribute to the working group," says the LF.

Notably absent from the list is the OpenSAF Foundation which oversees and promotes the OpenSAF high availability middleware standards. The group was based on an OpenSAF project launched by Motorola in 2007, and evolved with a goal of maintaining consistency with Service Availability Forum (SAF) specifications.

MontaVista claims to be the first vendor to have provided OpenSAF code in a commercial Linux product when it added OpenSAF 3.0 support to MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) 5.1. Its new MontaVista Linux CGE 6.0 bundles the latest OpenSAF 4.0 open source code.

Soon after releasing CGE 6.0, MontaVista joined OpenSAF. In an interview with LinuxDevices at the time of the CGE 6.0 release, MontaVista VP of marketing Dan Cauchy, who was also the chair of the CGL Working Group, admitted that few customers had signed on to the complex OpenSAF 3.0.

Cauchy maintained, however, that OpenSAF 4.0 was vastly improved. Previous versions of MontaVista CGE had already achieved "six 9's" availability (99.9999 percent or less than 31.5 seconds of downtime per year), said Cauchy. Yet, OpenSAF 4.0 standardized and extended this HA support, he added, offering updated OpenHPI and TIPC protocols.

In addition to the following statement, testimonials were also offered from LINBIT and Novell.

Stated Wim Coekaerts, Oracle senior vice president Linux and Virtualization Engineering, "The Linux Foundation's HA Working Group will consolidate Linux operating system efforts through contributions such as Oracle Cluster File System 2 (OCFS2) so that we continue to deliver on HA innovation in Linux."

The CGL 5.0 and HA announcements came at today's launch of the invitation-only Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco, which runs through April 8. The event features the kick-off of the Linux Foundation (LF) 20th anniversary celebration for Linux, leading up to an official birthday party in August. The Summit is followed next week in the same venue with the LF's 2011 Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) on Apr. 11-13, and the inaugural Android Builders Summit set for April 13-14. 


More information on Carrier Grade Linux 5.0 may be found here, as well as on this CGL registration page.

More information on the new High Availability Working Group may be found on the the LF's HA page.The HA Working Group will meet at a mini-summit preceding the LF's first annual LinuxCon Europe taking place in Prague, Czech Republic, Oct. 24-26.

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