MontaVista Software, Inc., the leading provider of Linux for intelligent devices and communications infrastructure, today announced its new 5.0 release of MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition (CGE), the carrier grade Linux operating system preferred by 7 of the top 8 network equipment providers (NEPs). New MontaVista Linux CGE 5.0 provides telecom carriers with new scalability features to handle unexpected jumps in protocol traffic, new functions to increase reliability, new field-serviceability features, and new NSA-level security protection.
"Carrier grade" is a term for software and hardware products that support public telecommunications and data communications networks. Carrier grade products require extremely high degrees of reliability, scalability, and performance to provide an uninterrupted flow of the enormous volume of high-bandwidth data and voice needed for today's multimedia communications. Leading network equipment providers such as Alcatel-Lucent, Iskratel, Motorola, NEC, and others have made MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition the most widely-deployed Linux in the carrier grade market.
CGE 5.0 includes features only available from MontaVista, especially new field-serviceability features that give field engineers the ability to fix and upgrade live systems while they are running with little or zero downtime. Unlike unproductized open source code, MontaVista Linux CGE is a field-proven production-quality operating system, has been integrated, tested, and debugged by MontaVista's testing facilities, and is supported by MontaVista's experienced support organization.
The heart of MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 is an embedded Linux operating system designed for telecom and network equipment, including ATCA- and MicroTCA-based platforms, such as SGSNs, GGSNs, and softswitches. Because CGE 5.0 supports Linux standards, designers can add functionality by including off-the-shelf Linux utilities without worrying about function loss due to incompatibility. New CGE 5.0 also includes a rich development environment that enables engineers to more quickly design new equipment and applications. MontaVista Linux CGE provides reliability, scalability, and real-time performance proven in the field by major voice and data carriers such as NTT DoCoMo.
"These days, if a data communications network fails or suffers a security lapse, it interrupts businesses and people's lives," said Dan Cauchy, director of marketing for carrier and mobile products at MontaVista Software. "The carriers and NEPs who run their businesses on MontaVista Linux have worked closely with us to make certain that MontaVista Linux CGE 5.0 offers the highest levels of availability, field serviceability, and security of any carrier grade OS."
MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 highlights
* Linux 2.6.21 kernel support: Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 is the first carrier grade operating system to deliver the functionality, performance, and connectivity gains supported by the 2.6.21 Linux kernel.
* Run-Time Application Patcher: Available only from MontaVista, the Run-Time Application Patcher gives field engineers the ability to apply a binary patch to a live system while it runs, without incurring any downtime. Engineers can update software, fix bugs, and add new features to a live system without stopping it or rebooting.
* Flight Recorder: When a system fails today, field engineers must wait until the next failure to investigate the first one. Engineers have no way of gathering enough data about what happened before and during a crash to conduct an effective post-crash diagnosis and take corrective action. CGE 5.0 includes new Flight Recorder, which acts like an airplane black box to track and log system history. It keeps a scheduler history, which provides more information than a crash dump snapshot, and is user-extensible for customized tracking. It also performs advanced diagnostics. Flight Recorder is helpful both for equipment manufacturers while developing products and for carriers that experience the failure of a deployed system. It allows engineers to respond quickly after the first failure and take corrective action immediately to prevent future downtime. Carriers can provide the Flight Recorder log to an equipment manufacturer to enable remote diagnosis from the manufacturer's support team. Flight Recorder is available only from MontaVista.
* Field-Safe Application Debugger: When issues arise in a live carrier grade system, bringing the system offline for debugging is not acceptable. MontaVista Field-Safe Application Debugger debugs a live system without halting execution or affecting services. A field engineer logs into a live system, uses the debugger to set tracepoints, and logs out. The debugger collects execution information and stores it for later retrieval. The debugger's small memory footprint and limited CPU usage have minimal impact on the live system, providing debugging without obstruction, and enabling critical processes to remain online and running to provide the high availability that carriers require. This capability, available only from MontaVista, has been enhanced and is easier to use.
* Live application core dump: When field engineers need to perform a core dump to help them debug problems on a running application, MontaVista's live application core dump dramatically reduces the downtime required to make a core dump. With only a short (generally tens to hundreds of milliseconds) stop of the application, this new feature takes a snapshot of the running application. The application can continue running while engineers debug the snapshot to fix the application. MontaVista is the first to offer this capability.
* Integrated real-time response: Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 is 100% native Linux with real-time performance features, including MontaVista enhancements plus integrated high resolution nanosecond timers (hrtimers) that avoid the compatibility and reliability headaches caused by non-Linux second-kernel add-ons. Additional real-time features include fast mutexes, threaded soft and hard IRQ handlers, and application-level priority inheritance and queuing, providing preemption response latency as low as 50 microseconds. With the improved real-time capabilities of CGE 5.0, carriers can consolidate legacy RTOS and Linux applications onto a single system while meeting their real-time requirements.
* Microstate accounting: For the first time in a commercial Linux product, engineers can accurately measure process and thread utilization on a CPU. CGE 5.0 performs high-resolution process accounting, so applications can be monitored to anticipate and prevent CPU overload situations. This enables engineers to design automated load balancing and graceful protocol degradation using reliable and accurate CPU load numbers. Engineers can accurately monitor and precisely predict CPU loads, increasing the accuracy of worst-case planning, preventing downtime, and reducing the purchase of backup equipment for traffic surges. Older systems report CPU and thread activities based on statistical sampling estimates, which can be very inaccurate (especially under telco-type loads), instead of the actual measurement now enabled by microstate accounting. Microstate accounting in CGE 5.0 will improve the scalability, reliability, and cost of carrier networks.
* NSA-level security for carriers: MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 is the first carrier grade operating system to include Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux), developed by the National Security Agency (NSA). MontaVista SELinux protects the integrity of and controls access to files, network sockets, and all system objects by preventing an employee or external intruder from intentionally or accidentally taking control of the system. This is the first availability of any form of SELinux integrated into the kernel of a carrier grade operating system. CGE 5.0 also provides security governance tools, including the SLIDE integrated security policy development and deployment environment. Only MontaVista provides this degree of protection.
* Integrated development environment: Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 includes new runtime components that integrate with MontaVista DevRocket, an Eclipse-based IDE with development tools that enhance productivity for both kernel-level and application-level engineers. Integrated memory leak detection, performance profiling, memory usage analysis, and system tracing combine to accelerate system development and maintenance, and increase system availability.
* Multicore and SMP support: Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 supports both single-core and multicore processors, and supports equipment built with multiple processing chips as well as synchronous and asynchronous multiprocessing on integrated chips.
* Carrier standards compliance: MontaVista Linux CGE 5.0 has been designed to comply with the new Carrier Grade Linux Specification 4.0 from the Linux Foundation. CGE 5.0 also will comply with the SCOPE Alliance Linux Profile, and runs on hardware designed to support the PICMG Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA) and MicroTCA specifications.
* Lower costs: Built-in functionality and integrated connectivity reduce the amount of custom development required. Linux compatibility enables the use of low-cost off-the-shelf Linux applications and utilities. The ability to get fast performance from low-end processors can reduce hardware costs. And MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 is royalty-free.
* Faster time-to-market: MontaVista Linux CGE 5.0 brings products to market more quickly by leveraging several factors at once. Industry-standard Linux avoids the time lag of learning the quirks of proprietary RTOS systems. Less custom engineering means shorter development cycles. Device-ready MontaVista products eliminate the time wasted on hunting, fixing, and integrating pieces of source code. Integrated development tools accelerate the embedded development process. Semiconductor manufacturers and the Linux community release drivers for Linux first, before drivers for any RTOS are released, so embedded Linux developers can be first to market with new drivers.
* Enriched by MontaVista partner ecosystem: Oracle, MySQL, Enea, VirtualLogix, and more than 70 additional MontaVista partners provide middleware, applications, and tools ready to use in carrier grade network equipment with MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition.
MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition 5.0 will be available worldwide on December 17, 2007. Architectures supported will include Intel x86/x86_64 and PowerPC, with MIPS to follow in the first quarter of 2008.